Access control systems are the unseen arbiter of the workplace. An efficient access control system is rarely noticed as it controls the flow of people through entry points and buildings, and whether that’s through a passcode or keycard access is entirely up to the user. Access control has come a long way, however, and today’s state of the art system, though seamlessly integrated, just might make you take a second look.
Biometric security sounds like something straight out of Mission Impossible, but in reality the technology has been around for quite some time. Fingerprint technology entered the private sphere around two decades ago and the now ubiquitous technology can be found at workplace time clocks and on our very own smartphones.
The contours and characteristics of the human face are as unique as a fingerprint, and the technology to recognize them is often more seamlessly integrated than a fingerprint scanner. Many facial recognition systems can be retrofitted to existing access control systems and can even be partnered with existing security measures, such as keycards, to enhance the level of security. The most affordable systems are surveillance based, meaning they use information picked up from a camera. The most accurate systems, however, use infrared technology to analyze the face.
Ocular biometrics have eluded the consumer market for years due to price, but that is slowly changing. Just like a fingerprint, your iris structure is completely unique to you. Iris recognition technology uses mathematical pattern recognition to map the incredibly complex structure surrounding your pupil. Why would you use an iris scan over say, a fingerprint scan? Iris recognition (as well as facial recognition) requires no additional effort from the user, while fingerprint and palm scanners require the user to physically interact with the system.
If you’ve ever forgotten your passcode or misplaced your access fob, you’ll understand the convenience of biometric security. But there’s another form of access control that’s on your person most of the time: your smartphone. The majority of us use our mobile devices for integral parts of our work and personal life that it’s hard to imagine leaving home without it, which is why more recent access control systems have come to market that enable your smartphone to be used like any other form of verification. This technology is also typically cheaper than biometric measures and nearly as secure due to the level of encryption on modern smartphones.
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