Biometric time and attendance systems are no longer relegated to the realm of the silver screen – they’re real, they’re here, and they can have big benefits for your business
We’ve all seen it in the movies. The cyborg protagonist of RoboCop identifying villains via face recognition, or Captain Kirk and Spock of Star Trek communicating with the ship’s tech via voice ID. And anyone familiar with Blade Runner will remember how iris recognition was used in that movie, too, to identify the humans from the subversive’replicants’.
But technology has come a long way since the 1980s, and biometrics are no longer confined to the imaginations of Hollywood scriptwriters. In fact, biometrics can now play a crucial role in helping you streamline your workload, manage your staff, and cultivate increased workplace productivity. But how?
Through biometric time and attendance systems, that’s how. These allow your staff to clock in for work without having to remembering a key fob, card, or passcode. Your staff can sign in with the press of a finger, the wave of a palm, or through the unique biometric data of their voice, irises, or retinas.
Biometric time and attendance systems are also a secure, more convenient way of managing your staff’s attendance and absences, and can even simplify your HR and payroll efforts, too.
But which one is right for your business? Read on, as we break down each kind of biometric time and attendance system – with a few product recommendations thrown in, too. Alternatively, if you’re ready to start comparing biometric time and attendance system providers, we can help.
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What is a biometric time and attendance system?
A biometric time and attendance system is an employee clocking solution that not only ensures workers can be tracked accurately, and therefore paid for the correct amount of hours, but removes the risk of “buddy punching” by using physiological recognition methods to verify a particular individual.
In a matter of seconds, a member of staff can be recognised, clocked in or out, and have their on-site whereabouts confirmed. These methods are completely safe and data can be stored in numeric codes instead of recognisable patterns to increase confidentiality.
An added benefit of biometric systems is that they can also be set up to improve workplace security when installed across different parts of a site, allowing access into certain areas only to accredited individuals.
In the case of time and attendance software, it is likely that only verification, not identification, will be required: an employee is matched against the relative record within the HR database, and their presence on-site is recorded by the system.
So what types of biometric recognition are available to businesses in the UK, and how does each type work in the context of time and attendance?
▶ Read more: Top time and attendance software reviews
Facial recognition software works by identifying individual facial characteristics such as the amount of space between the eyes, position of the nose, cheekbones and jaw line. Widely used for security purposes, its adaptability to clocking in and out processes makes it a good choice for workforce time-keeping and attendance management.
Recognition takes place very quickly, usually within a couple of seconds, and this type of biometric system is more hygienic than fingerprint and hand scanners.
This is the most common type of biometric system, and fingerprint scanners are now common in many walks of life. A fingerprint scanner will compare the ridges and furrows present on an individual’s fingertip to their record in a database, and verification/identification takes place within a few seconds. Ease of use and fast recognition makes this type of biometric software popular with all sizes of business.
And, though the technology is pretty advanced, you won’t have to worry about it breaking the bank. Fingerprint recognition solutions are some of the cheapest time and attendance systems on the market, starting from around £354 per unit.
Keep your finger on the pulse of your business: Fingerprint scanners let your staff clock in with ease, while streamlining your own workload
Retina and iris scanning
Blood vessels at the back of the retina are unique to each individual, and a retina or iris scan will take around 15 seconds to complete. Iris recognition is generally considered to be the most accurate method of verifying an individual, although as a concept, it is relatively new. Blind people can use this technology as it is not sight-dependent. Even identical twins do not have the same iris ‘pattern’.
Voice recognition is occasionally used for workforce management, but performance of these systems can be hit and miss, depending on the audio quality. The user listens to a series of words or numbers and then has to repeat it. An individual’s acoustic patterns are unique, and these are picked up by the voice recognition software along with any present dialect or accent.
Hand geometry recognition
Also known as palm recognition, his type of biometric technology is commonly used in industries where working conditions are unclean, or harsh. Features such as the length of fingers and width of the hand are used to identify an individual, and although hand geometry is not as unique as fingerprints, this type of biometric system is a popular choice for time and attendance software in some industries.
Hand scanners work by taking a picture of a hand after it is placed on a flat surface, with fingers aligned correctly. The resolution of each scanner determines the detail picked up, with 100dpi being low resolution and 400 dpi, high resolution. This type of biometric device is commonly used for identity verification, and is popular for time and attendance purposes.
So, what’s next? Well, if your business could benefit from a reduced administrative burden, and a quicker, more secure, and more convenient way of managing staff access and hours, then it could be time to invest in a biometric time and attendance system.
Fortunately, here’s where we can help. To find the best time and attendance system for your business, just fill in the form at the top of this page. We’ll analyse many different options and find the best suppliers for your business, in your area.
If you are looking for a simpler time and attendance solution, there are many other methods to explore, with a range of capabilities and features.