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Home Office approves Innovative Technology trial


The Home Office has approved a trial of Innovative Technology’s age verification tech for the sale of alcohol in shops.

The Oldham company, which provides a range of biometric solutions to estimate age will take part in a Sandbox trial running until May.

Running alongside human checks, the tech will be used to help retailers stop selling alcohol to anyone underage.

“We are delighted to be accepted into the UK Government Sandbox scheme and see all our hard work undertaken over the past few months come to fruition,” explained Dr. Andrew O’Brien, ICU Product Manager.

“Our team have liaised with local licensing authorities, local police officers and local councils to ensure our solution (ICU) is both safe, legal and meets the criteria of the scheme. ICU age verification technology will now be piloted in several convenience stores in the Northwest of England, and we will closely monitor our test sites to ensure we support the retailers’ and collate the relevant data throughout the trial.”

The system performs anonymous age estimation offline, which means that no images or data are stored. According to tests by the Age Check Certification Service (ACCS) it underestimates age by only 0.19 years.

“Facial analysis software essentially uses different features of a customer’s face to evaluate and establish their age,” added Tony Allen, Founder and Chief Executive of ACCS

“The technology behind the ICU age verification device earned independent recognition from the ACCS during a series of accuracy tests which took place in April 2021, concluding that their solution is fit for deployment in a Challenge 25 policy area.”

The trial comes after the British Retail Consortium said it had seen a 76% rise in abuse to staff during the pandemic, citing identity checks as a trigger point.

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