How key partnerships are creating safer spaces

December 7, 2021


Tina D’Agostin, CEO of Alcatraz AI and Zac Goodman, Founder of Switched On Space tell Security Journal UK about their strategic partnership.

Can you tell us more about the partnership between Alcatraz and Switched On Space?

Tina D’Agostin (TD): Alcatraz AI has partnered with Switched On Space to offer the Alcatraz Rock, an autonomous access control solution that creates safe spaces in buildings. This strategic partnership provides greater exposure and will expand Alcatraz AI’s facial authentication solutions. Subsequently, this will create safe spaces in buildings in the growing UK and Europe markets. Switched on Space provides best-in-class technology and security solutions to its clients and we are thrilled to work with them as they are as passionate as we are about utilising new technologies to create smart buildings.

Zac Goodman (ZG): Switched On Space was thrilled to partner with Alcatraz in 2021 with a drive to bring autonomous access control to the UK and European markets whilst reducing operational complexity.

We believe that Alcatraz AI’s technology and facial authentication solution will improve our world, environment and our lives. Given the events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever to navigate spaces safely. Alcatraz AI achieves the perfect fit for us and what we are trying to achieve with our technology. We’re both passionate and 110% committed to utilising new technologies to create smart buildings.

Switched On Space and Alcatraz share a vision of a future in which technology is frictionless and privacy is paramount.

What products and solutions does Alcatraz currently offer?

TD: Alcatraz AI provides organisations with “self-driving” security access through facial authentication that works in real time, at any time, to make spaces safer. Powered by machine learning, Alcatraz AI’s Rock operates autonomously to recognise your face as your credential, thus creating a seamless interaction between the individual and the Rock. The innovative technology solves the challenge of securing buildings and minimises friction without impeding the movement of people because of its precise and fast authentication. 

The Rock is designed to be easy to deploy on any access control system, providing an enterprise-grade security solution to protect businesses, people and assets.

How has the demand for biometrics changed as a result of the pandemic?

TD: The immediate benefit of biometrics as a result of the pandemic is that the technology can reduce shared touchpoints. Almost all physical access control companies are working to either create or integrate touchless authentication into their systems. What was once seen as a nice-to-have or complementary feature for a security system is now a must-have in high demand.

The benefits of biometric-based access control systems are beyond that of simply adding touchless authentication – they can also provide an added layer of security. The Alcatraz Rock was purposefully designed to be touchless, allowing for a safe and sanitary user experience. Our technology can also detect whether or not a user is wearing a mask and can then, if necessary, restrict entry to match pre-existing COVID-19 protocols.

One of the challenges with bringing workers back into workspaces is controlling access – including the creation of controlled or separate entrances and exits – monitoring who has access into facilities and even dividing work areas into zones to limit large numbers of people congregating. The Alcatraz AI Rock provides effective access control for the new normal world. Alcatraz AI is reimagining the way you enter secured spaces using your face as your credential. 

What is the difference between cloud and on-prem deployment?

TD: Alcatraz AI is the next generation touchless access control solution that futureproofs physical security while decreasing friction. The Alcatraz Rock is designed to offer enterprise-grade touchless access control in single-factor (face) and dual-factor (face and badge) hybrid mode, keeping buildings in compliance. With customisable hosting options, Alcatraz AI can support any organisation’s IT requirements with cloud, on-prem and air-gapped architectures:

  • Cloud: For a quick and simple installation, let Alcatraz AI host and manage the Alcatraz Platform in their secure cloud infrastructure. 
  • On-Prem: Bring the Alcatraz Platform into your IT infrastructure. For customers who want to host and manage their own infrastructure without any need for internet access, Alcatraz AI offers an On-Prem solution that can be provided on a pre-loaded Appliance or installed in the customer’s cloud or virtual machine environment running Windows Server 2019 or Linux (CentOS / RHEL).

Regardless of the architecture chosen, all processing for authentications and alerts happens on the edge (in the device) and is then sent to the Alcatraz Platform for easy profile management and storage. Both architectures are the same in terms of functionality and feature sets.

Can you tell us about some of your latest projects/installations?

ZG: We’ve worked on lots of exciting projects since offices have been reopening and adjusting to post-COVID-19 life. In the last year, we’ve installed hundreds of sensors across three continents, seven countries, and approximately ten cities. So far, the most popular tech has been focused on occupancy sensors, air quality and security.

A big project we recently completed involved a multi-country installation for a global online money transfer company. We helped the customer transform its offices into smart buildings, enabling the safe return of staff back to the office. It was rewarding to witness how technology can give people the confidence to return to the workplace with ease.

TD: We have had an exciting year at Alcatraz! The Alcatraz Rock has been successfully deployed in financial institutions, data centres, utility and telecommunications settings, government facilities, stadiums, hospitals and high tech enterprises to protect employees, assets, data servers, customer information and more. We are here to help companies secure physical spaces, helping them confidently resume on-site operations; as well as helping BrainBox AI’s office to re-open by taking advantage of our robust identity and facemask verification solution, Los Angeles Football Club has deployed our facial authentication technology to replace or augment badges for physical security and access control.

What work is Switched On Space doing in the UK?

ZG: We are focused on building our brand in the UK and European markets. We aim to be the leading UK distributor and agent of commercial PropTech as well as becoming a PropTech thought-leader. eCommerce and social media platforms have taught us that understanding customers and user behaviour is the keys to driving value; in the physical space, we have made limited progress with this technology – Switched On Space is here to change that.

Our mission is to make our customer’s lives easier with great technology that they can trust. In order to achieve this, bolstering brand recognition – whilst also growing our product and partner portfolio – is key for us as a relatively new company on the scene. We will be working on our expansion and servicing our cohesive community of channel partners.

How will using tech get people back to work safely post-COVID-19?

ZG: In so many ways! Occupancy sensors play a crucial role in helping to predict office demand and manage overcrowded spaces. Smart cleaning is enabled through using occupancy data; this means that cleaning staff are alerted to high traffic locations and can then be provided guidance on how frequently areas need to be disinfected.

Air quality monitoring records CO2, TVOC and much more to indicate the health of your indoor spaces whilst providing real time data on how to improve ventilation. Additionally, security solutions using AI and facial authentication are inherently frictionless and touchless.

TD: Touchless access control solutions have been, and continue to be, a major trend in physical security and visitor management as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers across the globe. Not only do we offer touchless authentication that creates less touchpoints when entering a controlled space, our long scanning range and large field of view features can effectively detect tailgating and send real time alerts and notifications to ACS/VMS. 

Which vertical sectors are Switched On Space targeting?

ZG: Switched On Space is targeting a wide variety of sectors including universities and educational institutions, financial services, healthcare, government, stadiums and arenas and general security settings. We believe that our tech offers unique and high-impact solutions to this rich cross-section of environments, reshaping the way in which they improve physical security. Over time, these clients become more sophisticated as their understanding of these new data pools grows.

It is important to note however that we don’t like limiting our customers or end users; we believe that the technology on offer can be adopted and integrated into any business of any size. We train, learn and engage with our product partners so we can expertly pass this knowledge on to whoever may want to switch on their space. If technology has no limit, why should we?

What plans have you got for this partnership over the next 12 months?

TD: Improve overall security systems in properties all over the UK as well as throughout Europe. Together we bring new technologies to create smart buildings!

ZG: We will be continuing to work together to broaden awareness of AI facial authentication and access control, specifically in the UK and European markets. We also plan to have more of a presence at industry events together; networking, collaborating and educating people on the value of AI. We believe educating and familiarising people with the technology available is the crucial first step to achieving widespread utilisation. In this vein, we would like to co-host informative webinars with Alcatraz, educating all about our best-in-class technology and innovative security solutions.

We’re excited about nurturing and developing our partnership whilst discovering what our shared future of PropTech will look like!

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This article was originally published in the December edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, visit:

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