Is Biometric Access Control the Future?
01 October 2021
It has long been said within our industry that the future of access control will be by the most secure form of credentials being our own personal biometric data. We all have our own unique patterns of fingerprints, veins in our palms, eyes and faces and these enable biometric controlled access control doors to open and monitor our movements throughout a given day. The main question we hear is reliability and is the technology able to meet the challenges of a busy working environment right now?
What are the main types of Access Control?
There are three main types of access control, these may come in different shapes, sizes and read technologies but the means of access break down in to the following three types:
The most common credential in the form of a fob, access card, mobile app and ID Card.
These credentials would be a memorised PIN or password which are sometimes used in conjunction with a physical credential
These credentials are unique to each individual which would be in the form of fingerprints, veins in our palms, eyes and faces
Out of the main three types of credentials and without question, unique credentials being used to access buildings and workplaces is the most secure and offers the highest level of identity authentication. Physical credentials can be lost, and Memory credentials can be forgotten, both these forms of credentials come with their own complications and risks.
Traditional Authentication vs Biometric Authentication
More traditional types of authentications in the forms of Key fobs have digital data linked to and individual loaded on and are the most insecure forms of access control. As said previously they are easy to lose or forget and, in some cases, easy to clone. As a physical credential, they are not able to authenticate a person’s identity in real time and they are often shared amongst employees and all too often when lost, they go unreported leaving a premises with a real security risk. The same can be said about Passwords and PINs, they are easily forgotten, and all too often shared with unauthorised individuals. Even with the more recent uptick in mobile credential use, we have seen mobile phones that are not password protected and even shared amongst colleagues to gain access to areas.
With Biometric access control, this offers the highest level of identity authentication as these physical attributes and feature are completely unique to the individual. They cannot be cloned, forged, forgotten, or shared with others and with this it offers a totally secure form of access.
What are the most common types of Biometric Access Control?
Fingerprint Biometric Reader
Probably the most common form seen, a fingerprint Biometric reader offers a high level of accuracy as well as a very low false rejection rate making it a very reliable form of access control technology. It is very well understood and well received within the marketplace and industry as the ‘go to’ form of biometric technology.
Palm Vein Biometric Scanner
The Palm Vein Biometric Scanner utilises infrared light to map and read the vein structure within an individual’s hand. It is extremely accurate with a very low false rejection rate. Because it scans internally, it offers an extremely high level of security but, at this time, it is not widely used as a Biometric solution in most buildings or workplaces.
Iris Recognition Scanner
Iris recognition or iris scanning is the process of using visible and near-infrared light to take a high-contrast photograph of a person’s iris. They can read an Iris up to 25 centimetres (with some new technologies, even further) and can offer very fast results with a minimal false match rate. As secure and highly accurate Iris Recognition Scanners are, they also are classed as highly specialised and can be very expensive to install and maintain.
Facial recognition is a method of identifying or verifying the identity of an individual using their face, it maps the human face by measuring the distance between the eyes, the distance from the chin to the forehead, and other identification points. This is then stored in a database as a facial print and when a person approaches the cameras capture the authorised person with a match the door will automatically unlock and open and if not authorised entry will be denied. Facial recognition is a fast-improving technology and studies have shown that 99.7% of faces were matched correctly and only 2.6% of attempted entries were rejected.
Other considerations when thinking about potentially installing Biometric access control is:
They can be expensive, the technology is improving with its price point but still is a more expensive option over a more traditional access control offer
They can be more challenging to install, more thought needs to be put in to the installation and operation of biometrics ensuring that alignment and calibration is carried out correctly as well as regular maintenance of the units are carried out
Integration, if it’s a new installation from the ground up then the design can incorporate the requirements needed to utilise Biometrics, if its an add on to an existing system thought needs to go into what hardware and software is currently in place and how the Biometrics will perform on that system.
Biometrics bring the highest level of automated, identity verification to our access control systems. There are many different options on the market with different price points and offering different accuracy levels that integrate with many access control manufacturers on the marketplace. The technology continues to improve and offer more added benefits to the user experience. It’s a technology on the up and starting to become more common place for businesses wanting to increase the safety and security of there workers and workplaces a like.
Are you interested in introducing a Biometric Access Control System into your business premises? Contact our experts here, or call us on 01702 293157 so we can discuss your security needs.