How Biometrics Will Revolutionize Access to Tenant Data

For those with a stake in commercial real estate, data analytics has removed much of the guesswork in how to best manage portfolios and individual properties. Developers and investors are making more educated decisions about where and what to buy, build, and how to mitigate their investment risk. They are also leveraging data to better understand tenant preferences, habits, and lifestyles. Data-driven insights translate to more effective marketing efforts, higher occupancy rates, lower turnover, the ability to command higher rent, and more efficient delivery of tenant services and building operations. Unfortunately, clean tenant data remains elusive. Access control databases – the most obvious source for tenant data – are typically garbled with misspelled names and duplicate entries. It's not uncommon for a database with 10,000 names in it to actually represent half that many unique individuals.

Data corruption stems from the use of individuals' names as a ground truth. Names provide too much opportunity for error and inconsistency during initial collection and entry. Access control databases are also tainted when systems fail to recognize instances when issued cards, fobs, or PIN codes are used by people other than their rightful owners – an event that happens frequently.

Integration of biometrics with access control solutions promises to elevate tenant data integrity significantly, particularly if iris biometrics are used. When individuals enroll in such a system, their unique iris signature is encrypted and templatized into a digital identity that cannot be reverse-engineered and remains constant over time.

If someone attempts to enroll more than once, their identity is immediately matched to their existing record, thereby eliminating the possibility of duplicates. Furthermore, any associated fields, including behaviors tracked by the access control system, become more trustworthy. There are no cards or PIN codes that tenants can share, mudding the data associated with their identity.

Iris biometrics also offers the advantage of tenant anonymity. When access control databases are exported for use in data analytics, name fields are stripped out. Individual identities become nothing more than an encrypted iris biometric templates and almost impossible to trace back to their owner.

In an era in which data privacy is top-of-mind, the anonymity of iris biometrics is sure to be embraced by tenants as a secure, non-invasive, and convenient upgrade to their building's access control system.

We’ve already seen public acceptance of iris biometrics in mainstream applications. Travelers are willing to enroll in iris-based identity systems to speed their way through TSA screening. Sports fans are doing the same to bypass long entry lines at stadiums. Tenants of commercial properties will similarly welcome the convenience and seamless experience that biometric access control offers.

The opportunity to harvest and leverage highly reliable tenant data will revolutionize how commercial real estate stakeholders manage their properties. Using cloud- based platforms that tie databases from all their properties together, they can apply AI algorithms to identify behavioral trends and tenant preferences at a scale previously unimaginable.

Plus, as biometrics is embraced by other sectors, like hospitality and point-of-sale, data from disparate sources can be tied together for aggregate analysis while preserving individuals' privacy. The more that commercial developers and investors understand their clientele, the better they can deliver an experience commensurate with tenants' expectations.

Data analytics has made a tremendous impact in transforming the business of commercial real estate. With AI and self-learning software now readily available, its power is limited merely by the quality and accessibility of data. As for leveraging tenant data to better manage properties and organizations, biometrics tied to access control will soon remove both obstacles.

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