ZKTeco at Securika Moscow 2020

Interview with the company

About ZKTeco, how it was created and what path it took.
ZKTeco was founded in China in March 1998. We had interesting ideas in the field of biometric identification. Having assembled a small team of engineers, we began to put them into practice. We experimented a lot with both hardware and software, and after 8-9 months we created our first fingerprint reader. At first, we placed orders at third-party factories, continuing to develop new products, expanding their functionality and reliability. We always put the recognition algorithms as our main priority, we continued our research, attracted mathematicians and programmers to cooperation, and we recruited the best and most outstanding graduates of Chinese engineering universities to our team. And literally two years later, our products became recognizable in the market. Their quality and accuracy of recognition has made our brand known. To ensure the rapid introduction of new developments and the rapid introduction of changes and improvements, we have created our production base, which over time grew into our first factory. We experimented a lot, created several divisions of developers involved in different types of identification - this is the recognition of the veins of the finger, the palm pattern, the retina of the eye. ZKTeco currently owns the largest number of patents and intellectual property rights in this area. To attract the best minds, we have created several divisions in different countries of the world. ZKTeco has created an innovation center for exploring hybrid technologies for biometric verification and the Internet-Things (IoT) in Silicon Valley in the USA, as well as a research institute in Europe for the development of cloud platforms, cloud computing and processing large data arrays.
ZKTeco is interested in many areas at once.
We produce the whole range of equipment - access control systems, video surveillance systems, inspection equipment, etc. And of course, we wanted our equipment to be used in the complex. Therefore, the issues of integration and the creation of large security systems are being worked out in our company very seriously. To this end, we created a specialized unit in Spain, which, together with our other laboratories, deals with this topic. And, it turns out that, working in the field of security systems, it is impossible to stop and be limited to only one direction. Technical progress does not stand still, there are more and more new technologies, so we try to be flexible in business, we try to anticipate where the market will go, we try to be a step or two ahead. For example, the processing area of ​​large data arrays (BigData). It would seem, where does the security? Ten years ago, people thought so, but now we already understand that building global video surveillance systems, Smart City systems is a huge amount of information, and if we add face recognition and vehicle license plate recognition, this volume will increase many times. And this information should not just be saved, it needs to be processed, structured, broken down according to some criteria, searched, drawn conclusions, managed - and this is a task for serious computing systems. Anticipating this, we began to develop this area seven years ago.
ZKTeco is very big. How many units and employees do we have now?
ZKTeco currently has more than 3,500 employees, more than 1,000 engineers and programmers. Headquarters are located in Dongguan, Xiamen and Wuhan. The headquarters in Dongguan has a modernized production base, the headquarters in Xiamen is focused on creating business software and an innovation center for biometric solutions. As I have already said, there are research units in Europe and the USA. There are trade missions in Europe, 5 countries of South America, in 6 countries of Africa, in all countries of Southeast Asia, in India.
Representation in Russia for three years. How do you assess the Russian market, what are the prospects for your company?
The Russian market is a large market and of course it is of great interest for the company ZKTeco. Russia is changing, the sphere of ensuring security of private enterprises is changing, public safety systems are changing, especially, of course, this is evident in Moscow. Regions of Russia, albeit with a slight delay, are also starting to introduce new systems. The growth of the market for access control and management systems is due to the tightening of security requirements by the authorities, the growth of the construction and transport sector and the creation of their security systems. Another source of market growth is the provision of security during mass events. In the state structures of Russia, in the city authorities it has become increasingly frequent to talk about the creation of “Safe and smart cities”. The implementation of such global projects involves the use of complex video surveillance systems, large data centers and analytical systems.
The segment of automatic time tracking systems is becoming a trend in Russia. In China and Southeast Asia, such equipment is installed on all large and most medium and small enterprises, in Russia this segment also becomes popular, and the improvement of technology and the reduction in the cost of such equipment only increase the growth rates. Actively developing cloud applications, mobile access, biometric access and the overall integration of security systems.
The technologies developed by ZKTeco help to achieve high results in ensuring security, and integrated and automated systems make it possible to actively influence business processes and help solve many problems, reduce costs and improve work efficiency.
Promoting ZKTeco brand
The Russian market is in a much established market, there are large players, there are well-known brands that have already established themselves in your country. And though they know about us in many countries, but in Russia we have to “win” our place under the Sun.
But there are no unsolvable problems, and we are moving very well towards our goal. The experience of organizing business in many countries, of course, plays into our hands and gives tangible competitive advantages. Of course, we take into account local features, but in general, we understand the goals and objectives, and we know how to achieve them.
For example, we see that today's consumer wants to solve complex tasks and reduce costs during operation. In other words, to reduce costs in the future, the consumer is ready to buy a more expensive, more complex system, and at the same time achieve several goals at once.
This trend is most clearly seen among our large customers, who, when calculating the budget for the security system, immediately lay down both maintenance and repair costs, and staff salaries. At the same time, they are trying to automate all the processes as much as possible, to link them into a single whole and integrate them into the already existing financial and business processes of the enterprise. This allows you to reduce the cost of big staff and reduce the number of errors caused by human factors.
Our sales experience both in the world and in Russia shows that the division of equipment into budget and elite is no longer working, the consumer needs products for solving specific problems. We, like many other major manufacturers, have specially created our own project department for such purposes, providing ready-made solutions with the necessary functionality.
What is the company focused on now? What new items we have this year?
Now our company focuses on face biometric identification. This idea is not new and we started to release such devices two years ago. But the first versions need a lot of system resources and required precise positioning of the person in front of the camera. The identification process was slow, which made the application of such devices very narrow. We have spent a lot of time and resources to improve this technology. And finally, our long-term studies allowed us to create a completely new algorithm and a completely new class of equipment. Now the identification takes less than a second, but new algorithms allow identifying a person with a sufficiently large distribution of angles relative to the camera, less demanding of lighting. We have invested all these innovations in the VisibleLight series of access control terminals.

VisibleLight? As far as I understand, the name translates as Visible Light, why did you choose such a name?
In the process of creating a new algorithm, we developed in two directions at once. The first is, directly, identification and recognition, and the second, no less important, is protection against fakes. Recognition is an entirely mathematical process. The original image obtained from the built-in camera is subjected to multistage processing, cleaning of noise, transformations, etc. But with the protection against "fake" had to deal long enough. And then the idea was born to use two cameras - one works in the infrared range, and the other in the visible. Comparison of images from two cameras, analysis of near frames, analysis of the behavior of pixels around the object and allowed us to create a 100% working algorithm for detecting a “living” face.
Technology has reached perfection, what will happen next?
There is no limit of perfection. And we thought about using our algorithms in video surveillance. The requirements are much stricter there, the recognition speed is much higher. Our development team was able to optimize technology and software and apply face recognition in DVRs and camcorders. 50 persons per second - this is their identification rate today.
What are the nearest plans of the company and your representative office in Moscow?
Now we are already providing our Russian importers with comprehensive support: information, software, and service. The main task now is the adaptation of products for the Russian market - this is integration with software popular in Russia, the Russification of equipment, software and documentation. To do this, we are increasing resources, expanding our technical department, recruiting programmers and engineers. In sales, we try to build a flexible policy with our old and new partners.