By Mohammed Murad
As thousands of members of the security industry prepare to attend the annual Intersec trade show and conference in Dubai (Jan. 19-21), we caught up with Rami Azzeh, Iris ID’s regional sales manager for the Middle East to learn more about how iris-based biometrics are being used in that region of the world.

Middle East airport security checkpoints frequently use iris-based recognition/authentication systems. Azzeh cited the major Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport based on the number of international passengers served.

“Last year, 96 million passengers passed through that airport,” Azzeh said. “Processing this many people must be quick, accurate and easy. All UAE residents using the airport are enrolled in the system, as are foreign passengers using airline frequent flyer programs.”

Extending the range between iris readers and passengers helps speed the process. The iCAM D1000 iris and facial feature capture solution from Iris ID provides intuitive user interface with real-time visual feedback to capture images at distances ranging from one-half to one meter.

Azzeh said centuries old traditions practiced by Middle East women also favor the use of iris-based solutions. The application of henna to create intricate, though temporary, artwork on women’s hands creates problems for fingerprint technology.

“Also, as part of their hijab, many Muslim women wear a niqab which covers their face – with the exception of the eyes,” he said. “That make the use of facial recognition virtually impossible.”

Middle East banks are leading the use of iris-based biometrics at ATMs to eliminate the need for cards and PINs. Qatar National Bank, a leading financial institution in the region, has begun using iris technology from Iris ID at banks on three continents.

“To use the system, bank customers participate in a one-time registration process at a QNB branch office,” Azzeh said. “The process takes about two minutes. Afterward, customers need only a second to look into an ATM’s built-in reader to have their iris pattern confirmed.”

Also, he said, Middle East organizations are joining the growing worldwide trend of using iris biometrics for time and attendance.

Stop by the Iris ID booth (Stand 2 – D24) at Intersec to meet Remi and see demonstrations of the Iris ID product line.
(Mohammed Murad is vice president, global sales and business development, Iris ID)