Facial recognition tech to reopen key sectors | G7 series

Facial recognition

Innovate UK EDGE helps pioneering tech company secure Innovate UK funding for entirely contactless access to buildings and spaces

A Cornwall-based innovator in facial recognition technology has secured a £50,000 Innovate UK grant with assistance from Innovate UK EDGE.

TouchByte will use the funding to pivot into a new sector, adapting its technology in response to the pandemic and enabling contactless site entry for construction workers.

The company identified early in the pandemic that contact-heavy sign-in systems such as fingerprints, keycodes, and smart cards would now be fraught with safety concerns. Responding quickly, TouchByte proposed that workers should be able to access sites using their face alone and set about designing a prototype solution.

Funding was deemed critical to the project and Innovate UK EDGE Access to Funding and Finance Manager, Dr Ben Masheder, was contacted to help apply for Innovate UK’s Covid FastTrack funding programme, a competition for R&D-intensive businesses addressing the challenges arising from COVID-19. Ben was able to provide initial advice on eligibility and project scope, before critiquing the application content prior to submission.

 

Meeting the challenges of a post-Covid world

Having secured Innovate UK funding, TouchByte is now able to roll out prototypes and engage with partners such as Inndex which provides backend workforce management. Once deployed, site managers will be able to maintain high security standards, with faces detected and checked automatically, while monitoring who is onsite and which skillsets are available.

Jeremy Sneller, Managing Director of TouchByte, said: “The funding has meant that we can recruit additional people, so that by the end of this four-month period, we’ll have a product that we can take to market. This technology is transferable and could benefit not just the construction market, but multiple sectors across the UK too.”

As consumer confidence in facial recognition technology continues to grow, hospitality has been highlighted as one such target sector. Using TouchByte’s Facentry technology, hotels will be able to offer access to rooms, spas and swimming pools, all without the use of a potentially contaminated key.

 

Continued support from Innovate UK EDGE 

TouchByte has set its sights on the industries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and with this new funding, will provide them with the tools they need to adapt to the new normal.

Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support TouchByte throughout its period of growth, offering strategic advice on how to maximise its potential in both UK and European markets.