A Q&A with Anthony Dibbs
Job Title : Technical Account Manager
Company : SystemWare-Pacific
1. How has biometric technology transformed over the last 5 years? What has been some of the key trends and advances that have assisted in this transformation?
Over the last five years, there have been significant advancements in biometric sensor technology, which has allowed for improvements in performance and reliability. In particular, algorithm improvements for facial recognition systems have been dramatic.
As a trend, government agencies around the world have become/are becoming fairly accepting of biometric systems to assist in the governing of their country. For example, biometric systems are being used for immigration, boarder control and law enforcement programs. Locally, the Australian Government is using biometric technology in more and more areas.
There is also a growing acceptance of this type of technology from the commercial sector. Last year, some of the major banks announced they had begun researching biometric systems for use within their banks. As for any technology in today’s world, you could expect to see this sector continue to grow over the next five years as these technological advances become more widely accepted.
2. Can you discuss one of your latest innovative solutions? How does it work and what makes it unique?
We believe that facial recognition systems provide the bestbalance between accuracy,ease of use, and tolerance to environmental variation, as well as theability to provide undisputable records. PSP Security’sAccuFACE® biometric Facial Recognition System, represented in Australia by SystemWare-Pacific Pty Ltd, differs from other biometric solutions as it works in the infrared band. While a common issue with facial recognition systems is the need for efficient lighting, AccuFACE can be used in lighting conditions down to complete darkness. Additionally, AccuFACE is extremely fast, authenticating users within a second and has a very low error rate.
Currently, we are seeing the biggest uptake of this technology from the government sector; however, in recent years there has been a gradual shift in uptake of biometric solutions from the commercial sector. This is mainly being driven by improvements in technology; meaning solutions in the biometrics space are faster, more accurate, and increasingly more affordable.
Let us compare biometric facial recognition systems with other security devices such as a lock, swipe card, or pin pad systems, which have worked to provide security in workplaces in recent times.These systems have not providedreal surety as to who has entered a specific location and what information they were able to access. Security pins can be shared and swipe cards and keys can be lost for example. Indeed, whole user ID’s can be swapped and used by an incorrect person. With biometric systems such as AccuFACE, users can be assured that the person going through a door or accessing particular data is authorised to do so and is indeed the very person with that permission.
AccuFACE has been proven to date to be “spoof proof” and cannot be hacked. This provides extra security over other biometric systems such as Fingerprint Readers or even Retina Scans. For both Fingerprint Readers and Retina scans there is a need for the user to actually touch the device, whereby with AccuFACE there is no need for physical contact. This also makes the system more hygienic.
Biometric systems are also being used as a means to protect anorganisation’s bottom line. It is estimated that intention or accidental time theft accounts for 1.5-10% of an organisation’s payroll. This could be through employees filling in timesheets incorrectly or logging time when they are not actually there. Biometric systems such as AccuFACE can directly link attendance with an individual’s personal record, eliminating the issue of time theft, which can offer real return on investment for many businesses.
3. What should be top of mind for businesses when thinking about their organisation’s security? How important is biometrics to an organisation’s overall security plan?
When an organisation is thinking about their security plan there are three main factors that they need to consider:
- What important assets is the organisation trying to protect?
- What level of risk are they willing to accept?
- And subsequently, how much are they willing to outlay to achieve the desired level of protection for these assets?
The reality is that any security solution is only as good as its implementation. Biometric facial recognition systems should be an essential part of a layered approach to the security plan of any organistion. It provides a greater level of assurance and confidence that the correct person is gaining access to an area or information. Guards and receptionists for example, can get distracted or innocently make a bad judgment call, providing the wrong person with access.
One of the common issues related to biometric systems however, is the view that they are a violation of an individual’s privacy, which is commonly due to a lack of understanding. If an organisation is planning to introduce biometric systems into the workplace, management needs to ensure all staff members are fully briefed and properly educatedon its intended use, its privacy protection policies and principles. In some cases it is necessary to put the team’s minds at ease. Overall, biometric systems, used properly and in addition to the enhanced security aspects, can actually provide information that vindicates individuals against allegations of improper practices in the workplace, as well as providing evidence against aperpetrator.