Biometrics: What’s Selling and Who’s Buying?

Aug. 1, 2016
Selecting the best biometric solution for your customer depends on the application. Some good advice is to stick with trusted brands and distributors with good reputations and technical support.

Biometrics technology continues to gain favor as the obvious means to determine an individual’s identity. Determining an individual’s identity and stopping the imposters is essential in most environments where personal safety and security are an issue.

As it applies to access control, biometrics is the term used to describe the automated measurement and recognition of a characteristic of an individual’s anatomy (fingerprint, hand, retina, face), and testing this measurement either by comparing it against a database or to a template on a credential presented at the door control terminal.

The typical security professional will encounter frequent opportunities to offer biometrics for access control and time and attendance applications.

You may want to supply biometric solutions as part of a new single-door or networked system or as an upgrade to an existing one.

The public is aware that neither a memorized code nor possession of a credential is adequate to satisfactorily authenticate a person in a growing set of situations.

Biometrics is used across a variety of industries and applications; such as Data Centers; Financial Services; Education; Healthcare; Enterprise; Retail; Public Sector. My favorite is access control.

As a security expert, it is necessary for you to be familiar with biometrics products and benefits. Biometrics technology encompasses three general categories: hardware, algorithms, and the platforms under which the devices, templates and processes are managed.

The locksmith can obtain biometric equipment as standalones and terminal devices from the distribution channel; as part of their system from electronic access control manufacturers or from charlatans.

The charlatans are the online vendors peddling bargains and promises. It is easy to understand how a client might Google the term “Biometrics” and be presented with numerous choices of standalone devices. Standalone devices are the ‘entry point’ into access control for many individuals, and attractive as a solution for security breaches at ‘off the grid’ locations within a facility.

More than any other access control technology, biometrics is a leap of faith, since it is not easy to determine the device’s credulity.

What biometric solution is best for your customer has a lot to do with the application.  Below, we offer a selection of products for you to launch your research. The word of advice is to stick to trusted brands and distributors whose reputation and trust is built on the products they offer.


BioConnect (formerly Entertech Systems) was founded on the premise of supporting the technology that allowed  Rightful Identity to enter a building - hence the name “Enter-Tech.” As an operating partner for Suprema, a world leader in biometrics and security, they have provided physical access control solutions based on fingerprint and facial recognition.

Entertech’s identity platform called “BioConnect” was born out of a real use case in 2011: A customer wanted to use a building’s existing access control software (the software that grants you access into the building), but also wanted to add biometric devices as access points. An integration was built for this company and BioConnect went on to add more access control system integrations, expanding the identity platform to what it is today. The platform aimed to make it less complicated, more cost effective and easier to enroll new users when incorporating biometrics into an existing access control system based on Rightful Identity.

This identity platform has grown to become a standard for biometric access control integrations and has locked down partnerships that now cover 80 percent of the global access control market.

Rob Douglas is the founder and CEO of BioConnect. Over the last 14 years, he has been providing global market leadership in the biometric identity market. He was board member, president and CEO of Bioscrypt Inc from 2003 to 2009. Bioscrypt was sold to L-1 Identity Solutions in 2008.

After the sale of Bioscrypt, Douglas started BioConnect and the “Quest for Rightful Identity.” Douglas says his founding belief was that the 7 billion people on this planet are better served to prove their rightful identity by being themselves for every transaction in life. Douglas also sees the impact to fraud and operational friction to corporations, healthcare, education and government organizations would save hundreds of billions when the world interacts with the simplicity of real people.

BioConnect’s best selling products currently are:

  • Suprema BioStation 2 (hardware - full featured fingerprint / card / PIN reader with graphic LCD)
  • Suprema BioLite Net (hardware -- multi-factor authentication fingerprint, slim with screen)
  • Suprema BioEntry W (hardware -- outdoor fingerprint + card reader, slim)

BioConnect anticipates their products which will experience the most growth are:

The BioConnect Identity Platform, which connects biometric products with over 20 of the leading access control solutions making it easier, more efficient and more cost-effective to add biometrics to an existing or new access control infrastructure. Its software enables biometrics to work with new or existing legacy access control solutions  and to scale biometrics across locations.

Suprema Biometric Hardware. The algorithm and versatile and reliable hardware components ensure quality, longevity and high customer satisfaction over time and is the reason Suprema is consistently labelled a global leader in biometrics and security. BioConnect is the North America operating partner. Suprema BioEntry W2 is a new fingerprint product that works with multiple different card types.

BioConnect TeamWorks is a team management application. Although it has your typical "biometric time clock integration" for time and attendance purposes, it is much more than that and it's built in-house. It's web based (cloud) so it can be accessed anywhere, any time and boasts features such as attendance management, scheduling, payroll integrations (such as ADP) and even a vacation request feature.

The Dual Lock – ( a new product which hasn’t officially been announced yet), is a fingerprint + card lock that goes on a server cabinet, ideal for in data center colocations where customers ask for biometric solutions right down to the cabinet level.

For more information, visit

Schlage Handkey II

This legendary hand geometry reader works as a standalone or networked device or can be used to upgrade card readers on an existing door control system. The Schlage HandKey II is ideal for applications where consistent and dependable high security is of prime importance. The product is easy to maintain and provides an ideal mix of convenience and security utilizing biometric technology.

The HandKey II utilizes field-proven hand geometry technology that verifies the size and shape of a person’s hand –in less than one second, making it ideal for high throughout applications. Each HandKey II can function as a stand-alone device at a single door or be connected to your overall access control network for a comprehensive security solution. The HandKey II supports multiple credentials, including proximity, magnetic stripe, bar code, HID Legacy iClass® and MIFARE®, and is equipped with a card reader emulation mode that makes adding it to existing access control systems fast and easy.

Each HandKey II is a complete, integrated door controller providing lock operation, request-for-exit and alarm monitoring. Biometric templates and decision-making capability reside locally, ensuring your doors are always secure and will continue to operate properly even if all communication to the main access control system is lost.

HandKey readers can be used as a standalone unit or as part of an integrated access control system. The units easily integrate into existing systems using the card reader emulation mode.

By using the HandNet software for template management, thousands of units can be linked together to form a system that communicates alarms and transactions in real time, provides activity, user and systems reports, and allows supervised user enrollment and deletions at any reader.

Schlage’s HandNet software links a virtually unlimited number of HandKey units into an integrated door access control system. All alarms and transactions report back in real time to the central computer, making door and alarm monitoring easy and efficient. Activity, user and system reports can be easily generated. The central computer handles all hand template management allowing supervised enrollment at any reader and system wide deletions. An optional internal modem lets you include remote site operations.

Features include:

  • Convenience of multiple credential options such as proximity, magnetic stripe, barcode, HID Legacy iCLASS® and MIFARE Classic ®
  • Field installable Ethernet module
  • Outdoor enclosure options
  • Field upgradable and expandable memory options from 512 to 259,072 users for scalable security
  • Three user-definable outputs to connect to auxiliary devices such as audible or silent alarms, door locks or lighting systems
  • Ability to write the industry’s most compact biometric template on a card instead of in a database results in higher security and unlimited user capacity
  • Specially formulated antimicrobial coating with silver ions on the platen to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew to mitigate hygiene concerns. The coating is safe and lasts for the life of the product
  • Blue hand outline on the platen facilitates easy enrollment and reduces error rates during verification

 For more information, visit

Marks USA I75 BIO

The Marks USA 175 BIO is a high tech fingerprint recognition system that eliminates the risk of replication or unauthorized use. This unit is combined with the Marks Grade 2 Cylindrical Survivor Lockset and is available in a 26D Satin Chrome finish.  Power is supplied to the Fingerprint Reader and Lockset via 4 “AA” batteries.

This unit accommodates 100 users and has a 4,000-event audit trail. Search time is less than one second. The optical sensor fingerprint reader reads 80 points of a fingerprint as the credential. This setting can be changed using the software to 30 points. This helps users who have hard to read fingers gain access.

Technical Specifications and Features:

FRR (False Rejection Rate): <0.1%

FAR (False Acceptance Rate): 0.001%

• Live fingerprint detection

• Weather resistance outside for -4°F to 122°F; Meets IPX4 Standard.

• Reader installation required 4 thru-bolts and one 1" hole for cables.

• Outside reader housing powder coated aluminum 1-1/2" H x 4-7/8" L x 2-1/8" W.

• Lockset standard ANSI door prep.

• Inside housing ABS plastic powder coated finish.

• 6-digit keypad used for enrolling/deleting users at the door.

• Software (CD included with lockset) connects your BIO lock to your computer for additional programming of your locks and viewing of audit trail, via USB cable (not included).

Software runs on Windows Vista, 2000 XP.

MARKS Grade 2 Cylindrical Survivor Lockset:

• American style lever standard

• Grade 2 cylindrical lock body

• 1-5/8" - 1-7/8" standard door thickness

• Latch: Grade 2, 2-3/4" backset, 1/2" throw

• 3 Hour UL fire rating

• Strike plate: 2-3/4" “T” strike

• Survivor featuring the “Clutch” system helps to prevent lever droop

• Shipped non-handed

• Key Override: Marks “C” Keyway, 6 pin, 2keys, IC Core optional. Also Accepts Best®, Falcon, Medeco®, KeyMarkTM, Schlage®, Corbin & KSP.

For more information, visit

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.