After a lack of appearances in the Bredemarket blog (none since November), Pangiam is making an appearance again, based on announcements by Biometric Update and Trueface itself about a new revision of the Trueface facial recognition SDK.
The new revision includes a number of features, including a new model for masked faces and some technical improvements.
So what is this revision called?
“Wait,” you’re asking yourself. “Version 1.0 is the NEW version? It sounds like the ORIGINAL version. Shouldn’t the new version be 2.0?”
Well, no. The original version was V0. Trueface is now ready to release V1.
When I viewed the page on the afternoon of March 28, the latest stable release was 0.33.14634.
If you want to use the version 1.0 that is being “introduced” (Pangiam’s word), you have to go to the latest beta release, which was 1.0.16286.
And if you want to go bleeding edge alpha, you can get release 1.1.16419.
(Again, this was on the afternoon of March 28, and may change by the time you read this.)
Now most biometric vendors don’t expose this much detail about their software. Some don’t even provide any release information, especially for products with long delivery times where the version that a customer will eventually get doesn’t even have locked-down requirements yet. But Pangiam has chosen to provide this level of detail.
Oh, and Pangiam/Trueface also actively participates in the ongoing NIST FRVT testing. Information on the 1:1 performance of the trueface-003 algorithm can be found here. Information on the 1:N performance of the trueface-000 algorithm can be found here.
Delta Airlines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and a travel tech company called Pangiam have partnered up to bring facial recognition technology to the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
As of next month, Delta SkyMiles members who use the Fly Delta app and have a TSA PreCheck membership will be able to simply look at a camera to present their “digital ID” and navigate the airport with greater ease. In this program, a customer’s identity is made up of a SkyMiles member number, passport number and Known Traveler Number.
Of course, TSA PreCheck enrollment is provided by three other companies…but I digress. (I’ll digress again in a minute.)
Forbes goes on to say that this navigation will be available at pre-airport check in (on the Fly Delta app), bag drop (via TSA PreCheck), security (again via TSA PreCheck), and the gate.
Incidentally, this illustrates how security systems from different providers build upon each other. Since I was an IDEMIA employee at the time that IDEMIA was the only company that performed TSA PreCheck enrollment, I was well aware (in my super-secret competitive intelligence role) how CLEAR touted the complementary features of TSA PreCheck in its own marketing.
Now I have no visibility into Pangiam’s internal discussions, but the company obviously has a long-term growth plan that it is executing.
Back when I initially entered the automated fingerprint identification systems industry in the last millennium, I primarily dealt with two markets: the law enforcement market that seeks to solve crimes and identify criminals, and the welfare benefits market that seeks to make sure that the right people receive benefits (and the wrong people don’t).
Other markets simply didn’t exist. If I pulled out my 1994-era mobile telephone and looked at it, nothing would happen. Today, I need to look at my 2020-era mobile telephone to obtain access to its features.
And there are other biometric markets also.
Pangiam and stadium bans
Back in 1994 I couldn’t envision a biometrics story in Sports Illustrated magazine. But SI just ran a story on how facial recognition can be used to keep fans out of stadiums who shouldn’t be there.
Some fans (“fanatics”) perform acts in stadiums that cause the sports teams and/or stadium authorities to officially ban them from the stadium, sometimes for life.
But in the past, these measures were ineffective.
For a long time, those “measures” were limited at best. Fans do not have to show ID upon entering arenas. Teams could run checks on all the credit cards to purchase tickets to see whether any belonged to banned fans, but those fans could easily have a friend buy the tickets.
But there are other ways to enforce stadium bans, and Sports Illustrated quoted an expert on the matter.
“They’ve kicked the fan out; they’ve taken a picture—that fan they know,” says Shaun Moore, CEO of a facial-recognition company called Trueface. “The old way of doing things was, you give that picture to the security staff and say, ‘Don’t let this person back in.’ It’s not really realistic. So the new way of doing it is, if we do have entry-level cameras, we can run that person against everyone that’s coming in. And if there’s a hit, you know then; then there’s a notification to engage with that person.”
This, incidentally, is an example of a “deny list,” or the use of a security system to deny a person access. We’ll get to that later.
But Pangiam/Trueface isn’t the only company serving stadium (and entertainment) venues.
CLEAR and stadium entry
Most of the time, sports stadiums aren’t concentrating on the practice of DENYING people entry to a stadium. They make a lot more money by ALLOWING people entry to a stadium…and allowing them to enter as quickly as possible so they can spend money on concessions.
One such company that supports this is CLEAR, which was recently in the news because of its Initial Public Offering. Coincidentally, CLEAR also provides airport security technology, but it has branched out from that core market and is also active in other areas.
The Mets don’t just let anyone into the stadium; you have to purchase a ticket. So you need to take your ticket out of your pocket and show it to the gate staff, or you need to take your smartphone out of your pocket and show your digital ticket to the gate staff.
What if you could get into the stadium without taking ANYTHING out of your pocket? Well, you can.
In the CLEAR Lane, your fingerprint is all you need to use tickets in your MLB Ballpark app – no need to pull out your phone or printed ticket as you enter the game.
Now that is really easy.
Pangiam and CLEAR aren’t the only companies in this space, as I well know. But there’s the possibility that biometrics will be used more often for access to sports games, concerts, and similar events.
TYSONS CORNER, Va., June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pangiam, a technology-based security and travel services provider, announced today that it has acquired Trueface, a U.S.-based leader in computer vision focused on facial recognition, weapon detection and age verification technologies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed….
Trueface, founded in 2013 by Shaun Moore and Nezare Chafni, provides industry leading computer vision solutions to customers in a wide range of industries. The company’s facial recognition technology recently achieved a top three ranking among western vendors in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 1:N Face Recognition Vendor Test.
(Just an aside here: companies can use NIST tests to extract all sorts of superlatives that can be applied to their products, once a bunch of qualifications are applied. Pay attention to the use of the phrase “among western vendors.” While there may be legitimate reasons to exclude non-western vendors from comparisons, make a mental note when such an exclusion is made.)
But what does this mean in terms of Pangiam’s existing product? The press release covers this also.
Trueface will add an additional capability to Pangiam’s existing technologies, creating a comprehensive and seamless solution to satisfy the needs of both federal and commercial enterprises.
And because Pangiam is not a publicly-traded company, it is not obliged to add a disclaimer to investors saying this integration might not happen bla bla bla. Publicly traded companies are obligated to do this so that investors are aware of the risks when a company speculates about its future plans. Pangiam is not publicly traded, and the owners are (presumably) well aware of the risks.
For example, a US government agency may prefer to do business with an eastern vendor. In fact, the US government does a lot of business with one eastern vendor (not Chinese or Russian).
But we’ll see what happens with any future veriTruefaceScan product.
Businesses are often faced with the question of whether to buy a product or service from a third party, or make the product or service itself.
And airports are no exception to this.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the entity that manages two of the airports in the Washington, DC area, needed a biometric boarding (biometric exit) solution. Such solutions allow passengers to skip the entire “pull out the paper ticket” process, or even the “pull out the smartphone airline app” process, and simply stand and let a camera capture a picture of the passenger’s face. While there are several companies that sell such solutions, MWAA decided to create its own solution, veriScan.
And once MWAA had implemented veriScan at its own airports, it started marketing the solution to other airports, and competing against other providers who were trying to sell their own solutions to airports.
Well, MWAA got out of the border product/service business last week when it participated in this announcement:
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pangiam, a technology-based security and travel services provider, announced today that it has acquired veriScan, an integrated biometric facial recognition system for airports and airlines, from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (“Airports Authority”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Pangiam is clearly the new kid on the block, since the company didn’t even exist in its current form a year ago. Late last year, AE Industrial Partners acquired and merged the decade-old Linkware and the newly-formed Pangian (PRE LLC) “to form a highly integrated travel solutions technology platform providing a more seamless and secure travel experience.”
But in a sense, Pangiam ISN’T new to the travel industry, once you read the biographies of many of the principals at the company.
“Most recently (Kevin McAleenan) served as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)….”
“Prior to Pangiam, Patrick (Flanagan) held roles at U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Navy, the National Security Staff, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
“Dan (Tanciar) previously served as the Executive Director of Planning, Program Analysis, and Evaluation in the Office of Field Operations (OFO) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”
“Prior to Pangiam, Andrew (Meehan) served as the principal adviser to the Acting Secretary for external affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
“(Tom Plofchan) served as a National Security Advisor to the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before entering government to serve as the Counterterrorism Advisor to the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and as Counterterrorism Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
So if you thought that veriScan was well-connected because it was offered by an airport authority, consider how well-connected it appears now because it is offered by a company filled with ex-DHS people.
Which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily indicate that the products work, but it does indicate some level of domain knowledge.
But will airports choose to buy the Pangiam veriScan solution…or make their own?