William Saito is a previous Japanese cybersecurity expert, strategic and political advisor and Japanese-American entrepreneur. He became involved with computer programming at the age of ten. His first software firm was established in his dorm room in college. The company was called I/O Software and led to authentication tools including fingerprint recognition. He was honored as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1998. William Saito is the author of An Unprogrammed Life. The book is about the development of his business and trying to succeed in the tech world of the 1980’s. He writes about his excitement when his parents gave him an IBM computer. His curiosity caused him to take the computer apart and he learned how to put it back together. William Saito learned computer programming techniques and accepted an internship with Merrill Lynch. The skills he learned were the beginning of his professional career.
Once William Saito graduated college he focused on I/O. His work with Sony was responsible for Microsoft’s acquisition of I/O early in the 2000’s. He got the idea for fingerprinting from a high resolution camera. Sony believed his idea would work for office door locks and security controls for computers. He began work on a PC based thumbprint scanner. This was an exciting and novel concept for the world of tech at this time. The project presented a challenge due to the large amount of data contained in each fingerprint. This made fingerprint comparisons on a large scale impossible. This was when a way to extract just the main fingerprint features was developed by I/O. This reduced the complexity and simplified the process of recognition. The processing time was also substantially shortened.
Willian Saito’s work enabled Sony to develop a portable, quiet and small fingerprint scanner. The scanner used the I/O recognition software. The scanner was called Puppy due to a member of the team’s love for dogs. The idea William Saito had for a fingerprint scanner was incredibly successful. His invention was responsible for him receiving an award for Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997. His invention made biometric data collection software possible. This thumbprint scanner is currently used by the majority of smartphones. The collaboration with Sony accelerated the reputation of I/O as a security company.