Interview: Hanchul Kim, CEO, Suprema
Market demand for contactless security solutions continues to grow even after the pandemic. Known as the “Apple of the World of Physical Security,” Suprema is a specialized security solutions company integrated with AI that has original technologies for facial recognition and fingerprints. Its main clients are Fortune 500 companies, data centers, banks, and public institutions that require high security.
Interviewer: Damir Muharemović; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
a&s Adria: Mr. Kim, can you please present yourself to our readers?
Kim: Thank you for this opportunity. I am Kim Hanchul, CEO of Suprema. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, USA, and accumulated work and technological experience in global business and software development in Korean and foreign IT companies such as Samsung Electronics, Motorola, and Harman. After joining Suprema in 2015, it has been leading aggressive business growth abroad through location strategies by expanding partner channels and establishing branches abroad.
a&s Adria: What portfolio does Suprema have?
Kim: It has a broad portfolio in all areas of access control systems, including AI-based fingerprint and face recognition terminals, Biostar 2, which is an integrated platform for access/assistance/visitors management and mobile access card solutions.
In September 2022, the company launched BioStation 3, which can perform 100% contactless access authentication, reflecting the growing need for the market for contactless security solutions in the post-COVID-19 era. Provides various contactless access verification options, such as facial recognition, mobile access card, QR, and barcode to improve user convenience. With a small size similar to that of a smartphone, it is characterized by the ease of installation and scalability that can be installed on any door, from small offices to business environments.
a&s Adria: Can you explain more about BioStation 3?
Kim: BioStation 3 is equipped with an AI processor, NPU (Neural Processing Unit), and can perform high-level facial recognition access authentication. Accurate authentication is possible even with changes to the face, such as various types and colors of masks, hairstyles, hats, and glasses. It has an intercom and RTSP (Real-time streaming protocol), allowing efficient bilateral communication with visitors anytime, anywhere.
a&s Adria: What’s the secret of accurate personal identification despite changes in masks, hats, glasses, etc.?
Kim: This is possible by AI which has undergone massive data learning. Data for 50,000 people have been recorded. About 12 years have passed since a facial recognition terminal was made. In 2010, I made a facial recognition terminal with a product called FaceStation, and at that time, the algorithm memorized the elements of the face. Then I tried to change it to AI. BioStation 3 creates an AI-based algorithm instead of memorizing. The algorithm has become smarter in the continuous learning process by securing data from various angles of the face accumulated since 2010.
a&s Adria: Are you proud to have a premium access security solution? What is the difference or strength of Suprema compared to other solutions?
Kim: The chance that our products will recognize and misidentify people is approximately 1 in 10 billion. This is thanks to the in-depth learning algorithm developed independently and exclusively based on the technology accumulated over 20 years. This recognition algorithm is evaluated for its excellent false fingerprint/face detection technology. Another point of difference is that it has a design delicate and modern enough to be used in movies and dramas like JTBC’s ‘Confidential Assignment 2: International’ and ‘Private Life. Provides accurate facial recognition performance regardless of race or facial expressions of people worldwide, and this stability has been recognized worldwide, and a billion users currently use Suprema products.
a&s Adria: Suprema has recently been selected as Top 100 in the spin of the artificial intelligence fusion.
Kim: Suprema was selected as the 2023 Emerging AI + X Top 100, published annually by AIIA, the representative artificial intelligence association of South Korea. “Emerging AI + X Top 100” is an emerging company that is expected to be of greater value in the future, and refers to the top 100 national companies that will lead innovation through the merger between artificial intelligence ( IA ) and various industries ( X ). AIIA, industry, academia, and AI experts have conducted a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the future value of the company’s technology and business among 1,800 candidates. 48 companies with specialized solutions such as manufacturing, finance, and medical care were selected in 11 fields of the domain industry, and 52 companies that combine AI technologies in various industries branches in six fields of the merger industry (Cross-Industry).
Suprema, which provides integrated AI-based security solutions, has been named in the image and video processing spin in the fusion industry. Suprema recently introduced the BioStation 3, equipped with NPU ( Neural Network Processor ), an AI processor based on Deep Learning that leads the industry. BioStation 3 is an AI facial recognition solution that specializes in the contactless access authentication feature maximizing AI engine performance to accurately verify facial changes. The speed is so fast, so even in the busiest places of people, it is possible to authenticate quickly. I am honored to be recognized for its unique AI algorithm technology and future value. Suprema will continue to develop integrated security solutions using AI technology to always live safely and conveniently without users paying special attention.
a&s Adria: What are the solutions or products that Suprema is currently focusing on developing?
Kim: We are planning a major update to Biostar 2, an integrated access/assistance/visitor management and management software. Features such as the control panel and mobile access card issuance will be updated to improve cloud-based scalability, connectivity, and performance, and to more efficiently manage access, assistance, and visitors. BioStation 3 is estimated to implement the ‘Face Template on Mobile’ feature, the first access authentication method in this industry.
a&s Adria: The technology called ‘Face Template on Mobile’ is unfamiliar to me. Can you explain it briefly?
Kim: It is a technology that allows users to store and manage their facial authentication information on their personal mobile phones without the need to save it in the company’s database.
a&s Adria: I understand that the automation system was introduced into the assembly and inspection process at your plant during the transition to a smart factory. Is there a specific reason?
Kim: The first reason to automate production lines in small and medium-sized companies is to maintain high quality. We are implementing a “high margin” business by promoting premium products and I believe that due to our high quality, the premium position has been filled. The second is productivity. Automation can increase productivity.
a&s Adria: Is it impossible to automate the entire process?
Kim: 100% automation is difficult, but we are trying to automate simple tasks. I think it is significant and important that 100% of manufacturing is done in Korea. By 2023, the reliability verification process for all input products will be automated. Further, We seek to improve productivity by automating the logistical movement between processes by introducing an automated guided vehicle ( AGV ) and further expanding the automated process to apply it to all products.
a&s Adria: I am curious about specific future perspectives, such as short and long-term goals.
Kim: Recently, large-scale orders for Supreme Biostar 2 are increasing in industries such as construction, oil, gas, and data center security, mainly in the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Furthermore, our access control hardware products are widely used as high-end products on the world market. It is a strategy to expand the participation of the software business in the future by completing the advancement of the current software platform and continuously winning large-scale projects.
a&s Adria: What are the future trends in the security industry?
Kim: The demand for contactless access control solutions including facial recognition and mobile access cards continues to grow. In particular, the introduction of mobile solutions that can authenticate access via smartphones in educational institutions with generations of digital natives is increasing.
In addition, UWB ( Ultra Wideband ) wireless communication technology, which provides a more convenient user experience, is a striking topic in the IT industry. UWB technology is expected to have a broader capacity of uses, such as digital keys, lost and found search, payment services, and interior navigation. UWB technology can also be applied to physical security. If UWB technology is applied to the access control system, when the user approaches the door, the door opens automatically as long as the user has only one smartphone without having to take an action for access authentication. In the future, this technology is estimated to be used to create an environment for entering and leaving offices.