Contactless fingerprint scanning (almost) software at #connectID

Let me kick off this post by quoting from another post that I wrote:

I’ve always been of the opinion that technology is moving away from specialized hardware to COTS hardware. For example, the fingerprint processing and matching that used to require high-end UNIX computers with custom processor boards in the 1990s can now be accomplished on consumer-grade smartphones.

Further evidence of this was promoted in advance of #connectID by Integrated Biometrics.

And yes, for those following Integrated Biometrics’ naming conventions, there IS a 1970s movie called “Slap Shot,” but I don’t think it has anything to do with crime solving. Unless you count hockey “enforcers” as law enforcement. And the product apparently wasn’t named by Integrated Biometrics anyway.

But back to the product:

SlapShot supports the collection of Fingerprint and facial images suitable for use with state of the art matching algorithms. Fingerprints can now be captured by advanced software that enables the camera in your existing smart phones to generate images with a quality capable of precise identification. Facial recognition and metadata supplement the identification process for any potential suspect or person of interest.

This groundbreaking approach turns almost any smart phone into a biometric capture device, and with minimal integration, your entire force can leverage their existing smart phones to capture fingerprints for identification and verification, receiving matching results in seconds from a centralized repository.

Great, you say! But there’s one more thing. Two more things, actually:

SlapShot functions on Android devices that support Lollipop or later operating systems and relies on the device’s rear high-resolution camera. Images captured from the camera are automatically processed on the device in the background and converted into EBTS files. Once the fingerprint image is taken, the fingerprint matcher in the cloud returns results instantly.

The SlapShot SDK allows developers to capture contactless fingerprints and other biometrics within their own apps via calls to the SlapShot APIs.

Note that SlapShot is NOT intended for end users, but for developers to incorporate into existing applications. Also note that it is (currently) ONLY supported on Android, not iOS.

But this does illustrate the continuing move away from dedicated devices, including Integrated Biometrics’ own line of dedicated devices, to multi-use devices that can also perform forensic capture and perform or receive forensic matching results.

And no, Integrated Biometrics is not cannibalizing its own market. I say this for two reasons.

  1. First, there are still going to be customers who will want dedicated devices, for a variety of reasons.
  2. Second, if Integrated Biometrics doesn’t compete in the smartphone contactless fingerprint capture market, it will lose sales to the companies that DO compete in this market.

Contactless fingerprint capture has been pursued by multiple companies for years, ever since the NIST CRADA was issued a few years ago. (Integrated Biometrics’ partner Sciometrics was one of those early CRADA participants, along with others.) Actually this effort launched before that, as there were efforts in 2004 and following years to capture a complete set of fingerprints within 15 seconds; those efforts led, among other things, to the smartphone software we are seeing today. Not only from Integrated Biometrics/Sciometrics, but also from other CRADA participants. (Don’t forget this one.)

Of the CRADA partners, MorphoTrak is now IDEMIA, Diamond Fortress is now Telos ID, Hoyos Labs is now Veridium, AOS is no longer in operation, and 3M’s biometric holdings are now part of Thales. Slide 10 from the NIST presentation posted at https://www.nist.gov/system/files/documents/2016/12/14/iai_2016-nist_contactless_fingerprints-distro-20160811.pdf

Of course these smartphone capture software packages aren’t Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification (EBTS) Appendix F certified, but that’s another story entirely.

Monitoring the #connectid hashtag

I have a long history with hashtags.

A LONG history.

Fires and parades

How long?

Back on October 23, 2007, I used my then-active Twitter account to tweet about the #sandiegofire. The San Diego fire was arguably the first mass adoption of hashtags, building upon pioneering work by Stowe Boyd and Chris Messina and acted upon by Nate Ritter and others.

From https://twitter.com/oemperor/status/358071562. Frozen peas? Long story.

The tinyurl link directed followers to my post detailing how the aforementioned San Diego Fire was displacing sports teams, including the San Diego Chargers. (Yes, kids, the Chargers used to play in San Diego.)

So while I was there at the beginning of hashtags, I’m proudest of the post that I wrote a couple of months later, entitled “Hashtagging Challenges When Events Occur at Different Times in Different Locations.” It describes the challenges of talking about the Rose Parade when someone is viewing the beginning of the parade while someone else is viewing the end of the parade at the same time. (This post was cited on PBWorks long ago, referenced deep in a Stowe Boyd post, and cited elsewhere.)

Hashtag use in business

Of course, hashtags have changed a lot since 2007-2008. After some resistance, Twitter formally supported the use of hashtags, and Facebook and other services followed, leading to mass adoption beyond the Factory Joes of the world.

Ignoring personal applications for the moment, hashtags have proven helpful for business purposes, especially when a particular event is taking place. No, not a fire in a major American city, but a conference of some sort. Conferences of all types have rushed to adopt hashtags so that conference attendees will promote their conference attendance. The general rule is that the more techie the conference, the more likely the attendees will use the conference-promoted hashtag.

I held various social media responsibilities during my years at MorphoTrak and IDEMIA, some of which were directly connected to the company’s annual user conference, and some of which were connected to the company’s attendance at other events. Obviously we pulled out the stops for our own conferences, including adopting hashtags that coincided with the conference theme.

A tweet https://twitter.com/JEBredCal/status/1124159756157849600 from the last (obviously celebratory) night of IDEMIA’s (Printrak’s) 40th conference in 2019. Coincidentally, this conference was held in San Diego.

And then when the conference organizers adopt a hashtag, they fervently hope that people will actually USE the adopted hashtag. As I said before, this isn’t an issue for the technical conferences, but it can be an issue at the semi-technical conferences. (“Hey, everybody! Gather around the screen! Someone used the conference hashtag…oh wait a minute, that’s my burner account.”)

A pleasant surprise with exhibitor/speaker adoption of the #connectID hashtag

Well, I think that we’ve finally crossed a threshold in the biometric world, and hashtags are becoming more and more acceptable.

As I previously mentioned, I’m not attending next week’s connect:ID conference in Washington DC, but I’m obviously interested in the proceedings.

So I turned to Twitter to check if anyone was using a #connectID hashtag in advance of the event. (Helpful hint: hashtags cannot include special characters such as “:” so don’t try to tweet #connect:ID; it won’t work and will appear as #connect.) Using the date-sorted search https://twitter.com/search?q=%23connectid&src=typed_query&f=live, I was expecting to see a couple of companies using the hashtag…if I was lucky.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that nearly two dozen exhibitors and speakers were using the #connectID hashtag (or referenced via the hashtag) as of the Friday before the event, including Acuity Market Intelligence, Aware, BIO-key, Blink Identity, Clearview AI, HID Global, IDEMIA, Integrated Biometrics, iProov, Iris ID, Kantara, NEC and NEC NSS, Pangiam, Paravision, The Paypers, WCC, WorldReach Software/Entrust, and probably some others by the time you read this, as well as some others that I may have missed.

And the event hasn’t even started yet.

At least some of the companies will have the presence of mind to tweet DURING the event on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Will yours be one of them?

But company adoption is only half the battle

While encouraging to me, adoption of a hashtag by a conference’s organizers, exhibitors, and speakers is only the beginning.

The true test will take place when (if) the ATTENDEES at the conference also choose to adopt the conference hashtag.

According to Terrapin (handling the logistics of conference organization), more than 2,500 people are registered for the conference. While the majority of these people are attending the free exhibition, over 750 of them are designated as “conference delegates” who will attend the speaking sessions.

How many of these people will tweet or post about #connectID?

We’ll all find out on Tuesday.

Bredemarket and September 2021 on the proposal side

I was looking over the Bredemarket blog posts for September, and I found some posts that addressed the proposal side of Bredemarket’s services. (There are also blog posts that address the content side; see here for a summary of those posts.)

As a starting point, what proposal services has Bredemarket provided for its clients? I quantified these around the middle of the month and came up with this list.

And I’ve been working on additional proposal projects for clients that I haven’t added to the list yet.

Now if you’ve already read my September 2021 content post, it seems like I’ve been repeating myself. Well the repetition ends here, because my other big proposal-related accomplishment for the month was my Association of Proposal Management Professionals Foundation certification.

This will not only allow me to provide better proposal services to biometric firms (yes, yes, I am a biometric proposal writing expert), but also to other firms.

What other firms?

I’ll let you know.

If I can provide proposal services for you:

Bredemarket and September 2021 on the content side

I was looking over the Bredemarket blog posts for September, and I found some posts that addressed the content side of Bredemarket’s services. (There are also blog posts that address the proposal side; see here for a summary of those posts.)

As a starting point, what content services has Bredemarket created for its clients? I quantified these around the middle of the month and came up with this list.

And I’ve been working on additional content projects for clients that I haven’t added to the list yet.

At the same time, in accordance with Bredemarket’s 2021 goals, I’ve been working on expanding my content services beyond the technology arena to address the needs of local businesses in the Ontario, California area.

The Emporia Arts District in downtown Ontario. From https://www.emporiaartsdistrict.com/

So now I am not only providing content for biometric firms (after all, I am a biometric content marketing expert), but also for technology firms (including one for which I completed a project this month) and for local small businesses.

If I can provide content services for you:

Under the lens…and under many other things: Ambarella

You’ll notice that while I do style myself as an expert on some things, I never claim that I know everything…because I obviously don’t.

This became clear to me when I was watching the Paravision Converge 2021 video and noticed its emphasis on optimizing Paravision’s recognition algorithms for Ambarella.

Ambarella-related announcements from https://www.paravision.ai/converge2021/.

I had never heard of Ambarella.

I should have heard of it.

Even in my own little corner of the technology world, Ambarella has made an impact:

We power a majority of the world’s police body cams.

We were the first to enable HD and UHD security with low power; we revolutionized image processing for low-light and high-contrast scenes; and we are an industry leader in next-generation AI video security solutions.

Video has been a key component of face detection, person detection, and face recognition for years. (Not really of iris recognition…yet.) In certain use cases, it’s extremely desirable to move the processing out from a centralized server system to edge devices such as body cams, smart city cameras, and road safety cameras, and Ambarella (and its software partners) optimize this processing.

In addition to professional (and consumer) security, Ambarella is also a player in automotive solutions including autonomous vehicles, non-security consumer applications, and a variety of IoT/industrial/robotics applications.

All of these markets are supported via Ambarella’s specialized chip architecture:

Our CVflow® chip architecture is based on a deep understanding of core computer vision algorithms. Unlike general-purpose CPUs and GPUs, CVflow includes a dedicated vision processing engine programmed with a high-level algorithm description, allowing our architecture to scale performance to trillions of operations per second with extremely low power consumption.

I’ve always been of the opinion that technology is moving away from specialized hardware to COTS hardware. For example, the fingerprint processing and matching that used to require high-end UNIX computers with custom processor boards in the 1990s can now be accomplished on consumer-grade smartphones.

However, the reason that these consumer-grade devices can now perform these operations is because specialized technologies have been miniaturized and optimized for incorporation into the consumer grade devices, such as Yi home video cameras.

Ambarella itself is US-based (in Santa Clara, California), was founded in 2004, is traded on NASDAQ, and is a $200+ million/year company (although revenues and profits have declined over the last few years). While much smaller than more famous semiconductor companies, Ambarella obviously fills a critical niche for (among others) professional security product firms.

So if you, like me, had never heard of Ambarella…now you have.

When I will style myself John E. Bredehoft, CF APMP…and when I won’t

TL;DR: Yesterday I achieved APMP® Bid and Proposal Management Foundation 2021 certification.

This post explains what APMP Foundation certification is, why I pursued the certification, the difference between APMP and APMG, and when I will (and will not) use my shiny new “CF APMP” designation.

What is APMP Foundation certification?

First, for those not familiar with the acronym, “APMP” stands for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, an organization that I re-rejoined back in July. APMP membership provides many benefits, including improved service to Bredemarket clients because of my access to the APMP Body of Knowledge.

It also provides a mechanism for proposal professionals to certify their mastery of the proposal field. And, as APMP itself notes, certification conveys the following:

Demonstrates a personal commitment to a career and profession.

Improves business development capabilities.

Creates a focus on best team practices.

Gains the respect and credibility of peers, clients and organizational leaders and, in some cases, additional compensation.

Reinforces bid/proposal management as an important role within an organization and not as an ad hoc function that anyone can perform. 

Frankly, most of these won’t matter to YOU, but the process required to achieve certification does improve business development capabilities for Bredemarket’s clients. You can ignore the rest, unless you’re suddenly eager to shower additional compensation on me. I won’t argue.

There are multiple levels of APMP certification, and the very first level is “Foundation” certification. There is an eligibility requirement to pursue this certification, however:

Candidates should have at least one year of experience in a bid and proposals environment; this experience does not have to be continuous. Time spent working or supporting sales and marketing also counts.

So I was eligible to pursue Foundation certification years ago…but I never did.

Why did I pursue APMP Foundation certification?

I already wrote about this on LinkedIn a week ago, but if you missed that explanation here’s an abbreviated version.

Over the years I kept on joining APMP while in a proposals position, then letting my APMP membership lapse when I transferred to a non-proposals position. So by the time I ever thought about seriously pursuing APMP Foundation certification, I was already out of proposals.

This time, I said to myself when I re-rejoined in July, it will be different.

I finally made the move after attending SMA’s weekly town hall and hearing Heather Kirkpatrick present on the various APMP certification levels.

But I acknowledged that certification is not universally desirable:

Yes, I know the debates about whether certifications (or, for that matter, formal education in general) are truly worthwhile, but there are times when checking off that box on that checklist truly matters.

And therefore I began reading the two documents that I had just purchased, including a study guide and a glossary of terms.

Why is the APMG involved in APMP stuff?

However, to actually achieve the certification, I didn’t go to the APMP itself, but to an organization called the APMG.

And no, the APMG was NOT established to confuse proposal practitioners by using a similar acronym. (Seriously; when I saw others’ announcements of proposal certification, I couldn’t figure out why they kept getting the APMP acronym wrong.)

The APM Group is actually a completely separate organization that provides certifications and other services for a number of disciplines. It serves aerospace, business, information technology, cybersecurity, and other disciplines.

In my case, once I had studied and taken a practice exam, I proceeded to sit for the real exam itself…after paying another fee.

(This is why some people oppose certifications; they think they’re a racket just to charge fees all over the place. But I had already determined that in this case, the return on investment would be positive.)

Well…I passed, and therefore can direct interested parties to my shiny new badge.

By the way, I was never asked to provide a reference to verify my experience, but I could have provided dozens of references if asked.

What about the shiny new designation that comes with the shiny new badge?

Oh, and there’s one more thing.

Certified people (as opposed to people who are certifiable) have the option of appending their certification to their name. In the business world, you often see this used by people who have achieved Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. In some countries, MBAs and even BAs append the appropriate designation to their names.

In the same manner, those who have achieved one of the APMP certifications can append the appropriate certification. In the case of APMP Foundation certification, that means that I can style myself as “John E. Bredehoft, CF APMP.” (Or “John E. Bredehoft, MBA, CF APMP, RSBC” if I want to be thorough. But I probably won’t, since “RSBC” stands for “Radio Shack Battery Club.”)

However, the “CF APMP” designation only makes sense if the person reading the designation knows what it means. And it’s a fairly safe bet that if I were to walk into a coffee shop, or even into the main office of a marketing firm, the people there would have no idea what “CF APMP” meant. In fact, it might strike some of them as pretentious.

But it DOES make a difference in some (not all) proposal circles.

Including the attendees at the APMP Western Chapter Training Day next month.

Which I really should attend if possible. After all, I need to maintain my Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to keep my certification up to date.

This one won’t count for my Foundation certification renewal, but it’s nice.

connect:ID 2021 is coming

I have not been to an identity trade show in years, and sadly I won’t be in Washington DC next week for connect:ID…although I’ll be thinking about it.

I’ve only been to connect:ID once, in 2015. Back in those days I was a strategic marketer with MorphoTrak, and we were demonstrating the MorphoWay. No, not the Morpho Way; the MorphoWay.

At connect:ID 2015.

Perhaps you’ve seen the video.

Video by Biometric Update. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqfHAc227As

As an aside, you’ll notice how big MorphoWay is…which renders it impractical for use in U.S. airports, since space is valuable and therefore security features need a minimum footprint. MorphoWay has a maximum footprint…just ask the tradespeople who were responsible for getting it on and off the trade show floor.

I still remember several other things from this conference. For example, in those days one of Safran’s biometric competitors was 3M. Of course both Safran and 3M have exited the biometric industry, but at the time they were competing against each other. Companies always make a point of checking out the other companies at these conferences, but when I went to 3M’s booth, the one person I knew best (Teresa Wu) was not at the booth. Later that year, Teresa would leave 3M and (re)join Safran, where she remains to this day.

Yes, there is a lot of movement of people between firms. Looking over the companies in the connect:ID 2021 Exhibitor Directory, I know people at a number of these firms. Obviously people from IDEMIA, of course (IDEMIA was the company that bought Safran’s identity business), but I also know people at other companies, all of whom who were former coworkers at IDEMIA or one of its predecessor companies:

  • Aware.
  • Clearview AI.
  • GET Group North America.
  • HID Global.
  • Integrated Biometrics.
  • iProov.
  • NEC.
  • Paravision.
  • Rank One Computing.
  • SAFR/RealNetworks.
  • Thales.
  • Probably some others that I missed.

And I know people at some of the other companies, organizations, and governmental entities that are at connect:ID this year.

Some of these entities didn’t even exist when I was at connect:ID six years ago, and some of these entities (such as Thales) have entered the identity market due to acquisitions (in Thales’ case, the acquisition of Gemalto, which had acquired 3M’s biometric business).

So while I’m not crossing the country next week, I’m obviously thinking of everything that will be going on there.

Incidentally, this is one of the last events of the trade show season, which is starting to wind down for the year. But it will ramp up again next spring (for you Northern Hemisphere folks).

Bredemarket remembers the Southern Hemisphere, even though Bredemarket only does business in the United States. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtZCQiN3n50

Regardless of where you are, hopefully the upcoming trade show season will not be adversely impacted by the pandemic.

My 9/21/2021 progress on Bredemarket’s five goals for 2021 (the 1/8/2021 9:30am edition)

Cue the wildebeests. It’s goal revisiting time.

Black wildebeest. By derekkeats – Flickr: IMG_4955_facebook, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14620744

I haven’t taken the opportunity to look at how I’m doing on Bredemarket’s 2021 goals for a while. I last looked at all of the goals back on February 22. Needless to say, a lot has happened in the intervening months, some of which I can’t talk about yet.

But let’s proceed on a goal-by-goal basis.

Goal 1: Help my clients to communicate and reach (and understand) their goals. 

Most notably, I’ve improved my internal processes to ensure that I collaborate with my clients at the very beginning of an engagement. My latest tweaks to my engagement kickoff process were made just recently, but I’ve already been able to incorporate the process in two projects. So far it’s improved things dramatically.

Goal 2: Pursue multiple income streams. 

I’ve done a lot here.

  • For indirect engagements, I’m now signed up with four different “intermediary services.” They haven’t really paid off yet in terms of income, but I’m constantly reminded (by words and actions) that it sometimes takes a LONG time to build up business.
  • For direct engagements, I’m not only working on building up my customer base in my biometric sweet spot, but I’m also working on reinforcing my services for general technology clients AND expanding to local non-technology businesses.

And there are other things in the works.

Goal 3: Pursue multiple communication streams.

A lot has happened here also. Bredemarket is communicating through a number of avenues:

Frankly, a lot of the items on these accounts are simple re-shares, but it helps to get the message to the people who need to see my message, in their preferred location to see my message. As I mentioned previously, I was initially reluctant to create an Instagram account…until I realized that many of my clients, potential clients, and evangelists are active on the platform.

Goal 4: Eat my own iguana food.

My offerings have evolved into two major categories: content creation and proposal services. And I’ve been generating my own content (see Goal 3) and my own proposals: not only to solicit client services, but also to express Bredemarket views on Requests for Comment here and there. (Here is an example.)

Oh, and regarding content, I’m slowly learning how to effectively use Canva, which I’ve used to create my business card and my most recent brochures.

Goal 5: Have fun.

Hey, I’m trying. The local marketing lets you see some interesting things.

One of the pictures I took at Ontario’s “Cruisin Reunion” last weekend. If you followed Bredemarket’s Instagram account you would have already seen it.

Goal 6: Be prepared to change.

I’ve performed SOME efforts to create internal goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound), which has helped in the tracking.

As for change, I’m expanding my offerings to local businesses as previously mentioned, and may implement some other changes in the future which I can’t talk about yet. (Can I use the “p” word yet? Better not.)

You know, 2022 is coming.

But I’m not the only one who needs to set goals. You probably have some goals for your business also. Perhaps you set goals for 2021, achieving some, not achieving others. Perhaps you’re already starting to think about your goals for 2022.

Can Bredemarket help you with those goals? Do you have content creation goals? Do you need to improve your proposal process or your proposal standard text (boilerplate)? Do you need an easy-to-use template that conveys your message?

If Bredemarket can help you with any of these things, contact me.

When Instagram’s interests are not your own

Now that I changed my mind and have augmented my personal Instagram account with a Bredemarket Instagram account, Instagram is sending Bredemarket helpful tips and messages. Here’s part of a message I recently received from Instagram.

Let EVERYONE know how to connect with you, including friends and family?

What’s wrong with letting EVERYONE know about your business social media account?

While there is some merit in Instagram’s advice, there’s one very important caveat if you are trying to build a business, rather than just trying to build follower count.

Only invite people to follow your business account who are genuinely interested in your business.

  • Obviously current customers are interested in your business, and inviting them to follow is a good idea.
  • The same goes for potential customers, a category that Instagram inadvertently left out of its pitch.
  • And some of your friends and family who are knowledgeable about the issues in your business may be good invitees, because even if they can’t provide business (and sometimes they can), they can serve as evangelists to others. Someone of my Facebook and LinkedIn friends have already helped me in this capacity.

But I haven’t gone out of my way to invite my friends who do not own or work for identity, biometrics, technology, or local (Inland Empire West) firms to follow the Bredemarket Instagram account. Why not? Because it provides no benefit to Bredemarket.

So why does Instagram want me to invite friends and family to follow the Bredemarket account? Because it does provide benefit to Instagram. The more people engaged on Instagram translates to more opportunities for Instagram to display ads, which benefits Instagram’s bottom line. But it won’t benefit your bottom line as a business.

So if my European daughters’ retired high school teacher is waiting for that Instagram invite from Bredemarket…keep waiting.

Shameless non-sponsored plug for Ray of Social

Incidentally, my thoughts on WHO to invite to follow your business social media accounts have been heavily influenced by Georgia of Ray of Social. Her Instagram account is here. Pay special attention to her “3 things that harm your growth,” especially thing 2 (although thing 1 and thing 3 are also important).