Taking a biometric access-control system beyond its normal use helps museum personnel and architects create more effective designs.
The ICER (Industry, Culture, Education, and Recreation) Innovation Center is a museum that showcases iron and manufacturing innovation and technology in the town of Ulft, in the Netherlands. Housed in a former deburring department, the museum has become a success with patrons of all ages and is now a highly experiential facility dedicated to increasing the understanding of the value of innovation.
As part of the design, museum personnel were interested in providing an innovative solution to better engage visitors. That solution materialized in the form of the In Motion Identification (IMID) access-control mechanism, manufactured by FST Biometrics Corp., headquartered in Rishon Lezion, Israel. The company’s U.S. operation is FST Biometrics America Inc., New York. The system was designed by Ensura Solutions BV, an FST Biometrics integrator, headquartered in the Netherlands.
Ensura was presented with a challenge to provide a biometrics-based system that would be intuitive and easy-to-use for museum visitors, while showcasing the impact innovation can have on their lives. The system involves biometric checkpoints, located throughout the museum, at which visitors use the IMID facial-recognition technology to gain valuable information about the museum and be provided with a personalized experience.
The initial identification point is at the museum’s entrance and offers an opt-in feature for patrons wishing to receive a more personalized visitor experience. This initial check-in site allows the biometric ID system to process incoming visitors in a timely manner—the system requires less than 10 sec. for enrollment—thereby preventing a bottleneck at the facility’s entry point. At the first checkpoint following entry/enrollment, visitors are asked to provide their name and e-mail address. If they do so, the museum can later send museum guests personalized communications tailored to the exhibits they visited.
Visitors who select the biometric identification option are assigned a temporary system ID (not made visible to them) that is used to correlate their identity to the sites at the museum that they subsequently choose to visit. The 15 biometric identification checkpoints (positioned beyond the unit at the visitor entrance) are housed in display cabinets that contain the museum’s metallurgy and iron-making exhibits. Given that the exhibits are constantly changing, tracking installation popularity helps museum personnel decide which displays to keep, remove, or modify.
Prior to installation, the Ensura integration team was tasked with verifying conditions at the exhibits were suitable for the identification-station specifications, including adequate approach and identification distances in effect at each checkpoint.
To date, the ICER Museum has hosted tens of thousands of people, each of whom has had the option to experience the museum through the IMID system. Kees Nieuwenhuijse, interim director of ICER Innovation Center, said, “The interactive In Motion Recognition system, provided to ICER by Ensura Solutions BV, FST Biometrics’ regional distributor, is a perfect complement to the exhibits we have here at the innovation center. FST’s technology helps our visitors maximize their time at ICER at the pace that makes sense for them, since FST’s system is able to personalize the ICER experience for each individual.”
Bas de Leeuw, CEO of Ensura Solutions BV, said, “The way we have used In Motion Identification at ICER is a great example of how innovative and new technology can change our lives.”
Deployment of FST’s biometric solution demonstrates valuable use cases for other museum operators seeking to add enhanced functionality to their visitor experiences. The addition of biometric identification checkpoints generally requires minimal architectural accommodation to perform properly.
Once installed, a wealth of information about the building’s use becomes available to management and architects. Potential applications include effective management of constantly-changing museum exhibits, the ability to execute personalized marketing campaigns based on actual engagement with the building’s visitor experiences, and data analysis to better plan layouts to accommodate the flow of visitors.
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