Biometrics Going Mobile

According to a recent market research report, the global biometric reader market is expected to grow over 17% per year through 2016. Biometric readers, which recognize fingerprint, palm, face or iris scans, provide a higher level of security than other authentication methods.

Enterprises are increasingly implementing biometrics into thier workforce management solutions for access control and to eliminate both intentional and error-driven time theft, which by industry estimates amount to 1.5% to 10% of gross payroll. Biometric readers offer the only effective means of dealing with buddy-punching, the practice of one worker clocking in or out for another.

We have been implementing biometric timeclock solutions for the past ten years, working with construction companies, shipyards, and other enterprises. Of course, if you have a fixed job site, permanently mounted time clocks make very good sense. But for highly mobile workforces, a different solution was needed.

Responding to customer requests, we recently released a completely mobile biometric solution, consisting of a Windows based laptop with USB connected fingerprint reader. Now a supervisor can set up his PC anytime or anywhere, connect the reader and start clocking in his crew. No need to swipe a badge or enter an employee ID number – just have the worker touch a finger and he or she is instantly identified. The system is connected wirelessly to the PowerTrack server, where the data is consolidated and reviewed.

I think it is safe to predict that we will see more biometric solutions going mobile, as computing continues to migrate to mobile devices. It has been rumored for some time that an iPhone will be released with an integrated fingerprint reader, but it has yet to happen. As well-integrated biometric hardware solutions begin to appear for smartphones and tablets, I expect a very solid demand will appear for these types of offerings as we are already seeing with laptop based solutions.