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Iris Recognition
Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Jun 26, 2024

Is Iris Recognition Access Control the Best Type of Security System?

Over the last decade, many companies have continued to build security access control systems based on iris recognition technology. Depending on the desired security level, you can use an iris scan to control a central access point within the company's premises or determine access permission across multiple geographic locations.

For example, international air corporations around the world use iris technology to control the flow of crew members and to verify passengers who are authorized to board an aircraft. This biometric system requires fast and secure access to a database that contains the information of all authorized personnel.

iris technology to control the flow of crew members and to verify passengers who are authorized

How Does an Iris Recognition Access Control Work?

For an iris scanner access control to work, you need a specialized digital camera that uses visible and near-infrared light. Combining these lights allows the camera to take high-contrast pictures of a person's iris.

Once you stand in front of the camera, the scanner detects and excludes reflections that may typically block the iris. The camera lens then focuses on the edge of the iris, the center of the pupil, the eyelids, the eyelashes, and the edge of the pupil.

what is Iris

All unique eye characteristics are converted into digital iris codes that contain 512 digits. These digits are then stored on the computer's database, together with the individual's name and registration details.

How Does an Iris Recognition Access Control Work?

It takes the scanner a few minutes to complete the onboarding process. The device automatically takes a picture of the eye and spends about 0.5 seconds reading the iris pattern. Once the scanner documents the iris pattern, it compares it with previously recorded templates within the database.

Biometric Access Control System
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Biometric access desktop

How is Iris Recognition Technology Used?

Iris recognition control systems continue to have widespread use within the security industry. Despite its broad use case, the technology still has some shortcomings when compared to other biometric control systems.

Biometric control systems are now used as an alternative to older authentication methods like PINs, passcodes, access keys, plastic cards, bank details, and numeric codes. This section explains the various ways iris technology can be used in security systems.

1. Land patrol and border protection

Iris recognition technology is the most effective among security systems government agencies use to control access at the border. Custom officers use this technology to easily identify and profile suspicious passengers, particularly individuals that use fake fingerprints and documentation.

2. Data storage centers

Corporations that collect, process, and distribute data continue to use iris recognition as an additional layer of security. These centers often house sensitive data regarding customers, employees, and businesses that are expensive to collate over time.

As privacy concerns continue to rise, these corporations implement extra measures to ensure that only authorized personnel and bodies can access the establishment's powerhouse.

Data managers use biometric technology to categorize users and determine levels of access. They also use iris recognition technology to ensure that the highest level of security protects the business and that only authorized personnel have access to the company’s “nerve center”.

3. Prison security

Law enforcement buildings like detention centers and prisons require reliable access control systems that keep intruders out and offenders in.

While these establishments incorporate a mix of jail security systems, an iris reader access control system can help security officials perform the following tasks:
  • Identify and distinguish prisoners from prison staff.
  • Verify visitors.
  • Determine permission levels within the facility.
  • Coordinate patrol management.
  • Seamlessly process emergencies.
A biometric access control iris scanner helps security forces accurately track and secure weapons, armories, and other WMD assets.

4. Healthcare and pharmaceutical security

Medical facilities use biometric control systems to protect patient's private information and determine permission to specific wards. With an iris scan access control, hospitals can guarantee superior security for patient data and prevent from committing medical errors. This biometric system also provides touch-less access when healthcare workers wear protective gear like masks and gloves.

An iris scanner facility access control system allows pharmaceutical laboratories to protect experimental information from competitors. Iris technology also contributes to building a sterile environment, helping lab attendants avoid the risk of experimental contamination.

5. Airport control

Many airports use iris recognition technology to authorize passengers who board international flights rather than only relying on their passports. The resolution and speed of this scanner make it a reliable alternative for both passengers and officials. This is because the touchless feature protects the passenger's privacy and reduces the volume of rejection errors.

Although the potential for iris recognition technology continues to unfold, the technology’s application is still expanding. Many leading manufacturers produce scanners in several forms and they often help security agencies and large corporations to develop flexible systems that accommodate all their needs.

One factor that unites technological solutions is the increasing need to provide secure and safe connections for biometric devices using a well-protected server that contains iris patterns. FlexiHub provides a single integration solution that helps you to control your biometric devices.

How Accurate Is Iris Recognition?

Similar to fingerprint patterns, the iris is a unique characteristic used for biometric identification. Unlike a fingerprint scanner that uses 16 key points to determine user identity, an iris scanner uses about 260 key points that are unique to every eye. The scanner uses these key points during the verification process to develop an encrypted code unique to a single iris.

The scanner stores every iris code on a database and uses that code to create a template. Because the template takes up very little space, you can easily authenticate a user with few computing resources.

For accounting and access control systems that use an iris recognition technology, the chances that an unauthorized person gains access to the system is around 0.00001%; the chances that an authorized personnel is rejected incorrectly is 0.016%

The general consensus is that it is impossible to forge someone's iris identity. This reasoning stems from the fact that the human eye contains unique reflective characteristics which the scanner considers when processing information.

For additional security, some scanners record involuntary eyeball movements unique to a living individual (it is impossible to recognize a dead person because the pupil dilates, making it impossible for the machine to scan). Aside from medical surgery or severe injury, an individual's iris characteristics are unlikely to change.

Key Benefits of Iris recognition technology

1. Data accuracy

Only second to DNA testing, iris recognition is generally considered the most accurate biometric system. No two people share the same iris pattern. As a result of this uniqueness, it is almost impossible to obtain a false positive and negative identity. This biometric control system is useful in establishments where precise identity verification is a must.

2. Fast matching

An iris access control system provides speed and safety to the business. The biometric access control system runs identity verification in as little as 0.5 seconds, making it a suitable option for large corporations.

3. Ease of use

Creating a database template is relatively easy with an iris recognition access control system. You can quickly enroll employees in a matter of seconds. Because the iris pattern doesn't change for life, this biometric pattern makes it an ideal tool for recognizing children.

Access-sensitive establishments like borders, data banks, and prisons use this reader to quickly determine access. The scanner automatically accommodates any differences that may delay access, such as a person's height.

4. Privacy

The iris biometric control system requires opt-in from the individual, making it impossible for any entity to trace their history without their consent. Unlike facial recognition where you can use a high-quality photo to trick the system, an iris recognition system also checks for the individual's liveliness. This additional layer ensures that only authorized personnel can access the system.

5. Touchless

COVID-19 accelerated the need for touchless technology to reduce the speed of the infection. Iris recognition allows corporations to prioritize their security without compromising their health. This biometric system is also compatible with professions that require regular protection—for example, construction sites where employees wear masks, gloves, glasses, and overalls.

Disadvantages of Iris Reader Access Control Systems

Just like every other biometric access control system, iris recognition technology is not immune to imperfection. These issues relate to the technology and its deployment. Here's a list of things to consider before you purchase one.

1. Distance

Although the iris scanner is useful because of its touchless feature, the further the individual stands, the less effective the scanner. This disadvantage requires that users stand within a specific distance range before they can be verified.

2. Storage

You require computer memory to store all iris codes. With the rise of cloud-based storage services, this flaw becomes less of an issue. Using FlexiHub, you can link different access points into a single system during the verification process.

3. Privacy concerns

Some technologies have the power to capture iris data even on the move. This ability raises concerns about privacy and exposing people's data to unauthorized bodies. It also makes it difficult to restore privacy as people can not get new eyes like they would a new card number.

4. Price

Due to their high-level accuracy, iris scanners are often on the pricey end. Under certain circumstances, facial recognition and fingerprint recognition technologies may be affordable alternatives.

The Future of Iris Recognition Technology

Iris recognition tech remains one of the most promising areas of biometric access control. In the global market, it is estimated that the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, and China will reach an estimated market share of US$4.9 Billion by 2027.

Iris access control remains one of the leading industries in biometric technology. The most pressing area of development is in improving non-invasive recognition by developing high-tech sensors. Because it is relatively easier to implement cloud biometrics than on-premises biometric solutions, many companies are in the race to migrate and integrate their biometric identification system to the cloud.

In order to implement efficient cloud scenarios, you need a system that allows you quickly and securely connect a remote biometric scanner to your cloud server. FlexiHub can easily handle this. Feel free to contact our representatives to get started today!

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