Installation Guides Are Key Documents For Biometric Software Deployments

The Importance of the Software Installation Phase

In the world of software, few things are more important than following directions when you are in the installation phase.  In the world of biometric software, following installation instructions can make or break your experience and the overall functionality of the system.  As biometric software and hardware providers, M2SYS Technology has  gone to great lengths to ensure that our installation guides are clear, easy to understand and comprehensive without being overwhelming and confusing.  Even though we try our best to be clear and succinct with our instructions, we still run across end users who contact us for support that have not fully read the installation guides or followed the proper steps to successfully install our biometric software.  We are happy to help in any way we can, but also want to empower end users with information and knowledge to understand the installation process and create a smooth experience that could potentially be disrupted by snafus and problems which could otherwise be avoided.

Helpful Tips to Remember when Installing Biometric Hardware and Software

Software companies all have different methods of including instruction guides with their product for end users to follow during the installation process.  At M2SYS, we include our instructions and guidelines as a separate file on the installation CD.  Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin the installation process of M2SYS software and hardware:

1.       Software – Open the Installation Guide in a separate window and keep it open during the entire installation.  This may seem like a logical thing to do, but often times we speak with end users that never read the Installation Guide or know that the information it contains included FAQ’s and troubleshooting tips that would have helped them to rectify their issues without ever having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to our support team.

2.       Hardware – Follow the proper scanning procedures outlined in the “Use & Care” Guides included with the software shipment.  The “Use & Care” Guides that we send with each shipment includes vital information such as how to interpret biometric reader LED Displays and Beep Codes, proper scanning techniques to ensure creation of quality enrollment templates and subsequent scans for authentication, maintenance tips to maximize the lifespan of the reader and  troubleshooting tips/FAQ’s  that present methods for solving problems with the reader if they arise.

When is it a Good Idea to Throw in the Towel and Call Support?

If you have reached the point of no return, and have dutifully completed the installation process following the step by step instructions and guides that were provided yet something looks completely wrong, then it may be time to call or e-mail our support team for assistance.  As mentioned earlier, we stand ready to support our end users in any way we can to ensure software performance and your satisfaction.  One of the hallmarks of our mission at M2SYS is to bring long term value to our customers and provide excellence in all aspects of our business.  The significance of having a smooth and successful installation of our biometric hardware and software can not be overstated as it translates to overall performance and functionality.  We want your experience to be extraordinary, your long term return on investment in biometric technology to be high and your satisfaction to be positive.

How has empowering yourself through reading installation guides and documentation enhanced your experience?

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The Impact Of Biometric Technology On Accurate Patient Identification In Health Care

What’s Often Missing From The Health Care Debate

Flip on the TV set, turn on the radio or surf the Internet these days and it’s hard to not hear someone talking about or people debating the topic of rising health care costs in America.  Just this past spring, Congress passed a historic health care bill that promises sweeping changes in the industry to help drive down costs and make health care more accessible and affordable to people that live in this country.  For all of the talk about medical malpractice and practicing more efficient care, overhauling Medicare reimbursements, the effect of pre-existing conditions on the newly insured, the inability of insurance companies to cap lifetime benefits and many other topics, there is inadequate coverage of another very important topic that contributes to the rise of health care costs in this country – patient misidentification and health care identity fraud.

The Impact of Patient Misidentification and Health Care Identity Fraud

We have all heard the unbelievable stories about the individual who goes in for heart bypass surgery and ends up having a leg amputated.  Or the person who had their identity stolen by someone who racked up thousands of dollars of health care costs in their name.  We scratch our heads and wonder – how could something like this happen?  How could a hospital or medical facility patient identification system break down and fail causing something like this to happen?  Where were the checks and balances to prohibit this from happening?  Did you know it has been reported that over 195,000 deaths in the U.S. occur annually because of medical errors?  Of those, almost 60% were attributable to failure to identify the correct patient.  Furthermore, each year nearly 250,000 Americans may be victims of health care identity fraud and the Federal Trade Commission estimates that medical identity crimes may cost the U.S. economy $468 million per year.  It is also estimated that at least $55.6 billion of all health care spending is spent each year on the inter-related combination of medical liability litigation and defensive medicine.  The problem of patient misidentification and health care identity fraud are acute and exact a heavy toll on the health care infrastructure in this country.  So, what can be done?

Biometric Patient Identification Systems are the Solution

Accurate patient identification has been number one on the list of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ (JCAHO) Hospital National Patient Safety Goals since 2003.  The health care industry has long been searching for a patient identification system to ensure 100% accuracy, safeguard patient health and reduce hospital liability.  In response to this need, M2SYS Technology has developed RightPatient™ the industry’s first multi-modal , multi-factor biometric patient identification system.  Through the use of Hybrid Biometric Platform™, RightPatient™ is the only biometric patient identification solution that gives health care facilities the option to use four different forms of biometric technology individually or in conjunction with one another to guarantee patient ID success, all of the time.

RightPatient™ Features and Benefits

Due to the fact that biometric templates are unique to an individual, RightPatient™ prevents duplicate medical records by alerting health care officials when a person is already enrolled in the system which substantially lowers risk for the hospital.  RightPatient™ also seamlessly interfaces with a health care facilities’ Electronic Health Records/Electronic Medical Records (EHR/EMR) to automatically enter a patient identification number into a field when a biometric scan is performed working fluidly behind the scenes to quickly identify the patient and provide health care staff with quick and timely information.  The use of RightPatient™ accelerates the check-in and registration process, while completely eliminating language barriers.  Unconscious patients can also easily be identified and doctors are ensured that the right medication is administered to the right patient.

The Costs and Impact of NOT Implementing Biometric Technology

Health care facilities that delay implementing biometric identification systems such as RightPatient™ inevitably will end up incurring unintended additional costs for their hesitation to act.  Earlier we outlined the consequences  of inadequate patient identification systems and the expense and liability that it creates for health care facilities which are ultimately passed on to patients through increased costs for services, higher insurance rates and more expensive medicine.  Enacting a biometric patient identification system helps to keep aggregate costs lower for health care in this country and because installation and maintenance of the system is so easy and seamless, why wouldn’t you want to look into biometric technology for your health care facility?

What are some of the initiatives you are effectuating in your health care facility to ensure accurate patient identification?  Please share them with us!

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Biometric News Resources And Bloggers To Follow

Staying on top of the news in your field is hard work these days.  The Internet and other news sources have exploded with bloggers, pundits, sites and portals dedicated to covering every subject you could ever dream of.  With all of the information rushing at you and the seemingly thousands of choices available, how do you sift through the masses to find the news, research, opinion and commentaries that are the most relevant, balanced and fair for the subject matter that means the most to you?

Well, the truth is that everyone has their own opinion as to which resources are the most informative and personal preference of who to follow and what to read.  In the world of biometrics, here are some news sites, blogs and portals that we at M2SYS Technology like to read for up-to-date news and opinions:

News/Industry sites:

1.       findBiometrics – excellent resource for industry wide news, biometric applications and the products that serve the market, detailed biometric vendor information, interviews with key industry executives and much more.

2.       International Biometrics & Identification Association – trade association that provides a good background on biometric technology and industry news.

3.       The Biometric Consortium – strong resource for the pulse of biometric technology and its applications.  Also conducts a Conference each fall that brings together the world’s largest and most influential biometric technology providers.

4.       Planet Biometrics – A relatively new resource that covers biometric technology from a global perspective and offers coverage on a wide range of topics including applications, industry news and significant events and conferences.

5.       ThirdFactor – Well rounded biometrics news information site that includes videos and podcasts in addition to its comprehensive coverage of the industry.

Bloggers:

The truth is there are hardly any independent, non-biased individuals that blog about biometric technology.  Of the handful that does, here are a few we recommend:

1.       Ravi Das – Biometrics Security News and Information – His blog posts are lengthy, but Ravi knows the industry and he knows it well.  What we like about Ravi’s blog posts is that they are frequent, keep up with current biometric news and trends, and use real life examples of how biometric technology can and will change people’s lives.

2.       PrivacyDigest.com – Reports on a wide variety of technology and events around the world that impact individual privacy and civil liberties.  Occasionally reports on biometric technology and good to read from the perspective of understanding how misunderstood biometrics really is.

3.       Retail Technology Blog – Weblog focusing on technology applications in the retail sector. Covers Retail News, Research, Case Studies.  Topics covered include POS, Biometrics, Web 2.0, Store Systems, Multi-Channeling, Retailer News, Indian Retail, Wal-Mart, RFID, Supply chain etc.

4.       Ms. Smith – Privacy and Security Fanatic – Another blog that covers technology in the government and private enterprise and the effect it has on individual privacy.  Most of the bloggers opinions are a bit over the top but it’s an interesting blog to read and see firsthand how misunderstandings of technology can accentuate the spread of false information, rumors and ideas.

5.       M2SYS Technology – Have to give ourselves a plug here for the biometric blog content we provide which is dynamic and comprehensive.  We generate blog posts on biometric technology applications in several different vertical markets as well as explanations of commonly used biometric terms and quizzes on your knowledge of biometrics.  A must read!

We will have another blog post soon about who to follow on Twitter for up to date, informative and interesting tweets about the biometric industry.  Oh, and if you would like to follow M2SYS on Twitter, please click here for a link to our profile.

What biometric web and print resources do you use?  Which blogs do you follow?  Please share them with us in the comments section below.

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Biometric Solutions In The Retail Point Of Sale (POS) Environment

POS Software Must Be Agile, Accurate and Secure

Modern day retail point of sale software systems have come a long way over the years.  Transactional complexities and nuances of the retail industry requires sophisticated technology that performs a myriad of functions and most importantly, assures that safety, security, accountability, reliability and accuracy are paramount.  The fast paced world of today’s POS environments demands user-friendly software that can handle transactions with agility to maximize profits without sacrificing precision.  Every second and every penny counts within POS systems and end users want to have the faith and peace of mind that the technology they use is going to ensure maximum returns on investment (ROI) and build sustainable profit margins while at the same time minimizing fraud and waste.

How Biometric Technology Can Help POS Establishments

More and more retailers and restaurants are turning to hybrid biometric technology as a trusted component of their POS systems to meet the strenuous demands of the industry and incorporate secure systems that hedge against losses by boosting accuracy and security for transactions.  Fingerprint recognition has become the mainstream biometric modality of many POS systems but as biometric technology has evolved, many end users are choosing biometric readers such as finger vein, palm vein and iris recognition as their modality of choice due to the inherent benefits that are included such as lower False Acceptance and False Rejection Rates.  What are some of the driving forces behind the migration to biometric technology from the POS perspective?  Let’s examine a few:

#1 – Loss Prevention - Although retailers like to believe in the honesty and integrity of their workforce, there is a need to adopt modern POS loss prevention technologies that will safeguard a business, curb fraud and maximize profits.  There have been countless news stories and reports of retailers being scammed and ripped off from unscrupulous employees through false returns, phony transactions and antiquated POS systems which allow for loopholes to fraudulent transactions.  Have you ever caught an employee or a group of employees who collaborate on ways to trick and fool your current POS system where they simply pocket the proceeds or intentionally skim or siphon money from the top?  Maybe you have adopted swipe cards as a security measure only to learn of employees sharing cards and using them for corrupt purposes.  Biometrics adds a layer of security to your POS system by ensuring that only one individual can access their own account and must be physically present when executing transactions, eliminating barcode card swapping or sharing of ID #’s while establishing a concrete audit trail.

#2 – Workforce Management – Biometrics can also be used to capture critical employee time and attendance data providing a much more affordable alternative than a wall mounted time clock and maximized security over card scanning systems.  If you have hourly employees and straightforward time calculations, leveraging biometrics to ensure data accuracy and eliminate buddy punching is an important step in establishing more efficient workforce management practices.

#3 – Elimination of Card Scanning and PIN #’s – As mentioned earlier, biometric technology eliminates the need for card scanning or entering PIN#’s.  Magnetic stripe cards or barcode cards can be shared which promotes fraudulent or nefarious activity.  They can also be lost which incurs an expense and waste of resources to manufacture a replacement card, or forgotten entirely creating unnecessary misspent resources and productivity interruptions.  If you have a PIN # policy in place, chances are that employees regularly forget their PIN #’s, creating unnecessary work for your IT help desk  who have to frequently reset the pass codes.  In fact, a recent report by Gartner Research claimed that as much as 40% of an IT help desk’s time is spent resetting pass codes for employees.  Imagine the productivity increases if you could eliminate that time drain completely and allocate those resources elsewhere.  Biometrics affords that opportunity by removing  the need for password management and allowing POS establishments to focus on their core competencies.

Biometric POS Software Systems are Affordable and Proven

The initial reaction to implementing a biometric POS software system is that it is not affordable.  It costs too much, hasn’t been around long enough to be a proven benefit and no one has a positive experience from the technology.  In reality, biometric technology is very affordable since its applications have become much more mainstream and more POS businesses are taking advantage of unique biometric technology characteristics that set it apart from other technologies like RFID, barcode cards or PIN #’s.  In addition, many businesses have used biometric technology successfully and proven its worth through tangible returns on investment (ROI).  The first step in determining whether a biometric POS system will help you eliminate fraud and waste while increasing security and accountability is to evaluate your needs and then talk to a professional for guidance on what system is the right one for you and how much that will cost.  We are here for you.  Reach out and let us know how we can help.

How can implementing biometric point of sale software help you?

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Detailed Answers To Our Biometric True/False Quiz On Facebook

Thank you for taking our 1st Biometric True/False quiz on our Facebook page!  If you have stumbled on this blog post and have yet to take the quiz, please point your browser to this link: http://apps.facebook.com/fanappz/quiz/take?id=3340 and then return to our blog for detailed explanations of why a question is “true” or “false.”

This quiz will be the first in a series of quizzes to test your knowledge on biometrics while giving you a slice of education on the topic at the same time.  We welcome any suggestions or ideas for quiz topics, questions to include or any other feedback on the quiz.  Hey, just get in touch with us if you want to shoot the breeze.

So without further adieu, here are the detailed answers to our 1st “Biometrics True/False” quiz:

1. True or False – When my biometric template is created, an image is stored somewhere that a criminal can steal.

Answer – False.

At the time of enrollment in a biometric system, the template of your biometric identity (fingerprint, fingervein, palm vein, iris pattern, etc.) is stored on a computer server as an encrypted mathematical algorithm which is nearly impossible to be stolen and reverse engineered.

2. True or False – It is easy for someone to fake my fingerprint and fool a biometric reader to think it’s me.

 

Answer – False

A biometric fingerprint is nearly impossible to replicate.  The sophistication of the encryption technology and the security measures built into the software render it nearly impossible to be replicated or “tricked” by a criminal.

3.  True or False – Palm vein readers and iris recognition have lower False Acceptance Rates than fingerprint readers.

 

Answer – True

“False Acceptance Rates” (FAR) are defined as the measure of the likelihood that a biometric security system will incorrectly accept an access attempt by an unauthorized user.  Both fingervein (0.0001%) and palm vein (0.00008%) biometric technology have significantly lower FAR’s than fingerprint recognition (.0042% for the M2SYS Easy-Scan fingerprint reader).

4.  True or False – Scanning your finger or palm thorough a biometric vein scanner causes cancer.

 

 

Answer – False

Scanning your finger or palm through a biometric vein scanner does not cause cancer from the near infrared light that is used to create the image of your vein pattern.  In fact, infrared light is used in some settings to heal cancer patients and treat many common ailments (joint aches, neck pain, osteoarthritis, muscle aches, etc) through its phototherapy characteristics.  Only strong infrared radiation in certain industry high heat settings may constitute a health hazard to the eyes and vision, the extremely small amount of near infrared light generated to scan your finger or palm is in no way hazardous to your health.

5.  True or False – Your biometric information can be shared or automatically confiscated by the FBI.

 

Answer – False

Currently, there is no federal law, mandate, doctrine, decree or directive that would allow the FBI to access any database which contains biometric template information.  Biometric software is proprietary in nature, therefore it can only be recognized within the manufacturer’s system in a closed environment, which means that the template can only be used within that manufacturer’s system and nowhere else.

6.  True or False – Most problems with the implementation and use of biometrics is due to a lack of proper training or education.

 

Answer – True

Surprisingly to most, the majority of issues and difficulties that arise from using biometrics are due to inefficient training and education on how to properly install, utilize and maintain the biometric system.  It is generally assumed that if there is a problem with biometric software or hardware, it lies within the program or device but in actuality the problem more often is due to an end user not following installation instructions or not properly maintaining their hardware to set it up properly and maximize its lifespan.

7.  True or False – A biometric system will not work for 100% of our population.

 

Answer – True

Due to the variances that exist in an individual’s skin condition, the  fingerprint biometric modality may not be the single solution for an end user using a biometric solution for a particular need.  Skin conditions vary according to climate, ethnicity, race and work environments and may make it difficult for one biometric modality to be used effectively for an entire population.  That’s why it’s important to deploy a biometric engine such as the M2SYS Hybrid Biometric Platform that allows you to run multiple biometric modalities off of the same server at the same time.  For example, with Hybrid Biometric Platform you can use a fingerprint scanner for individuals with normal skin conditions and simultaneously have a fingervein or palm vein reader plugged into the same PC or laptop for those individuals with dry, damaged or cracked skin.

8.  True or False – – I can’t afford a biometric system, it’s too expensive.

 

Answer – False

The Return On Investment (ROI) achieved from using biometrics such as increased security, efficiency and productivity should be factored into your decision to invest in a biometric system, not simply what the upfront cost may be.

9.  True or False – 195,000+ annual U.S. deaths are due to medical errors- 60% were failure to correctly identify the patient.

 

 

Answer – True

More and more hospitals, health care facilities and Doctor’s offices are adopting biometric technology to ensure 100% accuracy in the identification of their patients to prevent tragedies like this from occurring.  In addition, biometric technology in a health care setting helps significantly reduce the estimated 250,000 Americans each year who are victims of healthcare identity fraud which costs the U.S. economy approximately $468 million each year.

10.   True or False – Fingerprint identification methodology has been around since the 19th century.

 

 

Answer – True

Sir Francis Galton, the British scientist and mathematician developed the first fingerprint identification methodology in 1892.

So how did you do on the quiz?  Was it helpful?

 

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