Opening The Door To Standalone Biometrics

April 1, 2009
Two market drivers of biometrics are convenience and security. New products from BioAxxis, Bio-View, Marks USA and eKey USA deliver both convenience and added security.

Identification and verification have long been accomplished by showing something you have, such as a license or a passport. Sometimes it also required something you know, such as a password or a PIN. As we move into a time when we need more secure and accurate measures, we begin to look at using something you are: biometrics.
Biometrics is an Authentication Factor, which can be used alone or combined with the other factors such as the credential and the P.I.N. (Personal Identification Number)
Biometrics are used either for identification or verification.

When used for identification, the user presents his finger, or iris, or hand to the reader and the user’s ‘template’ (individual biometric characteristic the system is designed to process) is compared to a previously enrolled template stored somewhere in the system memory. If the Biometric system is a standalone, then the template is stored at the door. If the Biometric system is network based, then the template could also be somewhere else in the network. This is a “one-to-many” matching process.

When used for verification, the user also enters a P.I.N. into a keypad, or presents a credential which has a copy of his or her biometric template encoded onto it. The system compares the user’s presented biometric template with the P.I.N. or the template on the credential to ‘verify’ that they match. The process occurs at the door, although the transaction may be sent up the network or simply storied at the door depending on the type of system. This is a “one-to-one” matching process.

Although biometrics have been around for quite a while, the usage of biometrics in access control applications is lagging behind original forecasts. Of course, this is hardly a predictor of the future. As the demand for higher security increases, the public’s trust in the technology grows, and a wider variety of products at different price points reach the market.

One issue is cost. Up until now, a P.I.N. or credential based solution cost less than the corresponding biometric one. This was due to the economies of scale (The decrease in unit cost of a product or service resulting from large-scale operations, as in mass production.) Proximity cards and readers are simply cheaper that smart cards and readers, and even proximity cards offer the secondary benefit of being able to carry a person’s image and serve as a photo ID.

That is apparently no longer the case, since inexpensive biometrics hit our shores, more and more competitively priced devices employing biometrics are available.
How reliable was the biometric system? The terms False Positive and False Negatives entered the vernacular. The point at which the error rate of a Biometric technology is low enough to meet security requirements may result in authorized individuals being rejected, or at the very least, individuals having to present their finger  more than once in order to be recognized. Inconvenient, embarrassing, and of course it slows down the line in the cafeteria. Too much security is not always a good thing.

Two market drivers of biometrics are convenience and security. Those who wish to eliminate other authentications in order to increase convenience are sometime disappointed with the results. Those seeking to increase security by combining biometrics with credentials or P.I.N.s get the desired result, but may yield end-user resistance.

When the government initiated HSPD 12 FIPS 201 standard requiring biometrics to be imbedded on all federal personal identity verification credentials, it was thought that the shift to Biometrics would accelerate. Similarly the TWIC (Transportation Worker Identity Card) federal standard for U.S. Ports was expected to promote biometrics.
These unfunded mandates will require substantial investments by manufacturers to implement and have been slow to be adapted, with the most recent General Services Administration estimates indicating fewer than 10 percent of all federal employees and contractors are actually carrying IDs which comply with the new laws.
Biometrics are far more secure than a memorized entry code, and more convenient that a credential. New products such as those listed below are appearing on the market daily.

BioAxxis® ThumbLock™
BioAxxis designs and develops biometric lock systems for mainstream consumer and commercial markets. They design their locks in conjunction with input from U.S. locksmiths, acquire the necessary IP protection, and then manufacture their products with a trusted partner in China.  BioAxxis’ focus is to develop real security products of excellent mechanical quality and reliability.

 “There is just too much garbage on the world market right now.  Too much focus on gadgetry and not enough focus on security,” says BioAxxis President/CEO Patrick S.Conway;

BioAxxis’ core consumer product – the BioAxxis® BD1 deadbolt lock - continues to do well in multiple channels and has been available for just over two years. 
BioAxxis’ core commercial product – the BioAxxis® ThumbLock™ - will be launching in June 2009. Conway describes it as “a commercial-grade, access control system - on the door – at half the price.”

Features of the  BioAxxis® ThumbLock™ include:

—MSRP $ 999
—1,000-user capacity
—Fingerprint, PIN code, or both – per user, per lock
—Heavy-Duty, UL-listed, 3-hour fire-rated latch
—Standard 6-pin rim cylinder, easily replaced
—HIPAA and ADA compliant handle
—Satin Chromium (US26D) standard commercial finish
—2 Year “repair or replace” warranty
—Sensitivity Verification Mode – allows customer to set how “easy or hard” the sensor reads a fingerprint = Scale of 1 to 9
—LCD on inside of door allows for myriad of features available at the lock – individual user deletion, open mode, etc
—Runs on 4AA batteries with 9V battery back-up; may be hard-wired and run on AC
—An AT Upgrade Kit (ATU) will carry a suggested price of  $99, which includes 1 GB flash memory and audit trail software.

Here is how it works…Simply download your AT records from the lock to the flash drive. Bring the flash drive to your PC. Offload the records in to the AT software.

The PC Management Upgrade (PCMU) carries a suggested price of $299, which includes 1 GB flash memory, AT software, access control software, and USB fingerprint scanner module. It makes the following functions available

—Register all fingerprints of all users at one centralized PC with the fingerprint scanner.
—Set access control rights at the PC for each individual user to each individual lock.
—When finished, upload those access control rights to the flash drive.
—Bring the flash drive to the lock and program the lock from the flash drive.
—Plus AT records can still be offloaded from the lock to the flash drive.

The e-Key fingerprint system for physical access control is called TOCA and is derived from the Spanish language which means touch.
e-Key fingerprint scanners are multi-function, small, sleek, stylish looking and yet weather resistant. The e-Key scanners are suitable for inside or outside environment and designed for controlling:

—access through doors equipped with electrical strikes or magnetic locks.
—arming and disarming of security systems configured with momentary key-switch.;
—garage or gate door operated by an electrical opener.
—any device that is operated by an on/off switch.

The e-Key fingerprint system is not a lock; rather it is a set of two units operating by AC or DC, a low-voltage power. These two units are a scanner (outside unit) for managing fingerprint templates and control unit (inside unit) for managing dry contact switches (Form C Switch).

In simple terms, e-Key is an electronic switch that can be turned ON/OFF by swiping a finger. So, when a valid finger is swiped and identified, the assigned relay is activated resulting in either completing or breaking the electrical circuit.

Each contact switch is used individually to manage an electrical circuit for controlling an electrical strike, security system, magnetic lock, electrified lock, solenoid, or any electrified system or device that can be controlled by on/off switch.

Operating and using e-Key fingerprint access system is a two step process.

The first step is enrollment (a one-time procedure for each finger), which involves swiping a finger over the e-Key scanner to extract and store a binary code template (No image is stored) that represents the fingerprint’s unique biometric features. This and other stored codes for other fingerprints represent the authorized users.

The second step is identification, which involves a user swiping a finger over the outside fingerprint scanner to extract a binary code template (No image is stored) and matching it against the previously stored code templates. If a match is found, access is granted by closing/opening the designated relay that in turn activates the connected electrical device such as a an electrical strike for a door, a zone for an alarm system, or opener for garage or gate.

Moreover, with e-Key fingerprint access control system the same user can perform different access functions by using different fingers to activate different relays. For example, first finger activates relay #1 to control front door electric strike and then second finger activates relay #2 to arm / disarm the security system. A third finger activates relay #3 to set the security system in a panic situation.

The e-Key fingerprint access control TOCA product line consists of two families: e-Key®TOCAhome and e-Key® TOCAnet.
e-Key TOCAhome is a standalone basic access control system. No computer is needed for enrollment or management. It is suitable for simple access applications with 24/7 access for enrolled and authorized users; no logging or schedules.
e-Key TOCAnet is networkable access control system that consists of one or more TOCAnet systems for one or more doors all networked together and controlled by client/server computer program. A computer is needed for enrollment and management. TOCAnet is suitable where advance access control is required such as restricted access, activity logging, centralized management, etc.

Bio-View Biometric Entry
Bio-View from Holovision is an integrated e-Key access control with an audio-video entry system. Bio-View is suitable for any entry location such as front doors, gates, garages, etc. Bio-View consists of three sub-systems: e-Key fingerprint access control; Two-way Communication Intercom and a color camera.
All three sub-systems are integrated in small mounting box (H7.25” x W4.37” x D4.25”) with small faceplate (H8.125” x W5.125” x D0.5”) 

The Bio-View is shipped with Back box, hardware, gasket, and instructions all fully assembled, wired, and ready for installation with the any of e-Key fingerprint access control systems (TOCAhome and TOCAnet), different intercom systems options (Crestron, Panasonic, Holovision, or Viking), and a standard color camera.
Bio-View comes standard with High Performance 3.7 mm color camera. The camera has field of view 90 degrees mounted on swivel bracket that can be adjusted during installation 20 degrees to the left or right; High resolution 480 lines; Minimum Illumination less than 0.02 lux; operating temperature 10 - 50 degrees C, and powered by 12 VDC.

e-Key USA also announces the availability of Wiegand converter for e-Key net fingerprint scanners.  For information, call (941) 782-1227, email [email protected] or visit

Marks USA is a well known manufacturer of locks and, more recently, the i-Que Series of standalone access controls. Marks USA was recently purchased by Alarm Lock, but Marks lives on as an independent force in the field of standalone access control

The i-Que has been on the market for a number of years and the product has been continuously improved and enhanced. Marks has built upon the reliability features and track record of the i-Que Line with their new standalone 175BIO.

Fingerprint reader features are:
—100 users standard
—5 user groups
—1 year life span on 4 “AA” batteries
—Search time of less then 2 seconds
—Optical reader with 500dpi resolution
—FRR/FAR: .1%/.001%
—Fingerprint enrollment at the door
—Four-digit User ID assigned for deletion purposes
—Fingerprint deletion by ID or Fingerprint
—Passage mode
—4000-event audit trail (Software Kit Required)
Grade 2 Cylindrical Lockset features are:
—American style lever handle
—Grade 2 cylindrical lock body
(Uses proven 175 lock body)
—1-5/8” – 1-7/8” standard door thickness
—2-3/4” backset latch with ½” throw
—3 hour UL fire rating
—2 ¾” “T” strike
—“Clutch” system to prevent lever droop
—Key Override: Marks “C” Keyway, 6 pin, 2 keys supplied
—IC core optional. Also accepts Best®, Falcon, Medeco®, Keymark™, Schlage®, Corbin and KSP
Software Kit features:
—Upload users enrolled in software
—Download users enrolled in lockset
—View and print Audit trail
—Basic and group schedules
—Holiday maintenance
—USB cable to connect to PC
—USB optical reader for fingerprint enrollment
—Software runs on Windows 98, 2000, ME. XP, and Vista 32 bit

We gave iQue Tech Support Specialist Justin Federico a quick quiz on the 175BIO. Following are Ledger’s questions and Federico’s answers.

Is it a standalone?
The lock is completely standalone and powered by 4 “AA” batteries.

Is it on the market now?
We are looking to go to market with the unit in April or early May.

Where can it be purchased?
The unit will be available for purchase from any of our stocking distributors.

What is the price?
The list price will be $950.

What are the accessories and options?
Optional Software Kit consisting of facility management software, USB optical reader for enrollment, and USB cable for PC interface.

Are fingers programmed in at the unit only?
Fingerprints can be enrolled at the door or into the software using the USB optical reader.

Does it produce activity logs?
The unit has a 4000-event audit trail which can be downloaded and viewed using the software.

Can users be programmed at a central location, and then downloaded with an appliance, laptop or fob?
Users can be enrolled into the software and uploaded to the unit via USB from a laptop. Also, users that were enrolled at the door can be downloaded from the unit into the software.