Extrapolating to new businesses

Throughout my career, many of the companies that I worked for were acquired by other companies. Every time that one of these acquisitions took place, it presented me with a whole new world of products to discover and master. For example, when Safran acquired Motorola’s biometric business, I went from an organization that only offered fingerprint biometrics to an organization that offered fingerprint, face, and iris biometrics. (And other stuff.)

When we learn about new products, we often think about these new products in terms of the old products that we already know. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn’t.

  • While any attempt to refer to the “minutiae” of a face would be greeted with derision, there are a few parallels for both computerized and human review of fingerprints and faces.
  • However, applying the 1990s fingerprint identification (AFIS) “real time” measure of one minute or less was completely unimpressive to my computer aided dispatch (CAD) counterparts at Printrak and Motorola, for which the dispatch of emergency personnel within one minute could be deadly. They required dispatch within SECONDS.

So in my case, I have progressed from a company that provided automated fingerprint identification to police and welfare agencies, to a company that provided multiple biometric and secure document solutions to customers ranging from police agencies to sports stadiums. (I don’t know how many of you remember this, but fans used to actually go to sports stadiums in person to attend games. I once predicted that fanless games would happen, but I thought that it wouldn’t happen until 2050 or so.)

Then it got really weird.

Since early July, I have been researching a number of technologies both within the general identity industry, and outside of the identity industry. Which means that I’m learning about a LOT of new products. And I’m still trying to extrapolate. I’ll give you an example.

When I worked at IDEMIA, one of its product lines was rated according to two ratings systems – Ingress Protection (IP) and Impact Protection (IK) ratings. In brief, the ratings systems measured how the product could withstand dust, water, and outside forces. So if a particular product was rated IP-65 and IK-08, the product would not allow ingress of dust, was protected from water projected by a nozzle against enclosure from any direction, and could withstand the impact of a 1.7 kg mass dropped from 300 mm above the product. Yes, I attended trade shows where IDEMIA employees would drop weights on to this particular product. (But I never saw a water nozzle in a trade show booth.)

So when I recently had to look at a non-identity product line, I began wondering whether it had its own IP or IK-type ratings. It turns out that it did. But I didn’t want to spend the money on buying the relevant standards (such as UL 72), so I found a cheat sheet instead. (And another one.) So now if someone talks about a safe that can resist a break-in with common hand tools for 30 minutes AND can protect paper by maintaining an interior temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a 1-hour 1700 degree fire, I can mumble “TL-30 and UL Class 350 1 hour” and sound important.

Oh, and by the way, in the safe world the drop tests talk about drops of 30 feet, not 300 millimeters.

Kinda like the difference between AFIS real time and CAD real time.

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