Irisys, a developer of iris recognition USB flash drives

Now it’s time to take a close look at a small but competitive business making a difference for the Korean economy. This is part one of a series on the companies that made marks at IFSEC International 2016 held in London. IFSEC International is the world’s largest trade show on security equipment and solution. It was held in London this year for three days from June 21st. Many Korean companies were applauded for their exceptional innovations at this fair attended by some 30,000 buyers from all over the globe. One such company was Korean biometric company Irisys. Here’s its CEO Han Sung-eun한승은 to tell us more about all the attention the company gained at the trade show. 

Irisys signed contracts with a British security firm, one of the ten largest groups in Turkey, and also with buyers from France and Japan. Actually, we made quite an impressive showing at the fair. 

Countless buyers visited the Irisys booth during the trade show and Irisys concluded deals with representatives of companies based in Britain, Turkey, France, and Japan. Just what did Irisys introduce at the fair to draw such keen interest from the world’s leading security firms? 

Iris recognition is mainly used for access control. In movies like “Mission Impossible” characters use biometric identification to gain access to restricted areas. What our product does is activating a USB by using iris information. Think of it like turning on the car engine without inserting a key in the ignition. Our product is compatible with almost all wireless devices on earth and capable of interfacing with other products without installing separate software programs. 

Irisys’s signature product is Lockit, a mini USB flash drive activated by iris recognition. Lockit’s appearance is no different from any other USB sticks. But when the user presses the registration button on the side and puts one eye on the tear-shaped panel on the stick, the small device recognizes his or her iris pattern. Once the user’s iris pattern is scanned, the user’s eye becomes his or her password from then on. Just as a movie character would enter a high-security area by scanning his eye, a user whose identity is confirmed through iris recognition can access the information stored inside the USB stick by connecting to a smartphone or a computer. Irisys’s Lockit is a personalized data security device based on biometric information. This innovative security technology was the brainchild of Irisys CEO Han Sung-eun, who thought his company’s future cannot be ensured by operating like existing businesses, which have already reached their limits. After establishing Irisys in 2012, Han started developing the iris recognition system by getting advices from leading research institutions at home and abroad, such as the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea, and working together with the technical staff at Irisys to find ways to enter and process biometric data to activate a USB stick. After two and a half years of hard work, Irisys was able to roll out a product never found anywhere else in the world. 

There were similar products that came before Lockit, but they were PC-based devices which simply confirmed whether a person trying to log on was the registered user. But our product operates on its own battery power and it not only identifies a user, but also decides whether to grant access to the data inside the USB flash drive. There is one additional service provided with our Lockit. Customers using our USB flash drives can put on passwords on each other’s data and exchange encrypted data with each other. Let’s say I was scammed into withdrawing all my money from my bank account and sending it to another account. If the account receiving the money isn’t one of my encoded destinations, the scammer wouldn’t be able to withdraw any money from it. Deposits and withdrawals can be controlled with this encryption device.

Unlike conventional products whose modules had to be inserted into smartphones, the Lockit USB flash drive is the safest personalized portable authorization device based on iris recognition technology. The iris recognition camera comes with an automatic focus function and an infrared LED, enabling the flash drive to identify a person’s iris within 0.2 seconds. It’s the fastest recognition time in the world. The flash drive can also be equipped with a one-time password system to ensure safe financial transactions and electronic payments. So a user can carry out secure online bank transactions without a user ID or a password. This amazing product, which combines iris-based security solution and data encryption function, has received explosive reactions as soon as it hit the market. 

We started selling this product in earnest in October of 2015. At the moment we don’t sell Lockit to individual customers, but only to corporations. It’s already quite popular in Korea, but getting lots of inquiries from Japan, China, the United States, as well as the UAE, Kuwait, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. We already received quite a lot of orders and are selling them briskly in those markets. In 2015, about 200,000 dollars’ worth of Lockit were exported. It isn’t much because we hadn’t prepared for overseas marketing for that long. But in 2016, we have so far received orders totaling over 10 million dollars. 

It hasn’t even been a year since the product became available in the B2B market, but Irisys has already posted more than ten million dollars in export. Having pioneered a new niche in iris recognition technology in Korea, Irisys is playing a key role in technological innovation, nicknamed the fourth industrial revolution. 

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