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19 Oct, 2021 | 276 Views

Why Contactless Biometric Time and Attendance Systems Are So Necessary Today?

 

The New, Post-pandemic World Calls for Newer Technologies

The entire world has been suffering greatly due to the spread of novel coronavirus that has affected all areas – from large businesses to schools and from the travel industry to restaurants, each field has encountered huge losses resulting in either shutdown of the entire business or getting broken down in economic terms. Even the methods of security got under scrutiny, where one of the advanced security solutions being used worldwide i.e., biometric identification systems also proved to be a health risk. People started viewing biometric time and attendance systems like fingerprint and palmprint scanners as potential covid virus super spreaders subject to several people touching those devices every time.

Now that speculations of herd immunity getting developed are rife, the world is cautiously moving forward and opening all the business sectors one by one. Despite things returning back to the pre-covid state, the basic threat lingering in the air is, “What if I come into contact with the covid virus?” Say it aloud or not, this feeling does nag you at least once a day.

Schools and colleges aren’t open yet, but employees returning to their offices do face this risk. Even in large, multinational organizations, the most common form of access control and recording time and attendance would be fingerprint attendance systems. If touched by an infected individual, the virus can remain active on the ceramic or plastic surface of the scanner for up to 5 days and this, in turn, can become the center of covid-19 being spread in the premises.

For building a safer environment in the offices, we need to adopt a better, more futuristic biometric attendance management system that allows the least contact possible.

What Are Contactless Biometric Time and Attendance Systems?

Contactless recording of time and attendance means using technology that will partly or completely remove the need for physical touch or bodily contact in any way with biometric time and attendance devices. One of the latest technological innovations in this space, contactless biometric time and attendance systems are being increasingly adopted owing to their substantial utility in the present time.

As contactless biometric employee attendance machines are becoming normalized even for small businesses and replacing fingerprint attendance systems, let’s have a look at the various accessible technologies out there that seem intimidating at first, but are in fact highly useful at the workplace in the current scenario, and easy to use:

Facial/Iris Recognition Devices:

Although this technology has already been existing since the pre-pandemic period, it has gained a lot of popularity post-pandemic as a result of emerging safety concerns because this attendance management system is a touchless one. Face recognition technology uses a picture, video, or other audio-visual feature of a person’s face to identify or authenticate him/her. This method of biometric time and attendance registration measures the face and head, and authenticates the user if the biometrics match those in the system’s database. Biometric facial recognition system, unlike fingerprint identification, uses unique mathematical and dynamic patterns that make it one of the safest and most successful systems available. With constant innovations and developments happening in this space, some manufacturers are coming up with facial recognition tech that detects the face in real-time, even under low lighting or blurry conditions.

Another advanced, but less common biometric attendance management system is iris recognition that recognises people based on patterns found in the ring-shaped region surrounding the pupil of their eyes. Because each iris is unique to a person, it’s an excellent biometric verification tool. While iris recognition is still a niche form of biometric identification, it is expected to grow in popularity over the next few years.

Proximity Cards:

A proximity card is a contactless card that can be read without inserting it into a card reader. You can just tap it slightly on the reader or hold the card in front of it. These cards can be left in a wallet or purse and still function because they don’t require a swipe. Under this system, every employee is given a separate card that would not only mark attendance and exercise access control but also track those tags that are attached to the card through the electromagnetic fields on which the proximity card works. This helps the owner or the administrator keep an eye on employee movement within their premises. Although this is a cost-effective method, misuse of such cards can also be done as they are not ID-restricted. One employee’s card can be used by another without any immediate detection of such an event happening. Therefore, this method is less reliable than the others.

Facial Recognition with Thermal Temperature Mapping:

The most reliable and useful way of recording time and attendance in the present time is facial recognition with thermal mapping. Thermal mapping technology deals with the face recognition system taking a thermal face as an input by using 2D & 3D mapping techniques. Why this is extremely useful in times of a pandemic like covid is because it detects body temperature too. Therefore, it can be programmed to give alerts in case the temperature of an employee has been recorded above the safety levels. At the time of recording employee attendance, such alerts can help in quick decision-making regarding the safety of the employee as well as others by restricting the particular employee’s access.

Where Can Contactless Biometric Time Attendance Systems Be Applied?

Contactless time and attendance management systems can be useful in all sectors like manufacturing plants, corporate offices, educational institutions, hospitals and research labs, banks and financial institutions, etc.

  • Manufacturing plants and medium to big-sized corporate offices commonly use fingerprint attendance systems for marking attendance. This system can be replaced with facial recognition devices to promote a no-touch culture. Even regardless of the pandemic, it is a good practice to apply.
  • Most educational institutions in India still follow the traditional methods of marking attendance. Till now, more focus has been given to science labs / server rooms / faculty offices in terms of installing biometric time and attendance systems, and not classrooms or entrance gates. If not for normal, day-to-day usage, contactless ID methods like facial recognition during exams can prove to be very helpful as every student taking the exam can be authenticated properly and cheating (e.g., an imposter giving the exam on behalf of the student) of any kind can be avoided.
  • Hospitals and research labs need contactless access control and attendance systems the most as the environment in these buildings is highly potent to transfer germs or illnesses if we’re not careful. Replacing fingerprint scanners with facial/iris recognition devices will address this concern and also lend a new level of sophistication.
  • Banks and financial institutions deal with highly valuable instruments on a daily basis. It just is good sense to enhance the security protocols, at least at sensitive/vulnerable access points, with contactless access control and attendance devices to have a fool proof security system in place.

This futuristic shift in marking attendance will give birth to a new era that will be completely based on technology, casting aside the old, traditional ways of doing this activity. It will provide a safer environment where unnecessary physical contact at unknown surfaces would be avoided.

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