Would you be Willing to Participate in A Tweet Chat on #Biometric Technology?

Take our LinkedIn poll on whether you would like to participate in a weekly or bi-weekly tweet chat about biometric technology.

Tweet Chat on Biometric Technology

Anyone who is a Twitter veteran or even if you are a novice has probably heard of a Tweet Chat.  Tweet Chats are pre-arranged chats that happen on Twitter through the use of Twitter updates (aka tweets) that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation.  They have caught on like wildfire across the Twittersphere and have proven to be an excellent forum to discuss just about any topic that surrounds their customized theme.

We are conducting a poll to see if there is enough interest in establishing a Tweet Chat weekly or once every two weeks to discuss biometric technology.  The idea is to bring together industry professionals, journalists, advocates, end users, academics, and anyone else who wants to join in on the conversation about the subject.  The forum will be a chance to share and educate with ideas, best practices, opinions, predictions, news, and points of view.  Each chat, there will be a topic of discussion to guide the conversation in a targeted direction and a list of questions distributed prior to the chat so that participants can review and prepare themselves for the discussion.  In addition, once a month we will add a guest to the format and prepare a series of questions for the guest to answer with the opportunity for participants to chime in with their own answers and opinions as well.

The chat will be centered on bringing people together for insightful and valuable discussions and we expect every participant to be respectful and courteous.  We will also make every attempt to schedule the chat at a time that is convenient and can include participants from all parts of the globe but it may be virtually impossible to schedule a chat that is convenient for everyone.

Please click here for a link to the poll.

Africa is Leveraging Biometric Technology to their Advantage

biometric technology deployments on the African continent

Africa

A story popped up on the news wire today that caught our eye and got us thinking.  The story, “Techno Brain deploys gov’t info kiosks in Tanzania” reports that Tanzanians who are eligible for Social Security funds can now, “have the freedom to gain access to their account details and conduct transactions in both in English and Swahili…” through a new kiosk located all regional social security offices.  In addition, social security recipients can also set appointments with inspectors through the kiosk, something that previously had required citizens to wait in long lines to accomplish.  Fingerprint biometric identification was built into the kiosk architecture to help prevent fraud and protect user privacy.

This is yet another example of a country in Africa who is leveraging biometric technology to their advantage.  Although we could not definitively determine exact statistics that confirms Africa leads the rest of the world in biometric technology deployments, outside of the recent UID project launched in India, the biometric news feeds are dominated with stories about how African countries are leveraging biometrics to combat fraud, protect data, stop waste, manage complex political processes, boost security, and many other applications.

While it may be too early to tell what type of affect that biometric applications have on raising African standards of living, it has definitely proven to be an effective tool to stem the tide of some widespread fraud, corruption and waste that was characteristic of many countries throughout the continent.  It remains clear that there is a strong willingness among African citizens to participate in biometric identification deployments for the sake of improving their living standards and less concern about what possible implications using biometrics could have on their privacy rights.

Expect to see more future applications of biometric technology throughout the African continent as they continue to see success and learn from their mistakes to make the necessary adjustments that will improve performance down the road.

Do you feel that Africa has done a good job of leveraging biometric technology to their advantage?

Mizan Rahman, Founder and CEO of M2SYS Speaking at 2011 Biometrics Exhibition and Conference

Biometric technology

Mizan Rahman, Founder and CEO of M2SYS Technology

Mizan Rahman, Founder and CEO of M2SYS Technology will be speaking at the 2011 Biometrics Exhibiton and Conference, held in Westminster, London UK from October 18 – 20.   The Conference assembles some of the world’s leading experts in biometric technology to discuss its use in commercial and governmental applications.  A list of the speakers and the topics they will be discussing can be found here.

Mizan will be providing a global perspective about the maturity of biometrics in the commercial marketplace, sharing his experience on developing applications that adapt to various externalities that exist in different countries stemming from cultural, political and social conditions and variances.  With experience developing biometric applications that are now being used in almost 100 countries on all corners of the globe, Mizan is honored to have the opportunity to share his knowledge and engage with other Conference attendees to learn about their experiences.

If you are a biometrics professional looking to expand your knowledge of the market and interact with some of the brightest minds in the industry, this conference is a must attend event.  Many thanks to Mark Lockie (on twitter as @Biometric_Man) and his team at Planet Biometrics for hosting the conference and assembling such an impressive speaker list and agenda.

Will you be attending the Conference?  Please drop us a note so we can make arrangements to meet!


It Takes a Few Seconds to Lose Billions – the Numbers Tell the Story

Labor tracking is a good way to assess employee time theftThe problem of employee time theft and how to rectify it is starting to gain traction with employers across the world.  As we pointed out in a recent White paper about eliminating time theft and increasing profits with PC-based biometrics, employee theft directly causes 1/3 of all corporate bankruptcies in the U.S. and of the many ways that employees bilk their employers, time theft is often considered one of the most preventable.  In a fiercely competitive global economy where employee efficiency and productivity are often key catalysts in the success or failure of a business, this is a particularly important subject to understand and address.

At its core, time theft doesn’t appear to be an overly egregious violation.  An employee shows up a few minutes late for work, takes 2 extra minutes for lunch or on a scheduled break each day and no one notices or really cares.  After all, what’s a couple of minutes of lost time going to mean in the grand scheme of things, especially if they work for a company that realizes billions of dollars per year in revenue?  Breaking down the numbers can provide a closer look at how much a few seconds or a few minutes can add up over the long term, as reported in our White paper:

“Employees taking lunch breaks just 15 minutes past their allotted time can equate to about an extra day of vacation per month, every month.”

“If every employee in a 100 employee organization took a 15 minute extended lunch each day, that would equal 1,200 free vacation days per year.”

Plugging holes in internal infrastructure can also help stop profits from bleeding due to employee time losses.  If an organization uses manual login procedures, entering a personal identification number (PIN) can take a few minutes each day if you add up clocking in/out with lunch and regularly scheduled breaks.  We estimated that for a company with 150 employees, this can translate into 18.5 days lost each month due to manual login procedures.

Cal Poly Pomona University recently switched over to using a PC-based biometric time and attendance interface and estimated that it saved their employees at least 2-3 minutes per day and boosted productivity significantly.

If you have not had the opportunity to review our White paper, it’s an easy read and will leave you smarter about the topic of strategies to eliminate time theft and boost employee productivity and accountability. The numbers tell the story.

What other strategies have you used to help lower time lost for your employees that have been successful?

You Can’t Leave Your Fingers at Home

ACS church management software check-in with the M2-EasyScan Reader

Please enjoy this guest blog post from ACS Technologies, a M2SYS partner who provides excellence in information management solutions for the faith-based community.

This post was written by Eleanor Pierce, Communications Strategist at ACS Technologies.  A link to the ACS Community Blog page can be found here.

 

 

 

Imagine the rush of people at check-in before church services on a Sunday morning. Hundreds of families, all trying to move through the process as quickly as possible so they’re not the one trying to sneak in after the sermon has already started. Today’s churches are looking for anything that can a) speed the process of checking kids in and b) assure the security of kids and c) create accurate attendance records and pickup lists.

Checking-in 350 kids in 10 minutes

Northwoods Community Church in Peoria, Ill., checks in about 800 kids every weekend, between its four services at two different campuses.

“For our 11 o’clock service, it’s probably close to 350,” said Jason Lee, Information Technology Director at the church. “We’re trying to process that many children in, let’s say a 10 minute window.” Creating a smooth check-in experience isn’t optional, it’s necessary.

“People don’t come early just to check in. We needed to create something that accommodates the attendees, because we could say sure, we’ll just put in one kiosk, but you’ve got to come 30 minutes early to church to check in,” Jason said—but of course, that approach wouldn’t won’t work for the attendees.

That’s why Northwoods has several self-check-in stations that use biometric technology. There’s a guest services desk for those who are not yet in the church’s database, or those who have brought a child that’s a guest, perhaps a cousin or neighbor. For those who are already entered in the system, there are stations where parents can check-in their kids quickly and easily, using a biometric scanner.

The preregistration requirement allows the Northwoods staff to be sure they know the kids who are being checked in and to assure that parents have signed any release forms. Once the paperwork has been handled, staff help parents pre-scan their finger so that they’re entered into the M2SYS system.

Returning parents who have been entered into the system can check-in at an express kiosk. “They walk up, scan their finger, and then it comes up and displays all the children in their family that can be checked in,” Jason explained.

Using the finger scanner with parents instead of the kids assures that parents are actually dropping their kids off in person, rather than just pulling up their cars out front and letting their child come inside alone.  While it might save a parent time, Northwoods doesn’t like the safety issues for kids younger than 5th grade.

One key benefit to biometric scanners is that there’s no way to forget what you need to check in.

“You could use a barcode, any sort of RFID, but you can forget those at home,” Jason said, “But it’s pretty challenging to forget your fingers unless you get in a fight with a lawnmower.”

Midwest dry skin = tough-to-capture fingerprints

Northwoods initially used a fingerprint scanner, but tough Midwestern weather means that there can be problems getting a good fingerprint. One problem is that cold winters and dry air can make fingerprints difficult to capture. Also, people who work outside and have calloused hands just might not have a good fingerprint at all. For that reason, Northwoods is in the process of transitioning to finger vein scanners for all check-in. They’ve already begun using the new scanners at one of their satellite campuses, and they’re getting ready to move the 1,500 parents who have been entered into their system using finger prints to re-scan using finger veins.

“The scanners are easier to use, the technology is not environmentally dependent, and it’s very accurate,” Jason said. While testing the machines with his own hand, he tried to create an error.

“I tried to get my finger to scan wrong, and unless I turned my finger sideways, it worked,” he said.

A real partnership

One aspect he’s been very happy with is the working relationship between ACS Technologies and M2SYS. Northwoods uses M2SYS in conjunction with its ACS Technolgies check-in software. It’s a totally integrated system that helps the church keep track of the families that attend the chuch.

“It’s nice to have a partner. That ACS Technologies said M2SYS is good, go work with them, and it’s not some just random third party that we’ve picked up off the shelf, that’s key for us; knowing that we have the support and backing of ACS Technologies and that they have the backing and support of M2SYS.”

Jason Lee also writes a blog called “Bytes about bits in church IT”