- Companies are aggressively working to switch up office designs to make it safe for employees to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- That task is especially difficult for essential workers like nurses and factory employees, who often rely on fingerprint scanners or ID cards to access facilities or clock-in.
- Oloid is trying to change that. The AI firm has raised $5 million for its biometric scanners that help essential employers create a contactless work environment.
- “We are very well-capitalized,” CEO Mohit Garg told Business Insider. But “if we wanted to raise a round again there is a lot of interest.”
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Companies are taking aggressive steps to try to make it safe for employees to return to their offices.
But one startup is trying to revolutionize how to make the workplace secure for deskless jobs, like nurses, factory employees, and construction workers.
Oloid raised $5 million for its product that uses biometrics to scan in employees who work in essential services, according to CEO Mohit Garg.
The goal is to mimic what companies like Okta have done for unified authentication in the office setting. That San Francisco-based software firm allows employees to use a single sign-on to access many common applications.
And while the idea for Oloid was conceived before the outbreak, the pandemic underscored just how important it was for Garg and cofounder Madhu Madhusudhanan to create a contactless environment for all workers.
“Pre-COVID, we were an exciting idea,” Garg told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. “Post-COVID, we are hugely in demand.”
Since 2018, the company has been focused entirely on research and development.
But with the investment from Emergent Ventures, Unusual Ventures, West Wave Capital, and others, it is planning on scaling up to meet the high interest from essential manufacturers like drugmakers and food producers.
“We are very well-capitalized,” said Garg. But “if we wanted to raise a round again there is a lot of interest.”
In many organizations, employees currently rely on different methods to access certain locations or clock in, per Garg.
A worker may use a fingerprint scanner in one system and an ID badge in another — so there could be multiple identifiers of the same person in a company’s system.
Even the process to get an ID is antiquated. And because many firms tap third parties to manage those operations, much of the data is stored outside the organization — creating a potential security concern, according to Garg.
Chief information security officers are “great at managing desk-worker identity. But because all these systems are not unified for deskless workers … CISOs are unable to manage their identity,” he said.
Set-up is simple. Employers can purchase an iPad and begin using Oloid’s application.
The system scans an individual’s face and creates a 120-point virtual map of sorts.
Once that’s done, the camera can then scan and permit workers to access facilities or clock-in for work — all without having to use their hands.
The company is also adding new features, like a temperature scanner that can indicate if an employee may be sick (though additional medical assessment is needed).
Focus on privacy and consent
Facial recognition is a hotly debated technology.
But unlike other companies, Oloid only wants to operate in the enterprise setting. The firm has also focused heavily on security, according to Garg.
Once a facial map is made, all images of the employees are destroyed. And the map is stored in a format that only the company’s technology can analyze.
So if a worker were to give the code to a federal law enforcement agency, “they can’t do anything with it,” said Garg. “The workers also have full transparency and knowledge of where it’s being used.”
The technology is currently deployed in 14 factories and “multiple construction sites,” per Garg.
One company currently using it is contract manufacturer Flex.
“Oloid’s contactless biometric technology is helping us improve the safety, security and worker experience at our factories and warehouses,” Vice President of Brand Protection and Safety Peter Hunt said in a statement.