M2SYS Releases White Paper on Using Biometric Technology To Eliminate Time Theft, Tighten Compliance

RightPunch soft clock for time and attendance

RightPunch soft clock custom employee time and attendance data interface

We are proud to announce that we have recently released a free white paper entitled: “Eliminating Time Theft, Establishing Accountability and Increasing Productivity with Biometric Technology.”  This  white paper begins with a look at the problems lack of employee accountability creates for a business and how it negatively impacts efficiency and profitability.  It then examines the increasing problem of employee time theft (offering in depth look at actual examples like extended lunch breaks, lollygagging, etc.) and how it impacts a businesses bottom line, causing billions of dollars of losses each year.  The white paper then studies limitations that traditional employee time and attendance methods pose including; sharing personal identification numbers (PIN’s), replacing stolen or lost employee ID badges, cost of resetting passwords and more.  We then explore monetary and productivity losses from inefficient payroll techniques including detailed charts and graphs that break down the numbers and present alarming statistics on just much these factors can drain profitability.

The white paper then discusses the positive impact that biometric identification technology has on employee time and attendance providing concrete examples on realized monetary savings and the direct links of adopting biometrics to increase risk mitigation.  Next we break down the different biometric modalities (fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein and iris recognition) providing the benefits of each as well as a detailed modality usability and accuracy chart.  We finish up the white paper by comparing a PC-based biometric “soft” clock with a wall mounted biometric time clock.

We hope that this white paper is helpful for our readers to gain a more thorough understanding about the value of biometric technology for time and attendance and the advantages that it brings compared to other more traditional forms of employee identification.  Please fill out the contact form on the right if you would like to receive a copy of the white paper, or click on this link:

http://m2sys.com/eliminate-time-theft-with-biometrics-white-paper.htm

Thank you for sharing this post with anyone that you feel may benefit!

Biometric Modalities: What makes a “Good Biometric?”

The ear as a biometric identifierThe following is a guest post from Jason Hodge, Vice President of Business Development for SecurLinx.  SecurLinx specializes in networked biometric deployments and multi-modal biometric integration.  You can read more about biometric technology on the SecurLinx blog which can be found at http://securlinx.blogspot.com/

Iris, Retina, Face, Fingerprint, Finger vein, Palm geometry, Palm vein, gait, ear, DNA, body odor, voice, typing rhythm, signature recognition.  The range of human physical traits and behaviors offers fertile ground for scientists interested in quantifying them for use in identifying individuals.

Two main forces have influenced the selection of biometric identification modality from the near limitless choices: Convenience and Necessity.

Face and fingerprint have been by far the most convenient from both scientific and deployment perspectives.

Scientists need data to develop the algorithms that biometric systems use to identify individuals.  For face and finger, data was never a problem.  Bureaucracies have been collecting both for a century.

In deployment, it’s easy and convenient for participating individuals to interact with the technology.

Necessity, playing its usual role, has driven the development of other biometric modalities.  From a development perspective, given enough data, time and money, I suspect any definable aspect of the human anatomy could be used as a biometric identifier.

In instances where teeth are all that is known about an individual, they are used for high confidence identification.

As long as the telephone is with us as a ubiquitous communication tool, there will be significant demand for voice recognition no matter the challenges.

In order to displace finger/hand and face/eye biometrics in wide scale deployments, the newer biometric modalities will have to out-compete them on two levels, in the lab and in the market.  But in order to thrive as high value-added tools in highly specialized deployments they just need to help solve a high value problem.

Any biometric modality can be useful, especially if it’s the only one available.

Jason can be reached at Mail: blog@securlinx.com Twitter: @SecurLinx URL: www.securlinx.com

Mizan Rahman Recognized as 2011 Technology Innovator by InfoWorld

Earlier last week, Mizan Rahman (M2SYS CEO/CTO) was recognized by InfoWorld as a 2011 Technology Leader for creating Hybrid Biometric Platform, a multi-modal biometrics system that supports fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein and iris recognition. Details of the award and information about why Mizan created Hybrid Biometric Platform can be found here:

http://bit.ly/mKG569

We are proud that Mizan was recognized as a Technology Innovator for creating Hybrid Biometric Platform, a true testament to the will, creativity and hard work that Mizan injected into the project and the biometric software engine that resulted. Mizan is honored and humbled by the recognition from InfoWorld and even more pleased that many of our customers are actually using Hybrid Biometrics and reaping the vision that Mizan had for this system.

Congratulations Mizan!

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Use Biometric Technology

Despite the numerous benefits that biometric technology brings to the table for the many vertical markets that it serves, there are some reasons to NOT use biometric identification technology.  May seem strange for a biometric software developer to be listing reasons to not use their technology, but bear with us as we explain some reasons that biometrics just may not be the technology that can help your business.

 

Reason #1 – You do not understand how biometric technology works.

We will be the first to tell you that if you have not done your homework and proper due diligence on how biometric technology works and which software and hardware application is best suited for your business then it probably is not a good idea to use it.  As with any investment in technology, businesses should spend time researching options, asking questions, reading case studies, engaging with others that currently use the technology, and evaluating long term return on investment (ROI) potential.

After completing adequate research, you may find that biometrics is not best suited for your needs.  However most businesses discover that when weighed against the alternatives, biometrics is usually the most efficient and secure identification technology that offers the highest potential for maximum ROI.

Reason #2 – You think that biometric technology is a passing fad that will soon be replaced with yet another more technologically advanced identification.

The simple truth is that biometric identification technology is here to stay and will be around for a long time to come.  Whether it’s for time and attendance/workforce management, healthcare, banking, membership management, public safety or point of sale biometrics has continued to spread throughout many vertical markets and is increasingly recognized for the many benefits that it brings to businesses and governments that use it.  Furthermore, the global biometric market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% through 2013.

Biometrics is the only identification technology that can verify with near absolute certainty the identity of an individual.  As word spreads of the tangible benefits that biometrics offers and the truth about how the technology works becomes more understood, expect to see more deployments for businesses that wish to invest in a technology that establishes the efficiencies that they expect.

Reason #3 – You like losing 2 – 4% of your payroll each year to payroll error rates and time theft.

Employee time theft costs U.S. employers hundreds of billions of dollars per year and among the most egregious of time theft practices is buddy punching.  Buddy punching is a preventable facet of time theft and biometric technology is the perfect solution, eliminating the ability of employees to clock in and out for a colleague and significantly increasing productivity as a result.  Plus, biometrics is more secure and efficient than ID cards or personal identification numbers (PINs), helps to save the environment and ensures compliance with labor tracking laws.

Reason #4 – Security and safety of your employees is of no concern.

One of the major problems that barcode ID cards and PINs present is that they can be swapped, shared or stolen.  For example, barcode cards can be stolen and used for unauthorized access to secure areas of a business, jeopardizing the safety of other employees and acting as a catalyst for theft of merchandise, information or other assets.  Biometrics relies on human physiological characteristics for identification which can’t be swapped, shared or stolen creating a more safe and secure environment for you and for your employees.

Reason #5 – You don’t really care if anyone is held accountable for anything at anytime.

Of the many benefits that biometric identification technology offers its end users, establishing accountability is perhaps one of the top reasons to use it.  If the identification system you are using is archaic, subject to malfeasance and corrupting your staff by tempting them to abuse it for their own gain then why not consider incorporating a system that removes these inadequacies?  Biometric technology also ensures that there is a clear audit trail, thereby encouraging responsibility from your employees to act ethically and be accountable for their actions.

Take time to think about some of the problems in your business that biometric technology can solve.  Hopefully this post brought a few reasons to mind on how biometrics can help you.

What are some other reasons that biometrics would not be a benefit to your business?  Be creative…

 

What Can The Itsy Bitsy Spider Teach Us About Biometrics?


The Nursery Rhyme and its Application to Biometrics

Most of us are probably familiar with the popular nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”  It goes like this:

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Up came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Wow.  That is one resilient spider and it got us thinking…this spider reminds us a lot of biometric technology.

As biometrics for identification has evolved from forensics into government and enterprise applications, there have been growing pains along the way.  Fingerprint technology was the first “spider” modality to hit the mainstream and as it climbed the biometric “water (aka market) spout” end users realized that it had certain limitations.  For example, environmental conditions and fingerprint integrity limited its ability to identify a certain percentage of the population and as a result, end users began to seek a biometric modality that would identify 100% of their demographic.  The “rain” of dirt, grease, grime, cuts, scrapes, scars, age, ethnicity and other conditions washed out the fingerprint spider as not a one-size-fits-all solution.  However, it still had plenty of applicability and started to re-climb the biometric market spout.

Out came the vascular “sun” and dried up all of the issues that plagued fingerprint technology to allow the finger vein and palm vein spiders (albeit different spiders, but biometric spiders nonetheless) to start climbing the biometric market spout alongside the fingerprint spider.  Thus far, the weather has been quite sunny and there is no rain in the forecast to fall and wash the vascular spiders to the ground.  Vascular biometrics is enjoying a surge in end user adoption demonstrating a high tolerance for skin surface problems such as dryness, roughness, moisture or scarring.

Note – There are other biometric spiders currently crawling up the water spout such as iris, retina, voice, hand geometry and facial recognition, but they have not quite been as widely accepted for commercial adoption.

Biometrics and Resiliency

Just like the itsy bitsy spider, biometrics has proven to be very resilient.  As biometric performance and technology adapts to market conditions through refinements, enhancements and modifications it continues to demonstrate diverse applicability and post significant returns on investment.  From workforce management, healthcare, retail point of sale, public safety, and membership management, biometrics continues to grow and the forecast is a continued ascent through many global government and commercial applications.

Let’s rewrite one of our favorite nursery rhymes for the biometric industry:

The itsy bitsy biometric spider went up the market spout.
Down came conditions, and washed the spider out.
Up came refinements, to solve the problems,
and the itsy bitsy biometric spider went up the market spout again.

Can you think of a nursery rhyme and its theme that could also apply to biometrics?  Please share it with us in the comments below.

 

The Top 5 Ways KRONOS Customers Can Kick Butt With RightPunch From M2SYS

What Is RightPunch?

This just in.  BIG news being reported from the PC-based time and attendance workforce management market. M2SYS Technology has developed a customized biometric identification platform to interface with Workforce Timekeeper from KRONOS and customers are happier than Las Vegas bookies during March Madness.  The product is called RightPunch, and it is paying ginormous dividends for KRONOS customers who are choosing PC-based biometric time clocks as part of their workforce management software strategy.

RightPunch is a flexible, PC-based biometric time clock that has all of the features of a wall mounted biometric time clock at a fraction of the cost.  Without requiring any developments or upgrades, RightPunch instantly interfaces with Workforce Timekeeper offering offline punch captures, schedule verification and automated biometric template distribution to support “floating” employees.  Plus, biometric identification is powered by Hybrid Biometrics, which supports fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, and iris recognition to ensure 100% employee read rates.

Top 5 Benefits Of Using RightPunch

#1 – Increase in employee productivity by eliminating “buddy punching.

#2 – Reductions in payroll inflation and payroll error rates.

#3 – Increase in security, efficiency and environmental conscientiousness by eliminating ID cards or PINs.

#4 – Reliability – 100% of employees are consistently recognized and authenticated.

#5 – Ensure compliance with labor tracking laws.

Read more about how biometric identification technology from M2SYS is paying huge dividends  for a current KRONOS customer using Workforce Timekeeper.

Is saving money, time and resources important to your business?  If you are a KRONOS Workforce Timekeeper customer, get in on the action and ask about RightPunch, the PC-based biometric time clock interface from M2SYS.

 

How To Properly Clean Biometric Hardware

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Unintentional Consequences Resulting From Good Intentions

Recently, an end user contacted us to report that one of their fingerprint readers had mysteriously been damaged and unable to properly scan.  Turns out that the glass surface where the finger rests during the scanning process had become scratched and thus could not properly capture a fingerprint image.  Although no one on staff was claiming responsibility for the damage or the cause, management suspected (due to another fingerprint reader being damaged in a similar way a few months prior) that it was due to someone improperly wiping the surface with a prohibited cleaning agent.

Taking into consideration that fingerprint readers and other biometric hardware devices are an investment and have a shelf life just like most other electronic equipment, it prompted us to think that perhaps it was an appropriate time to write a blog post on how to properly clean biometric hardware to prolong the hardware longevity and get the most out of your investment.  Since regular use of biometric hardware devices (especially fingerprint readers) leaves residues or other foreign materials on the surface, this post will offer tips on how to properly maintain the devices.

fingerprint reader Wear And Tear More Prevalent For Fingerprint

No matter where you have a biometric system deployed, your hardware will undergo wear and tear as your end users place their fingers or palms on the device for recognition.  However, fingerprint readers tend to have shorter life spans due to the fact that an end user must make physical contact with the fingerprint sensor in order for the device to capture a print and identify through a biometric software interface.  Within environments where staff is prone to having dirty, greasy, or grimy fingers due to their job responsibilities, we always recommend cleaning your hands before using either of our fingerprint readers.  Remember that dirty residue, oils or other materials on the surface of a fingerprint reader can obscure the image causing performance degradation in terms of false acceptance and false reject rates.

CLEANING THE M2-EASYSCAN FINGERPRINT READER:

Dampen a lint-free cloth or cotton swab with alcohol or acetone. Gently rub the cloth across the sensor

surface in a left and right direction.  Move slowly down the sensor to cover the entire surface area. Repeat this process 2-3 times. Visually observe that no residual solution remains on the sensor.

Caution: Abrasive materials are not recommended for cleaning the M2-EasyScan.

CLEANING THE M2-S FINGERPRINT READER:

The scanning surface of the M2SYS fingerprint scanner is coated with a thin film of silicone.  This silicone layer helps the reader capture more ridge detail from rough, dirty, and other potentially difficult prints. The silicone layer is not removable or replaceable, so please make sure to treat it with care.

As far as cleaning, it is NOT recommended that you regularly use industrial cleaning solvents (especially those that are alcohol-based) on the scanning surface.  The repeated use of such products will definitely lead to the silicone layer on the scanning surface becoming damaged.  Such damage will result in decreased capture sensitivity, and will negatively impact the scanner’s performance.  A piece of scotch tape, placed sticky side down and then peeled off, should be sufficient to remove any dust or latent oil or dirt buildup caused by normal use.  The frequency of use for the tape will vary depending on the amount of traffic a scanner experiences.  Typically, once a week should be reasonable.

If something unusual does happen, like something sticky gets spilled on the scanner surface, a small amount of mild ammonia-based cleaner (e.g. Windex) can be sprayed onto a cloth (not paper) and blotted or gently wiped on the problem area.  Blot the area dry and use scotch tape to remove any leftover particulate.  You should not use paper-based products (e.g. paper towels) to clean the surface as they will leave small paper particles stuck to the silicone.  You should not spray any cleaners directly on the scanning surface. You should never use an alcohol-based cleaner on the scanning surface.  This procedure is only to be used in the rare case that something out of the ordinary gets onto the scanning surface – scotch tape alone will be sufficient for normal maintenance of the scanning surface.

It is possible that with heavy use the silicone layer on the scanning surface may become slightly cloudy over time.  Use of a mild ammonia-based, as described above, may help to remove this cloudiness.

Vascular Biometric Readers – Finger Vein and Palm Vein

Luckily, the dawn of vascular biometric readers meant that end users no longer had to make contact with the sensor that captures the image of the finger or palm vein for recognition.  It did not mean that these readers would not be susceptible to becoming dirty but cleaning frequency dropped significantly and the contactless sensor meant a longer life for the hardware.  Here is the breakdown of how to clean each M2SYS vascular reader:

M2-FV (Finger Vein) Scanner Maintenance:

  • Before performing the M2-FV Scanner maintenance, remove the USB cable. Keeping the cable connected with the USB connector during maintenance may cause failures.
  • For M2-FV Scanner maintenance, be careful not to allow water to come in contact with the inside of the M2-FV Scanner.  This may cause malfunctioning.
  • Do not clean the device using organic solvents such as gasoline and alcohol. This may cause malfunctioning.

Maintenance of the external part of the M2-FV Scanner should be about once a month or whenever required according the condition of the scanner.  Clean the external part of the scanner by rubbing it with a soft piece of cloth.  If dirt is not removed by doing this, soap the surface to be cleaned with neutral detergent and clean using a tightly wrung out piece of damp cloth.  If dirt remains, immerse the piece of cloth into water and cleaning detergent, wring tightly and apply to remove the dirt.

  • Scanning area maintenance. (About once a month or whenever dirt from fingerprints is detected.)


Scanning Area Maintenance Method

  • Use a soft piece of cloth to clean the scanning area.
  • Lift up and remove the front part of the device where the finger is placed (support).
  • Clean the scanning area using a soft piece of cloth. In case of big and obvious dirt particles, remove these before cleaning.
  • Place the support back into its position once the cleaning is finished.


M2-PV (Palm Vein) Scanner Maintenance:

Before performing the M2-PV Scanner maintenance, remove the USB cable. Keeping the cable connected with the USB connector during maintenance may cause failures.

  • For M2-PV Scanner maintenance, be careful not to allow water to come in contact with the inside of the M2-PV Scanner. This may cause malfunctioning.
  • Do not clean the device using organic solvents such as gasoline and alcohol. This may cause malfunctioning.

biometric software systemMaintenance of the external part of the M2-PV Scanner is required according the condition of the scanner. Clean the external part of the scanner by rubbing it with a soft piece of cloth. If dirt is not removed by doing this, soap the surface to be cleaned with neutral detergent and clean using a tightly wrung out piece of damp cloth. If dirt remains, immerse the piece of cloth into water and cleaning detergent, wring tightly and apply to remove the dirt.

 

Hope that this post has been helpful and we are always available for help if you need to contact us.

What Does The Recent Unrest In The Middle East/Northern Africa And Biometric Technology Have In Common?

 

Suppression Of A Society Will Take Its Toll

Unless you have been living under the proverbial rock recently, chances are you caught wind of the unrest, protests and civic rebellions that are sweeping across the Middle East and Northern Africa.  First it was Tunisia then Egypt followed by Bahrain and now Libya.  Countries that are fed up with oppression  and living under the rule of dictatorships, oligarchies and autocratic rule are rising up and defying government power in an effort to force change, modernize their economies and provide citizens with a voice in their society.

For these countries and others crying out for change, demanding reform and putting the wheels in motion to make it happen it can be a frightening and anxious experience knowing that the actions they are taking are necessary and will pay tremendous dividends in the future but the short term implications can be difficult adjustments and fraught with uncertainty.  However, these rebellions have been years in the making and whispered about clandestinely in social circles for many years.  Revolt in Tunisia seemed to be the tipping point for the rest of these countries to follow suit and summon the courage to act themselves against their tyrannical regimes.

The Current And Future State Of Biometric Technology

The unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa got us thinking about parallels that we can draw from these events to the biometric technology market.  Modern biometric technology applications are revolutionary scientific breakthroughs in identification technology, with the ability to accurately identify an individual that is unsurpassed by any other identification technology on the market.  It is currently being used in some capacity by countries all over the globe through a wide variety of governmental and commercial deployments.

From border security, workforce management, membership management, retail point of sale, public safety, healthcare to banking – biometrics is slowly permeating our lives to boost security, create efficiencies, improve productivity and save money (among many other benefits for applicable vertical markets).  However, in certain countries it is being rejected and questioned on the grounds that it violates individual privacy rights and the validity of capturing and storing biometric identification characteristics of an individual without any plausible governmental data collection guidelines and laws in place.

These are valid arguments and ones that should be debated and resolved for biometrics to be more readily accepted.  However, these issues will not stop biometric technology from being the steam engine of future secure individual identification.  It is inevitable that biometrics will become more widely adopted and replace identification technologies such as barcode cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) and RFID technology.  There simply is no other technology that is neither comparable nor as convenient as biometrics.

The Connection

Just as the citizens of countries spread out across the Middle East and Northern Africa are rebelling for change and a better way of life, businesses are using biometric technology to halt unscrupulous practices that are draining their profits and polluting their environments.  Countries and companies across the globe are putting their foot down and saying , “Enough!”  They are tired of seeing things like fraud, time theft, shrink and buddy punching sap their profits.  They are seeking technological competitive advantages to increase operational efficiencies, establish accountability, build customer loyalty and achieve higher returns on investment in infrastructure.  Businesses and governments are abandoning the old ways of identification, those archaic and administrative intensive Stone Age methodologies and beginning to adopt modern technologies that offer far more benefits.

While we could never understate the importance and impact of the events that are unfolding in the Middle East and Northern Africa, we can draw some interesting comparisons to the present state and  how the future of biometric technology will unfold.

What do you think?  Are there some similarities you can draw from the unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa that you can compare to your market?

Calling All Retailers – Please Take Our True/False Quiz

The M2SYS Technology True/False Quiz part deux.  I’m sure our loyal readers have been on the edge of their seats since our first True/False Quiz post – 5 months ago.  Yes, the Rip Van Winkle of blog posts series has finally awakened. Here is a link to the quiz – http://apps.facebook.com/fanappz/quiz/take?id=5132

So how did you do?  If you are here at our blog that means you clicked on the link to learn more details on why a question was true or false.  If you are visiting our blog first – then please click on the link above for the quiz, then come back and see the detailed answers below.  No cheating by looking at the answers before taking the quiz!!

Here are the detailed answers to the questions:

1.  Finger vein and palm vein are too expensive as an alternative to fingerprint technology.

Answer – False

Finger vein and palm vein technology are referred to as “vascular biometrics” which relies on capturing an image of the vein pattern beneath the finger or palm with near infrared light and using that image as the basis for individual identification.  Unlike fingerprint technology, integrity of the skin is not an issue with vascular biometrics.  In addition, vascular biometrics is definitely an affordable alternative to fingerprint.

2.  Using biometric technology can help save the environment.

Answer – True

Each year, Americans waste enough paper to build a 12-foot wall of paper from New York to California.  One way to reduce the amount of paper used in a business is to switch from antiquated paper and pen time and attendance techniques to biometric based desktop time and attendance software. Another way you can use biometrics to help the environment is by switching from plastic membership cards to a biometric check in system.

3.  Indonesia is currently using biometric technology to curb violence in bars and nightclubs.

Answer – False

It’s actually Australia.  Ok, so this question is not so retailish but pertinent nonetheless.  Australia is currently launching an ambitious public safety program where bars and nightclubs can opt into a biometric identification initiative that requires all patrons to submit their fingerprint in order to gain entry to the establishment.  So far, it’s received positive reviews.

4.  It is possible to achieve a 300% ROI (return on investment) during the 1st year of using biometric technology.

Answer – True

One of our end users actually achieved a 300% return on investment during the first year they used biometric technology for time and attendance! Cal Poly Pomona uses M2SYS biometric technology with its KRONOS time and attendance software which has eliminated buddy punching, boosted staff productivity and decreased backlogs.

5.  Biometric technology can help a retailer with PCI Compliance.

Answer – True

Biometric technology offers merchants an opportunity to incorporate a level of authentication security that is unsurpassed in the industry.  Biometrics relies on physiological characteristics (fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, iris recognition, etc.) to identify an individual’s identity rather than something you know (personal identification number or PIN) or something you have (credit or debit card).  Due to the fact that anyone can steal your credit or debit card and obtain your PIN for fraudulent transactions, biometric technology is the only true way to identify someone with near absolute certainty.

6.  Using biometric technology can enhance customer loyalty.

Answer – True

Instituting a biometric identification system, especially in a retail environment, builds customer loyalty.  To help combat fraud, biometrics is used as part of an overarching plan that helps keeps prices low and customers happy.

7.  Biometric technology is about as secure as barcode cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

Answer – False

Biometric technology is much more secure than barcode cards and personal identification numbers.  Read this post and you be the judge.

8.  Buddy punching can equate to 2 – 5% of total expenditures.

Answer – True

Don’t believe us?  Check out our dedicated web page on eliminating buddy punching and plug the numbers to see for yourself.

9.  Loss prevention in the retail sector is a good application of biometric technology.

Answer – True

The simple fact is that employees steal from businesses.  The numbers speak for themselves – employee dishonesty costs American business in excess of $50 billion annually and 20% of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is lost to employee theft.  Biometrics can help to curb this by eliminating the swapping of barcode cards and PIN’s and securing access to authorized only areas of a retail establishment.

10. Capturing an individual’s biometric information is tantamount to a violation of their privacy.

Answer – False

Biometric identity enrollment templates stored on a server or computers are not actually images at all.  They are a mathematical representation of the data points that a biometric algorithm extracts from the scanned fingerprintfinger veinpalm vein or iris.  The identity template is simply a binary data file, a series of zeros and ones.  The algorithm then uses the template to positively identify an individual during subsequent fingerprint scans.  No image is ever stored or transmitted across a network.

To the credit of those that fear privacy invasion, the real fear is that mass quantities of biometric information can be captured at once from hacking into a private industry biometrics system.  In addition, they fear the idea that biometric information cannot be changed if compromised, unlike something like a social security or bank account number.  We feel that this is a valid point, and one that’s difficult to refute however all biometric data is stored using the AES 128 bit encryption algorithm.

Hope you enjoyed installment #2 of our “Biometric True/False Quiz Questions” series.  More future quizzes to come…

False Accept Rate – An Important Biometric Term To Know And Understand

Whew.  It’s been a while since we penned another blog posting for our “Important Biometric Terminology To Know” categoryalmost 6 months.  Our apologies, but there has been so much to talk about since then we plumb forgot that we need to step up the effort and help to educate our readers on biometric terms that will help you to make a smart decision on which biometric system is best for you.

So we’re off – let’s take a closer look at the term “False Accept Rate,” what it means and why you should add this term to your biometric vocabulary.

Can’t Stress Due Diligence Enough

As we pointed out in our post last year about False Rejection Rates, we can’t stress enough that before purchasing a biometric identification system, it’s a smart idea to familiarize yourself with industry terminology before soliciting bids from biometric vendors.  You wouldn’t make it as a Day trader unless you knew what a derivative was or what the term EBITDA meant.  It would be tough to find a bargain on a house unless you were familiar with the term “short sale” or the difference between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage.

The same concept applies to biometrics.  If you learn the industry terminology, it helps you to make a more educated decision on the biometric system that best suits your unique needs and maximize success.

Let’s quickly revisit the common questions to ask when researching biometric reader:

  1. How demographically diverse is my workforce?
  2. What is the age range of the people using the biometric reader?
  3. What type of physical environment will the biometric reader be deployed in (e.g. –factory, office, indoors, outdoors, etc.)?
  4. How large will my database be of enrolled individuals in the system?

To reiterate from our posting on False Rejection Rates: Choosing the proper biometric reader for your workforce and environment can be better served by researching the answers to these questions before you make your decision so you end up using a reader that is user friendly and will provide you with the highest degree of accuracy and longevity.

What is False Accept Rate (FAR)?  Why Do I Need To Know This?

Webopedia defines False Accept Rate as:

In biometrics, the instance of a security system incorrectly verifying or identifying an unauthorized person.  Also referred to as a type II error, a false acceptance typically is considered the most serious of biometric security errors as it gives unauthorized users access to systems that expressly are trying to keep them out.

For example:  A fitness center uses biometric technology at their check-in desk for membership management.  A non-member enters the facility and places their finger on a fingerprint reader which incorrectly identifies them as a paying member and allows them access to the facility.  Uh, not exactly why you purchased the biometric identification system in the first place, is it?

Does the Type of Biometric Reader I Use Affect the FAR?

Biometric readers have different characteristics and limitations that make them susceptible to an increased FAR.  When you deploy a biometric system, after installing the software and connecting the biometric reader an enrollment template must be created for each individual that will be using the system.  Any subsequent biometric scans are then matched against that template which means that that the integrity of the template must be high quality to avoid problems with false accepts.  Different biometric readers have varying levels of FAR.

As you climb the scale of biometric devices from fingerprint to vascular biometric recognition (fingervein and palm vein readers) FAR percentages drop significantly because fingerprint integrity is not a factor when matching a scan to an enrollment template.  Vascular biometrics uses near infrared scans to capture the vein patterns beneath the finger or the palm for recognition and identification purposes resulting in increased accuracy.  FAR is still a factor for vascular technology but to a much lesser extent because the condition of the skin is not a factor as it is with fingerprint technology.

Feels Good To Know What You’re Talking About Doesn’t It?

When researching a biometric software and hardware provider, provide as many details as possible.  Describe in detail the demographics of your end users.  Talk about the physical environment that your biometric readers will be deployed.   Ask a lot of questions.  If you don’t know where to start, call us or e-mail us and we will help make it easier for you to get the solution that works even if it isn’t our own.

Was this blog post helpful to explain the importance of understanding FAR?  Please let us know in the comments below…