Biometrics and Security: How to Keep Your Home Completely Safe



Biometric security is an increasingly common topic among our clients. After many years on the market (and now, in our smartphones), facial recognition and fingerprint scans are becoming more mainstream. It suddenly doesn’t seem completely out of the question for us to have biometric screening on our doors. 

And trust us — it’s entirely possible and incredibly luxurious.

At FBS, we’ve been using biometrics with security for quite some time because it’s undoubtedly the most secure way of protecting your home from unauthorized visitors and potential intruders. Biometric security takes away many of the failure points of typical locks: there’s no key, no one can steal your passcode, and the lock can’t be tampered with.

Here’s how we incorporate biometric screening with our high security doors to ensure your luxury home is completely safe. 

What is Biometric Screening?

Biometric screening refers to any kind of test that uses unique biological markers as a way of passing or failing subjects. You see this kind of thing in movies all the time — James Bond walks up to a door, a little laser moves over his eyeball, and the door opens for him. That little laser is a retina scanner that is confirming 007 is indeed who he says he is (whether he’s Daniel Craig or Sean Connery — the best Bonds) and that he is allowed to access whatever incredible spy gadgets are behind that door. (We’re always hoping for the Aston Martin.)Biometric screening can come in many forms, but is most often seen in facial recognition and fingerprint scans. However, in high tech or very sensitive security cases (like government and military work), we sometimes see retinal scans being used. A screenshot of FBS facial recognition software positively identifying a resident and allowing her access.To some extent, we have biometric screening in our everyday lives — our smartphones have this type of software built in. We scan our fingers from a bunch of different angles to make it easier to unlock our phones. The newest smartphones actually have facial recognition built in because they’ve gotten rid of the home button to increase screen real estate.In our everyday lives, this type of biometric screening is relatively unsecure. The more mass-marketed security technology is, the less accurate it is. Your phone’s home button takes multiple impressions of your fingerprint to make sure it gets a picture clear enough to open your phone more often than not. If it were too secure, you’d be annoyed that your phone was never opening when you touched the home screen. In this case, the phone manufacturer must choose between convenience and security, and they’re going to choose convenience the vast majority of the time. If you want something incredibly secure, it’s going to “work” less often, meaning that you’d have to have your finger in the exact right position every single time you want to open your phone — otherwise, your phone would not unlock. In our everyday lives, our security is taking a back seat to convenience. But our clients can’t afford to ease up on their security — their lives (or their families’ lives) will be put at risk if they choose convenience. Therefore, we focus on having tight security with the added convenience they’re seeking.

How Biometrics and Security Work Together

As you’ve surely guessed by now, biometrics and security work hand-in-hand for a very simple, and effective reason: when they’re done well, they’re very difficult to trick or outsmart. Generally speaking, the door locks you buy at big box stores are pretty awful in terms of security. They’re only a deterrent if the potential intruder is choosing targets at random — if they’re actually targeting you, it won’t stop them at all.Anyone who is determined enough can steal and replicate a regular house key. You could put a keypad on the door instead, but key codes aren’t too difficult to crack. And of course, you can learn how to pick a lock on the internet. Of course, our door locks are not like the normal locks you’d find at the store — they require multiple turns, rather than one or two, and you cannot duplicate the key. In fact, the security level is so high, it actually slows our clients down when they’re trying to get in the house. This is only one of the reasons we love biometric locks.Not only is it faster than turning a key multiple times, but in order to get through a biometric screening, you have to physically be present. Your finger, your face, your retina has to be physically in front of that biometric scanner in order for that door to open.A photo of facial recognition software at work, mapping out someone’s head on a screen.Quite obviously, this is the most crucial and important benefit of incorporating biometric screening into your security systems. If you, yourself have to be present in order to open a door, you can be completely assured that no one is getting into your home without your knowledge. You have to be there. It’s the most secure way to keep our home and family completely safe. It’s not foolproof, but it’s certainly the best option available.

FBS Biometric Security System Offerings

While we primarily create completely custom security doors and windows for our clients, we’re not a door and window company. We’re a security company. Our primary concern with every one of our clients is to make sure that they and their families are completely protected in the event of an unwanted visitor or a would-be intruder. The products and technology we use in order to accomplish our goals — which is to say: your security goals — just happen to be mostly doors and windows. (We also use hardening technology that goes on your walls, but that’s a topic for a different day.)Because the majority of intruders will start at your doors (oftentimes, the front door), we have incorporated biometric security into our motorized locks and openers, ensuring that no one is getting in that you haven’t already authorized.

Fingerprint Scanners

One of the simplest biometric security measures we have at FBS is a fingerprint scanner. As you’d expect, it’s a small panel with a laser that reads your fingerprint. If the fingerprint matches, the door will open for you. If it doesn’t — it simply won’t.Remember what we mentioned earlier about the relationship between security and convenience being inversely proportional? Well, our fingerprint scanners are pretty good, if we do say so ourselves, which actually causes our clients to get frustrated with the scanners sometimes.Your finger needs to be perfectly placed on the scanner in order for the door to open, and if your skin is too hot or too cold, the scanner can’t read it. Additionally, there is about 12% of the population who simply doesn’t have fingerprints that scanners can read.And from a convenience standpoint, they’re not hands-free, so you have to stop and pause to open the door. If you’re carrying a lot of stuff, you have to put something down, or balance your load on your knee so you can free your hand. We’re happy to install fingerprint scanners for you, but we much prefer facial recognition.A screenshot of the front entrance camera through the FBS Sanctuary Management System.

Facial Recognition

The most accurate and secure form of biometric security we have at FBS is facial recognition. Aside from a retinal scan, you can’t really get any more secure than this. And of course, the best facial recognition is 3D (2D facial recognition can sometimes be tricked by a photograph). 3D facial recognition operates using infrared technology, which means it struggles to work in the daylight — traditionally, it’s needed darkness in order to properly read your face. Thanks to new technology that allows 3D cameras to see your face in the daylight, that limitation is now a concern of the past. All of this is to say that our facial recognition software is accurate to the five-thousandths of one percent. Make no mistake that your face has to open that door. We’ve worked tirelessly to make sure that our facial recognition software is accurate, convenient, and fast because that’s what our clients deserve.Again, biometric screenings are the most secure methods of locking down your home, but facial recognition is particularly safe because it’s the most difficult to fake. Ignore all the science-fiction spy movies you’ve seen where people wear masks and fool facial recognition scanners — it’s not that easy in real life.Regardless of what Face/Off or Mission Impossible have tried to teach us, the bone structure around your eyes doesn’t change as you age. From adolescence through adulthood, no matter how much weight you gain or lose, your eye sockets will remain the same. Even with extensive plastic surgery, this basic structure is difficult to change. 

Hidden Compartments

One of the more popular features we can incorporate into our high security doors is a hidden compartment (or two, or three). Without getting into the details or showing the entire world exactly what we can do here, we can say that it’s entirely possible to have panels in your door that are completely invisible to the naked eye. Some of our clients have requested hidden compartments for keeping precious possessions safe, such as irreplaceable family jewelry, engagement rings, and heirloom watches. Others prefer to use these compartments for important documents like wills, life insurance paperwork, or safety deposit box information.And others feel safest knowing that they have a concealed weapon handy in the event of a life-threatening emergency, so we’ve created custom hidden compartments that can hold small handguns. Now, the trick with biometric security and hidden compartments is that you don’t want to alert anyone’s attention to the fact that anything is amiss with your door. For this reason, some clients choose to use our Invisiprox™ tags to open them, which means the tag would have to be placed at a specific point on the door in order to make the compartment open.  All of our facial recognition units also have a keypad, which can be easily used to open the hidden compartment in your door. No one would ever suspect the keypad would be used to open anything other than the door, whereas installing an extra fingerprint scanner or separate keypad would alert people to something hidden. This allows you to hide your most precious belongings in plain sight. A photo of a security keypad used as part of FBS facial recognition panels.

Biometric Security in Our Sanctuary™ System

Another benefit of biometric security in your home is that it allows you to control who exactly is entering. For example, if your assistant gets caught at an appointment and can’t drop off the wardrobe you need for your next important interview, he or she can’t ask someone else to take the clothes over to your house and leave them in your hall closet. The assistant is the only one who can do that errand.Furthermore, when biometric screenings are incorporated into our Sanctuary™ Management System, you can program allowances for each person who may need to gain access to your home. In this case, let’s use the example of your housekeeper. Let’s say you have one high security door at your front entrance and another for your bedroom. Your housekeeper comes on Tuesdays and Fridays, but you don’t need or want her to check on your bedroom more than once per week. With either the fingerprint or the facial recognition panel, you can set the parameters so that your housekeeper can enter the house at her regularly scheduled time (perhaps between 10:00am and 12:00noon on Tuesdays and Fridays). However, you can restrict access to your bedroom to Tuesdays during that same time frame so she can get the trash out before rubbish collection on Wednesdays. Alternatively, you can choose to not allow anyone entry after a certain time of day — not even you. This could prevent people from trying to trick your facial recognition systems with a photo of your face. (This is why we recommend a keypad as a second qualifier if you choose a 2D camera.)And on a fun side note, our Sanctuary™ Management System can work with your home automation program so you can see the status of any of your doors from one place. Our system can send necessary information to your smart home so it knows you are home, specifically, so it puts the shades to the exact height you like them, the air conditioning to that exact right temperature, and turns on your favorite playlist. We like to say that we can make your smart home brilliant.

Perfecting the Art of Biometric Security

We don’t mean to brag, but we’re very skilled at integrating biometrics with security systems. We’ve been doing it for many years, and we’re constantly striving to make the best possible security doors and windows for our clients.In current times, it’s nearly impossible to get any privacy — paparazzi are following celebrities around, fans are getting closer and closer to private residences and taking pictures on their smartphones, and the vast reach of the internet makes it difficult to conceal our movements. You have enough to worry about when you’re out in public. We want to make sure that when you’re at home, you have a fortified Sanctuary™ where you can fully relax and unwind — and biometric security is the best way to do that.If you’re interested in learning more about our fully customizable high security doors and windows for your luxury home, give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about your security concerns and the design plans for your home so we can create a truly unique product for you. In the meantime, feel free to check out our common questions page and client testimonials to see what others are saying about our work. And of course, if you’re in the area, we’d love for you to make an appointment to visit our showroom, but even if you’re not, we make house calls and we ship worldwide.We look forward to hearing from you!


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