Biometrics: What Technology Is The Best Fit?

Fingerprint recognition is the most widely deployed biometric identifier because it is reliable and easy to deploy. Facial imaging and retinal scans are options. Use of multiple credentials greatly increases security.

When determining which type of biometrics to use, site conditions play an important role, as each biometric technology has characteristics which differentiate it from the others. Things to factor into your decision include:

Throughput required: This means how many individuals the system will be required to screen, and how fast must this be accomplished without creating delays and user frustration.

Existing system capabilities: Many Biometric upgrades are totally possible without having to run cabling or changing other system assets.

Reliability and efficiency of the reader: Every person who will use the system will have to be ‘enrolled’. The identity every person using the system must be verified. Misreads or malfunctions will cause big problems.

Price: The cost of the hardware and the amount of technical support required to keep biometrics lowering and thereby making the technology more feasible.

Ease of Deployment: Biometric systems and readers are more robust and modular; software is written to interface more readily, and the readers are designed to withstand harsh environments.

Reliability: Improved technology results in fewer hardware failures and security lapses. Reader throughput rivals keypad and credential based system speeds.

Convenience: Newer biometrics are less intimidating than earlier efforts, less body contact, no laser beams in the eye; no hygiene issues, makes the biometric interface more friendly to users.

The landscape is constantly changing with respect to the technologies, the costs and the end-user demand and acceptance of these products. As the world becomes a more dangerous place, heightened security starts to make more sense.

I’ve seen some biometric products where the installer can actually ‘tune’ the scanner to reduce misreads, and lower the criteria for a positive read, thereby reducing the incidence of false negatives (preventing an authorized person from entering) and consequently increasing the incidence of false positives (allowing an unauthorized individual to access). Would you want a system like this protecting you?

With so much at stake, perhaps the locksmith should carefully consider if he wants to get involved with offshore knock off biometric products whose algorithms and design may have not been subjected to adequate evaluation by experts.

The following are some of the latest biometrics products available.


HID BioClass

Using 13.56 MHz contactless smart card technology, HID iCLASS® products provide users with new options for supporting multi-authentication of identity.

Users can combine contactless card presentation with a fingerprint biometric. Personal identification numbers (PIN) can be used with a contactless card presentation.

  • The iCLASS RWKL550 read/write is a contactless smart card reader with keypad and LCD display.

The bioCLASS RWKLB575 read/write is a contactless smart card reader with keypad, LCD display and fingerprint biometric verification.

The bioCLASS BIO500 fingerprint biometric verification module is an addition that can be used to upgrade existing RWKL550 readers.

These bioCLASS products provide three levels of fingerprint verification. Users can choose the level of security to meet their needs: card and PIN; card and fingerprint; card, PIN, and fingerprint.

During the enrollment process, the CP575 is connected to a PC via a USB port. The software will guide the user to place a finger on the sensor. The fingerprint template is collected at the unit and immediately transferred to the card.

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Hirsch Fingerprint Readers

Hirsch’s newest fingerprint reader, Model CR-BIO-MA110, is a grey and silver surface mount fingerprint and smart card reader for interior use. The device stores two fingerprint templates per person for up to 500 individuals and associated Wiegand numbers.

It includes a 13.56 MHz HID iCLASS 16 bit (16K2 or 16K16) contactless reader. 500dpi optical sensor. 1; 1 verification time < 1 sec. Adj. FAR.

Valid access sends a locally stored Wiegand number or a number on the card to the Hirsch MATCH or ScramblePad. USB or 10/100 Ethernet port for template distribution.

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Panasonic Iris Reader

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