How SMBs can use EyeLock’s high-accuracy biometrics and temperature screening for safe reopening
Businesses resuming operation after COVID-19 lockdown face unprecedented challenges to keep their employees and customers safe.
To deal with these challenges, companies are rapidly evaluating touchless biometric modalities like iris and other technologies for identification and body temperature checks. Unfortunately for many, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, what they are finding is that many of the products recently launched to the market are not practical solutions for them, due to issues with accuracy and performance, user comfort level, and cost.
Identification and body temperature scanning solutions that are inaccurate risk not only allowing unauthorized individuals or people who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms into the workplace, they risk doing so despite creating the impression that the environment is being more carefully controlled than it is. Therefore, it is critical to be sure that the temperature sensor technology is very accurate.
Workplaces in all verticals are planning for or already deploying body temperature checks to meet evolving workplace safety mandates. It is one of few certain steps they can take: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), on its own for 48 hours or accompanied by any one of nine symptoms, as the original criteria for “reportable illnesses” in its guidance to airlines. The Employment Opportunity Commission recommends that employers check employee temperature and bar those with elevated temperatures from entering. The EyeLock nano iXT with its optional iTemp thermal temperature sensor provides the tools not only to set the threshold temperatures but can be used to deny access into the facility.
Achieving the full intended effect of these measures means choosing technology that is effective and accurate. Accurate identification and body temperature screening is achievable and affordable for organizations of all sizes, not just global enterprises with dedicated IT and health and safety teams, if they know where to look.
While there have been many products released onto the market to perform contactless authentication and temperature screening over the past several months, they are not all the same. Nor are they all equally accurate.
The wide variety of thermal sensors available has led some companies to select sensors which may not be accurate enough to be appropriate to the use case of human body temperature screening for the prevention of illnesses. Each error or false negative elevated body temperature reading represents preventable risk that has not been avoided. At the same time, each false negative identification by a system used for access control causes frustration for the employee or customer, and lost productivity.
For this reason, among others, iris recognition may be preferable to facial recognition-based systems for many businesses. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) runs tests for both facial recognition (Face Recognition Vendor Tests, or FRVT) and iris recognition (Iris Exchange, or IREX), which clearly show the superior accuracy of leading iris recognition algorithms compared to face biometrics.
Accuracy in biometrics is shown through False Acceptance Rate (FAR), which is how often a non-match is mistakenly accepted, and False Rejection Rate (FRR), which is how often a correct match is not recognized.
EyeLock uses its own algorithm which has an FAR of one in 2.25 trillion when using both eyes, and one out of 1.5 million using a single eye. With the exception of DNA, there is no human biometric identifier that is more accurate than iris is.
The company recently launched its EyeLock nano iXT, co-developed with partner CMITech, to “raise the performance bar” for biometric recognition.
Some temperature sensors advertise accuracy within 0.5 degrees Celsius, which means they are not sensitive enough to be sure that someone who reads a normal temperature is actually asymptomatic.
iTemp from EyeLock is a touchless LWIR body temperature scanning module exclusively for use with the EyeLock iXT. The iTemp features a highly accurate Lepton thermal sensor from Flir, which is an industry-leading Longwave Infrared (LWIR) sensor. The Lepton is sensitive to within 0.05 degrees Celsius. Many of the sensors integrated into new products for COVID-19 protection, however, are not provided by leading sensor-makers, as manufacturers attempt to hold price down by compromising on accuracy.
Challenges for SMBs
Even with the right technology there are numerous challenges for small businesses as they reopen. These include cost, privacy concerns, the need for contactless processes, and integrating the technology with existing systems. All of these challenges need to be met, however, as temperature checking is increasingly mandatory to meet the expectations of staff and customers, and could prevent the business from having to complete halt operations again.
Temperature checks will mostly be used for entrance to a general area like a building or an office, while spaces within the larger area may also require access control, but not further health screening. For most SMBs, therefore, a modular architecture that allows body temperature scanning to be paid for only where it is required will be most cost-effective.
The EyeLock iTemp module for iXT has an MSRP of $825, and as a module added to the biometric device, as few as are needed can be deployed. Customers already using the company’s iXT device can therefore integrate the capability with minimal overhead investment.
Privacy consideration are also important. Businesses need to store temperature information separately from personnel files, and treat it as sensitive, confidential medical information, law firms like Fox Rothschild advise.
Many solutions recently announced feature facial recognition along with temperature screening. Companies may be concerned with the comfort level their employees have with facial recognition, due to all the recent privacy concerns surround this technology.
System deployment and integration is often a pain point for SMBs. A single device that can carry out both biometric and temperature scans, however, makes the process faster and more user-friendly. Again, a modular approach provides significant advantages. The best solution for a given business should also work with its existing technology, and be easy for employees to use.
This is why the EyeLock iXT also comes with a built-in card reader, easy integration with access control systems, and usability features like a touchscreen, automatic capture and support for nine languages.
Businesses, particularly SMBs, face difficult decisions as they put processes in place for safe resumption of relatively normal work. Biometric systems that provide contactless, highly accurate identification and body temperature scanning are available, with a price point and format that makes them well worth the investment for even small, cash-strapped organizations.