“Hands-free” technologies have existed for some time, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed – actually, supercharged – interest in contactless identification devices for access control and similar needs. It’s pretty clear why – in the past, contactless technologies may well have been considered a convenience item, or a luxury item. Today, they are being recognized as a critical health and safety item that can quite literally save lives. That’s quite a status upgrade!
At the same time, contactless technologies, and contactless biometric technologies in particular, have made tremendous progress both in terms of capabilities and accuracy in their ability to perform identity confirmation. This makes them ideal for use in access control systems, time and attendance systems, and similar applications where fast, touch-free identity confirmation would be preferred, cutting down the chances of contagious disease transfer.
Here’s an overview guide to two of the best available contactless identity confirmation technologies, along with some tips on choosing the right one for your needs.
The conversation has to start with facial recognition. For the purposes of access control, time and attendance, and similar applications, facial recognition is an automated system that compares a detected face, presented for identification, with a stored set of authorized facial data. These systems cannot detect the identity of people that are not registered in the system. If a match is found, then the facial recognition system reports that match to whatever systems it is integrated with.
Facial recognition technology has come a long way since it first came to market several years ago and has become more familiar to general populations by being built into smart phones and other consumer and business products. Sensor and software advancements have dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition, while bringing the cost down to a range where it can be deployed for general access and security purposes.
Here are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating facial recognition readers:
One exciting non-contact identity confirmation technology that is gaining traction is the use of smartphones as credentials. With this technology, a person wanting access brings their smartphone into close proximity with the reader. A non-contact wireless link is recognized, and access is granted to authorized staff. A fairly short operating distance, typically 10 centimeters or so, prevents unintentional triggering.
At first glance, the use of smartphones as credentials may seem to be similar to the use of proximity access cards, and in some senses it is. Identification is made on the basis of something you have – but there are important differences. First, staff tend to track and guard their phones very carefully, so not only would a misplaced phone be recognized quickly, but there are built-in features for many phones that would allow for quick location and retrieval. Second, the communication between the phone and the reader is more secure than card formats such as RFID, so it is difficult or impossible for someone to intercept or steal the access data. Organizations like these advantages, and when the cost of access cards can also be eliminated, the choice to shift to mobile access is easy.
Here are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating mobile access systems:
We hope this short overview was useful to you. If you have further questions about these topics, please contact us and we will be glad to help.
Attributed to: Stephen G. Sardi, Vice President of Workforce Management, Suprema America LLC.