Had it up to here with those flaky plastic keys? Maybe you should try using your eyes to open your hotel room door instead of those expired old keys.

Back in July, right before the Democratic National Convention, Nine Zero, became the first hotel in the world to install the option of iris identification for their extra special Cloud Nine guests. Nine Zero is known to house VIP guests (X-Tina and Adam Durtiz top the list), who frequently stay in the Cloud Nine suite, and these folks now have the option of forgoing the archaic plastic key and opening the door with their eyes.

Iris ID’s iris identification takes a photo of the guests iris, encrypts it into a number code, and presto, your eyes are now your key. Once we heard about this we ran down to Nine Zero to check it out. The technology worked perfectly, and it was a very sci-fi experience.
Ok, now let’s go over a risk/reward analysis for using Iris ID’ing in place of room keys, starting with the rewards.

– No more lost keys
– No more “remember the key”, thinking less is a good thing
– And last, but not least, if you choose: One scan for life means the hotel can email you your room number, you walk up to your door, and open your eyes wide, presto, you are in your room.

So convenience is the key, so to speak.

We know, we know, we saw Minority Report as well, and yes, as we got our iris image taken, our mind began to wander towards that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise has to buy an eyeball transplant on the black market to get rid of his incriminating eyes. However, the guys from Iris ID seem to be taking a lot of precautions to protect your iris image. The image is immediately encrypted into a number code and then deleted.

Whether or not iris imaging will ever take over for plastic keys is unclear, however what is clear is the immediate security benefit Nine Zero gets using Iris ID’s iris identification technology for all their employees and vendors. In a post 9/11 world security is at the forefront of everyones mind, and knowing that anyone who gets into the innards of Nine Zero has to have their iris photographed is very reassuring. Iris ID’s iris identification technology at Nine Zero is the same technology used in the new `registered traveler’ pilot program at Reagan National, JFK, Logan, and other airports.

Nine Zero GM Jim Horsman had this to say when we asked him about the Iris Id System: “When I go around to different hoteliers, asking them what new and innovative they are doing at their hotels, they are bound to tell me about a new napkin fold they are implementing in their restaurant. Nine Zero has moved way beyond the napkin fold with this high security technology.”