Security

Amazon One Enterprise’s Palm-based Access Control Assessed

Faces, fingers, and eyes have so far dominated the biometric access control landscape but retail giant Amazon is betting on palms to redefine the future of physical security. Initially released in 2020, the palm-based access control solution Amazon One has been gradually building momentum in the retail and hospitality sectors. Now the recent release of Amazon One Enterprise promises to test the technology’s potential in the turbulent world of office real estate. Offices represent the greatest revenue potential in the access control space, making up a 22.6% share of the access control market, according to our latest market research. Recent trends in the office sector have revolved around the return to work after the pandemic and the widespread shift to hybrid and remote work models. The access control market saw its potential for safety and occupancy management applications and quickly adapted its solutions with contactless and cloud-based alternatives. “Prior to the pandemic, digital transformation and […]

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Faces, fingers, and eyes have so far dominated the biometric access control landscape but retail giant Amazon is betting on palms to redefine the future of physical security.

Initially released in 2020, the palm-based access control solution Amazon One has been gradually building momentum in the retail and hospitality sectors. Now the recent release of Amazon One Enterprise promises to test the technology’s potential in the turbulent world of office real estate.

Offices represent the greatest revenue potential in the access control space, making up a 22.6% share of the access control market, according to our latest market research.

Recent trends in the office sector have revolved around the return to work after the pandemic and the widespread shift to hybrid and remote work models. The access control market saw its potential for safety and occupancy management applications and quickly adapted its solutions with contactless and cloud-based alternatives.

“Prior to the pandemic, digital transformation and the convergence of physical and logical access caused enterprises to migrate more of their access management capabilities to the cloud,” explains our brand new study. “Recent surveys show 81% of organizations are offering a hybrid work model, leading more companies to deliver identity management “as a service” rather than via on-premises infrastructure in 2023 and beyond.”

Amazon One Enterprise Offerings

The shift to cloud has opened the door to leading cloud service providers, like Amazon with AWS, to drive deeper into the access control space. Amazon is already involved in access control through various acquisitions, product developments, support services, and as a retailer of off-the-shelf access control products. However, the step into infrastructural access control & biometrics for commercial buildings is a big move for the company.

Amazon One Enterprise links directly to the management console of AWS, providing a significant incentive for the many enterprise AWS users. However, in the majority of cases, the access control team is disconnected from the team that would manage AWS, and the AWS management console is more complicated than a typical access control interface. So, while Amazon’s palm-scanning shows promise, doubt remains over the real-world effectiveness of its AWS interface for access control management.

Amazon One Enterprise Access Control

Amazon One Enterprise is essentially a contactless palm-scanning identity service that allows organizations to authenticate people when entering a physical space. It builds on the existing Amazon One offering, which focuses on payments in the company’s own highly surveilled and cashierless Amazon Go stores, and increasingly in its wholly-owned subsidiary Wholefoods. Users need only hover their hand over a scanner to authenticate their purchase, without having to present a card, fob, device, or remove their glasses.

The palm of the hand does offer numerous benefits over other biometric solutions. Facial recognition is subject to issues related to eyewear, clothing, jewellery, and facial hair. Iris scanners, meanwhile, are prohibitively expensive, limiting their adoption in commercial settings. Leaving fingerprints and palm prints, but with the need for contactless solutions it seems palm-scanning might hold a slight accuracy advantage.

The Market Landscape

“The competitive landscape for biometric access control is dominated by well-established specialist companies who have honed their technologies over years, if not decades, and giants in the broader fields of access control and building systems, as well as a few innovative startups” reads our latest access control research. In palm-scanning specifically, Amazon faces leading firms like NEC, Thales, and Fujitsu.

Amazon One Enterprise has already picked up a broad range of partners and clients. In hospitality, they are trailing the technology with Intercontinental Hotels Group. In building systems, a partnership with elevator company KONE will see the firm integrating Amazon One Enterprise into its People Flow building entry solutions.

More directly in access control, they has announced an agreement with Boon Edam, a manufacturer of revolving doors, security doors, and security turnstiles, who spoke generally about the potential for integration. Amazon also reported a deal with Paznic, a safety deposit box specialist working with financial institutions and in high-security environments.

The trajectory of Amazon One Enterprise in the access control market is not a foregone conclusion. Despite the weighty backing of one of the world’s biggest companies, palm scanning technology must still prove itself in the wider market, under a range of real-world scenarios and over time, to gain acceptance and find its place in the office building.

Numerous technologies have tried and failed to disrupt this market and palm-based technologies don’t feel all that different, but the deep pockets and wide reach of Amazon cannot be underestimated.

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