Biometric systems first started surfacing in the later half of the 20th century, even though they didn’t become common until the 21st century. Biometric systems are commonly used for employee management as well as security systems. There are many advantages to biometric systems, but also a couple of disadvantages.
Before getting into the advantages of biometrics let us explain what biometrics are exactly. Biometrics are the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s physical and behavioral characteristics. Biometrics are used mainly for identification and access control to identify individuals. Facial recognition, retinal scans, and digital fingerprints are just a few of the latest examples of this technology.
A big advantage to using biometrics in digital fingerprinting is that it’s extremely secure and, if the fingerprinting is done correctly, extremely accurate. The fact is that you can’t fake or alter your fingerprints. Short of cutting off your finger, your fingerprint is yours. No two people’s fingerprints are the same, so there’s never a chance of mistaken identity.
For employers who choose not to use timesheets, a scanner using biometric fingerprints are a great way to go. The employee simply touches a scanner to clock in or out. All employee record keeping can be done electronically simply by using biometrics.
Biometric digital fingerprint scanning is also the best method for running background checks. It’s faster, cleaner, and more convenient than traditional ink fingerprinting that was the standard for years. Fingerprinting for background checks using ink cards can take weeks to mail in and process and are prone to smudging. Digital fingerprints are sent electronically and the results of the background checks are typically received within three days.
Even personal electronic devices such as iPhones are using fingerprint scanning to unlock the device. You have a choice between the traditional passcode or using your fingerprint, and you can store more than one fingerprint – so if more than one person uses the device you can store a fingerprint for each person. You cannot use your fingerprint to unlock it after rebooting the device, but at any other time it’s a simple way to unlock the phone.
One of the biggest disadvantages to biometric fingerprint scanning is the cost of the machine, but any new technology implementation is costly. Currently the cost is likely what’s preventing more companies from using it instead of timesheets as well as for security in their buildings. On the other hand, one major benefit to fingerprint scanning for building security is that you can choose who can go through which doors, and if a person doesn’t have access to a particular area of the building, they can’t access it – because they can’t fake their fingerprint! It’s also much better than using passcode, which can easily be accessed by unauthorized individuals.