FST21 seeks to fill missing gap in access control

FST21, which has garnered industry acclaim with its SafeRise solution that combines video surveillance, analytics and biometrics into a streamlined access control portal, is introducing a simplified version of the system dubbed the "Digital Doorman" at this week’s ASIS conference in Chicago. In fact, the Digital Doorman, which is all-in-one motion identification solution, was recently named as one of the winners of this year’s ASIS Accolades awards competition, which recognizes the most innovative new products and services in the security industry.

Additionally, the company also recently announced that it has secured $5 million in funding from L.V. Holdings. According to FST21 CTO Shahar Belkin, the majority of the funds will be used on marketing and sales efforts in the U.S. market.

“What we found out in recent years is that everybody that hears about us… it’s very easy to sell to them and they’re very, very happy once they test it,” he said. “At first there is this non-belief kind of thing, but once they’ve piloted it, we’ve never taken a pilot out of anywhere. The problem is that the people that have heard about us are so few that we decided that the majority of this money will go for marketing for spreading the word and for sales.”

FST21 was founded in 2007 by Major-General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, the former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, after he recognized a “missing link” in the security market.

“What he figured out is that there are two levels of security out there in the market: one is (technology) and mainly what we’re talking about is the access control side of things and the second is human security – guards, doormen, etc.,” said Belkin. “There seemed to be a very big spot missing that didn’t provide security convenience. When you talk about a human guard - the doorman in the parking facility or office building - he knows everyone by heart, you wave your hand to him and he waves back. That’s something no access control (system) can give you today.”

Rather than create a technology looking for a problem to address, Belkin said that the company evaluated the problems that existed in the industry and developed technology around them.

“What the system uses is high-resolution cameras as eyes, as well as an intercom and then a microphone and loudspeakers as its ears and mouth. Everything is connected to a strong processor and the rest is done on the server,” explained Belkin. “What it actually does is when people or a person walk in a direction of an access point, the system picks up the movement that the camera sees and starts learning the behavior of the person meaning the body size, speed of walk, the gait and the path the person is using. When the person gets about 16 feet from the camera, there is also enough information to identify the face of the person. The system here does the same job a human guard would.”

The company’s system has been deployed in schools, police departments and a number of residential buildings. Belkin said that outside the U.S., the SafeRise solution has also been implemented in commercial office buildings and even an airport.       

“I think that the big surprise or wow factor that people feel when they first use the system is the in-motion identification because the majority of the biometric products we use today, you have to go over, touch something or stand in a specific location and look into something or in some direction,” he said. “All those things are not as friendly as a human guard at the front door.”

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