Biometrics Go Big

Technology floods the marketplace like never before

In recent years, biometric security systems have moved beyond the more tradition applications -- such as access control at businesses, government facilities and ports -- and into some surprising realms.

Advances in facial recognition, fingerprint verification and other corners of the biometric access management field have caused prices to come down and new installations to spread like wildfire. Once viewed as too new or cutting- edge by many people, the technology is finally hitting the mainstream.

A Biometric for Everyone
Today, biometric-based access control is making its way into a surprising range of applications. And as the technology becomes increasingly accessible and affordable, even smaller businesses are taking advantage of its amazing capabilities.

One interesting application of biometric technology is called the Biometric Bouncer. The facial recognition system is being used by upscale nightclubs -- such as Moon, in Hamilton, Bermuda -- to ensure guest safety and security.

When new patrons visit Moon, a bouncer enters their information into the Biometric Bouncer system, scans their ID cards and takes a photo of each of them. On their next visit, the camera scans their facial features, matches them to the file photo and clears them for entry.

“If other places adopted this system, a database could be set up to highlight people who cause trouble,” said David Madeiros, Moon’s manager, in a press release. “For example, if a person gets banned from a club down the street, they could enter that into the system and if they were to show up at Moon, we would be able to see that they were banned and what they did.”

Good Deeds, Faster
Biometrics also are having a big impact in the healthcare industry, where security and identity verification are always top-of-mind.

In one interesting application, the Oklahoma Blood Institute, a non-profit regional blood center, is incorporating BIO-key International’s fingerprint identification solution to provide blood donors a fast and convenient method to establish their identity. The solution automates the donor check-in process and protects their privacy by eliminating the need for them to produce sensitive identification forms, such as driver’s licenses or social security numbers.

Once a donor is entered into the system, he or she simply touches a finger to the scanner. The software searches the OBI database to provide positive ID, reducing the check-in time and lowering the chance of human error.

“We recognize the importance of providing convenience for our donors and protecting their identity,” said Dr. John Armitage, Oklahoma Blood Institute president and CEO, in a press release. “Using the BIO-key ID solution, we are able to protect our donor’s privacy while reducing the chance of duplicate donor IDs and aliases in our system. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our donors’ experiences and protect the integrity of the blood supply for Oklahomans.”

Jim Sullivan, the sales director at BIO-key International, said the system’s fingerprint reader independence differentiates it from other biometric readers.

“This enables enrollment, identification and verification to be performed by fingerprint scanners produced by any of the major fingerprint reader manufacturers,” he said. “Popular laptops, tablet PCs, workstation keyboards and even cell phones that have integrated fingerprint readers can be used to establish the donor’s ID.”

Beyond Access Control
Obviously, today’s biometric technology isn’t just for access control applications. Something as simple as library book loans now can be managed using fingerprint recognition systems, as prices continue to drop and functionality improves.

In June, the U.K. Telegraph reported that students in Manchester, England, would have the option to scan their thumbprints in order to check out a library book. School officials said the voluntary system is heavily encrypted, so that no images of fingerprints are stored. Instead, their thumbprints are digitally transformed into electronic codes, which are later compared against each child’s thumbprint scan. Eventually, the program will include children ages 4 to 11.

Not surprisingly, privacy advocates and some students’ parents immediately cried foul.

“For such a trivial issue as taking out of library books, the taking of fingerprints is way over the top and wrong,” one critic said. “It conditions children to hand over sensitive personal information.”

In addition to privacy concerns, some biometric applications raise unprecedented security issues. For example, this year Hitachi’s “finger vein” technology was installed on a bank ATM in Poland. Although the scanners have been used for years in Japan, this was their first appearance in Europe.

The technology does away with the need for ATM cards and helps prevent scams like skimming. But how will the criminal element adapt to this new development?

It’s disturbing to imagine the grisly ways in which user’s biometric identifiers could be hijacked.

Here’s hoping that organizations using these interesting new applications will be mindful of the possibilities and employ multi-factor authentication wherever possible.

Featured

  • 12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    Understanding crime statistics in your industry and area is crucial for making important decisions about your security budget. With so much information out there, how can you know which statistics to trust? Read Now

  • Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    In alignment with the state of Mississippi’s mission of “Empowering Mississippi citizens to stay connected and engaged with their government,” Salient's CompleteView VMS is being installed throughout more than 150 state boards, commissions and agencies in order to ensure safety for thousands of constituents who access state services daily. Read Now

  • Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    This year’s Live From GSX program was a rousing success! Again, we’d like to thank our partners, and IPVideo, for working with us and letting us broadcast their solutions to the industry. You can follow our Live From GSX 2023 page to keep up with post-show developments and announcements. And if you’re interested in working with us in 2024, please don’t hesitate to ask about our Live From programs for ISC West in March or next year’s GSX. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX
  • People Say the Funniest Things

    People Say the Funniest Things

    By all accounts, GSX version 2023 was completely successful. Apparently, there were plenty of mix-ups with the airlines and getting aircraft from the East Coast into Big D. I am all ears when I am in a gathering of people. You never know when a nugget of information might flip out. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3

  • PE80 Series

    PE80 Series by SARGENT / ED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin

    ASSA ABLOY, a global leader in access solutions, has announced the launch of two next generation exit devices from long-standing leaders in the premium exit device market: the PE80 Series by SARGENT and the PED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin. These new exit devices boast industry-first features that are specifically designed to provide enhanced safety, security and convenience, setting new standards for exit solutions. The SARGENT PE80 and Corbin Russwin PED4000/PED5000 Series exit devices are engineered to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern buildings. Featuring the high strength, security and durability that ASSA ABLOY is known for, the new exit devices deliver several innovative, industry-first features in addition to elegant design finishes for every opening. 3