Motorola asserts itself in the biometrics market

Published 7 November 2006

Company has teamed up with Oracle to improve its finger and facial biometrics capabilities; Oracle’s support of XML a key factor; Motorola technology lauded for capturing a burglar with its automated reverse search function

When a company as big as Motorola gets into the biometrics game, it is a clear sign that the industry has matured and a clear signal to other companies to get out of the way. Motorola has been making its presence known for some time, signing deals with Bosnia and Switzerland to provide biometric identification systems, but its latest triumph is a little closer to home. The company’s Printrak Biometric Identification Solution (BIS) recently succeeded in apprehending a South Carolina burgler. Said burgler, it seems, left a palmprint at the scene of the crime, but it could not be tracked to any database. When the man was later arrested on a drug charge, however, the BIS automatically conducted a reverse search and located the earlier print.

The Printrak BIS is no doubt a talented system. It includes a latent case database, a repository for Automatic Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) records and crime scene photography; a “lights out” feature allowing system administrators to automate the verification of records submitted; and adjustable automation capabilities that allow local law enforcement to change the level of manual quality control applied to incoming submissions. “Counting all of our [biometric] product lines, we have over 300 installations and we’re in nearly 40 countries,” one company official said. “We have everything from small local systems like in Bullhead City, Arizona, all the way to large national systems.”

None of this, however, would be possible without backing from Oracle. Motorola has been relying on the Redwood Shores, California-based company to support its biometric databases. The company, back when it only did fingerprint biometrics, originally used Sybase for its back end, but the post 9/11 need for facial recognition software and iris scans prompted a reassessment. Motorola now uses Oracle Database 10g to manage image data, in large part due to its support of XML. “One of the challenges we had with the previous generation was that every agency had a different way that they wanted to do their data. It wasn’t driven by standards,” Motorola’s John Bredehoft said. “With Oracle, we were able to take whatever XML came into the workstation, store it into the database and come up with different database schemas for every customer.”

Motorola and Oracle together. Did we mention that other biometrics companies were getting nervous?

-read more in Mark Brunelli’s report ; read more about Motorola’s efforts in South Carolina in this news release