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Q&A with Simon Meyer, Operations Director at Human Recognition Systems


According to recent reports, the global market for electronic access control is set to grow significantly – to $16.3 billion by 2017 at a CAGR of 7%, to be exact. Biometrics play a major role in this space and new systems are being deployed daily.

Human Recognition Systems is a big player in this space, with particular success in the United Kingdom. I had a chance to talk with Simon Meyer, Operations Director at HRS about the company, its work in the access control space, as well as the company’s trajectory.

Meyer is responsible for the overall day-to-day operations at HRS, with a focus on new product development, quality control and on-going customer maintenance and support. Meyer came to HRS in 2004 from Accenture, and in his time at the company since, has managed and delivered a variety of high profile identity projects and helped to build the organization to deliver biometric projects. The company says this has been fundamental to the success of HRS in the marketplace.

BU: Can you describe Human Recognition Systems’ access control offerings? What are the main selling points?

SM: MSite enables construction firms to accurately identify their workforce and subcontractors and to manage their access rights and site activities, including time and attendance, in accordance with company policies and procedures.
From an enterprise viewpoint it enables construction firms to enforce their company policies at site level and provides a competitive advantage by helping to win contracts through improved subcontractor management, water-tight regulatory compliance, company policy enforcement and best price tenders. By keeping track of key site and workforce data such as the right to work in the UK, penalty points or past health and safety incidents, site safety is boosted and the capacity for employee error or negligence is reduced.

MSite uses hand geometry readers coupled with CSCS cards to create a two-tier authentication, ensuring that the right people are in the right place with the right skills and qualifications.

BU: It’s no surprise that some people are fearful of submitting biometrics for access control and attendance – why do you think that is? What do you do with your offerings to ease that concern?

SM: There are always concerns that people will have their biometrics stolen and used for nefarious purposes, but biometric technology is a proven and fool proof method of validating a person’s identity. We have worked with CSCS to store the biometric data on worker’s individual CSCS cards, ensuring that they own and control their own template.

BU: How widely have your systems been deployed?

SM: We believe that our systems are the most widely used in the UK. We secured the development of the London 2012 Olympic Park and have continued to secure the site during its redevelopment. MSite is currently live on 250 sites and in addition to the Olympic Park it has been used on several £100m plus sites in the UK including London Bridge Station, Victoria Station and Southmead Hospital.

BU: Who are your typical customers?

SM: For our MSite solution it is the Tier 1 construction industry – however, we also have systems such as MFlow that sits within the aviation space, and this system is currently live in six UK Airports including Gatwick and Edinburgh. We also have our MVerify solution for the education market in use by a number of leading higher education institutions and universities.

BU: Can you speak to the UKBA’s Tier 4 requirements, and why your MVerify platform is suitable for compliance?

SM: MVerify is a business information system that enables education institutions to reduce costs, increase education time and support student engagement and retention. MVerify improves engagement with students, leading to better student retention and improved grades through improved attendance.

MVerify provides a convenient and usable solution for education institutions. Tier 4 requirements mean that universities have to report on the attendance of their international students, who have already enrolled their biometric data with the Home Office. The use of biometrics is a proven method of validating an international student’s identity and attendance at a lecture, as required by their visa.

MVerify takes away the burden of manual registers that infringe upon lecture time and require a large amount of manual administration. By simply passing the MVerify device around the lecture hall, the lecture can start immediately with the attendance information automatically uploaded to the university systems.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, HRS recently deployed its MVerify platform at the University of Sunderland’s London campus.

BU: What’s next for HRS?

SM: We have just secured a finance package with Santander and we plan to use part of this funding to purchase additional MSite units, enabling us to secure new, bigger contracts in the construction market.

Our work in the construction, aviation, education and oil & gas sectors continues to grow and we expect to have a very strong end to the year. This new funding will enable us to build on this and really take our business to the next level.

BU: Where do you see the company in five years?

SM: Our approach – of bringing greater accountability into the workplace by ensuring the right person with the right training is safely doing the right work through biometrics – is helping our customers to achieve new levels of safety and performance. It is this ethos that has helped us to achieve a lead position in the aviation and construction industries for what we do.

The new funding from our partner Santander will not only help us to further strengthen our position in the UK, but it will also help establish this success in international markets around the world.

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