A company which has created software that identifies individuals using their heartbeat has won a £3.5m investment.
B-Secur has developed and patented mechanics needed to recognise a person by their heartbeat pattern - known as an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Now, the company has won a £3.5m investment made up of £1.5m from Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), £0.75m from the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) and the remainder from private investors. B-Secur provides biometric security solutions to customers in the UK, Ireland and US across many sectors, including the automotive industry, financial services, buildings and healthcare.
It was set up in 2002 by Colin Anderson OBE, the boss of Belfast-based marketing services agency ASG and Partners.
B-Secur is also headquartered in Belfast, where it has built up a strong partnership with the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's University Belfast.
The development of its new ECG software is a move forward for the biometrics industry - expected to be worth over $35bn by 2021.
B-Secur's ECG biometric authentication technology marks progress on the first generation of biometrics - which used fingerprint, iris or voice recognition.
It's hoped the system will be able to minimise hacking risks.
Alan Foreman, the chief executive of B-Secur, said the investment comes as companies seek increasingly advanced security solutions.
"This announcement underscores the growing demand from organisations to provide better security to their customers in this digital world, amid an escalation in high-profile cyber attacks.
"I believe that our ECG authentication technology is crucial to supporting this global challenge," he said.
Michael Dimelow, head of investment at ADV, said he was excited to be part of the development. "In a world where security and personal identity are central to accessing a range of online digital services, B-Secur's technology harnesses the unique power of the human heartbeat to unlock everything from finance to healthcare, from cars to buildings."
Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital, said B-Secur is among the companies in Northern Ireland pushing next-generation security to the fore.
She said: "B-Secur has a strong management and technical team which has developed a new high performance, patent-protected, heartbeat signature-based biometric authentication product.
"With Northern Ireland rapidly becoming a key location on the global cybersecurity stage, we believe B-Secur will play a significant role in the global development of next generation security systems as the company gains market share in financial services, access control and beyond."
Colin Anderson said: "The greatest challenge in business is taking the germ of an idea and bringing it to fruition.
"In 2002, we were way ahead of our time, and it's taken a while and significant personal investment to germinate, but the idea is now ready to blossom."