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Do I need a biometric systems integrator for my deployment?

Do I need a biometric systems integrator for my deployment?

Businesses around the world are deploying biometric systems to make entry into workplaces touchless, track employee time and attendance, and secure access to corporate data and networks in the context of hybrid workforces and work-from-home mandates.

In some cases, organizations are able to leverage tools and capabilities they already have, such as security cameras at the entrance to a facility, and in some cases they are starting from scratch. In either situation, getting the most out of biometric technology means effective systems integration.

But who should carry out this task? Integrating biometrics into a system can seem deceptively straightforward, with many software and hardware solutions marketed as being ‘plug and play.’ Even for solutions where the tag-line holds true, however, it is not enough for businesses investing in advanced technology to merely be able to ‘play.’ Making a system work for the business and its employees typically requires careful set-up and configuration.

A biometric systems integrator can perform this set-up and integration, and is better-positioned to do so quickly and effectively than in-house IT staff, who would have to dedicate significant time to becoming experts in a skill outside of their business’ core.

Arana Security is often called upon to build customized applications, the company’s Sales Director Ali Nasser tells Biometric Update that flexibility and customization are the characteristics that most successful integrations share.

“Often off-the-shelf solutions don’t fit customers requirements exactly and they end up with solutions that don’t flow and have security gaps,” Nasser explains. “Being able to integrate customizable application with state of the art technology, allows us as an integrator to provide solutions that are a better fit.”

What an integrator does

Getting the most out of advanced technologies like biometrics in an enterprise environment takes more than installing some equipment and connecting it to the Wi-Fi. Configuration matters for both hardware and software, and effective deployment means doing both in a way that maximizes accuracy and ease of use.

All biometrics require good-quality input data to achieve the performance organizations are paying for. Facial recognition and authentication systems, for instance, might regularly fail to match employees if the camera is set at too much of an angle or the lighting is poor.

Integrators ensure that biometric capture devices work with the back-end systems and other devices, such as doors, as they are supposed to, but their greatest value is frequently found in supporting flexible deployments. Many organizations chose to deploy devices from different manufacturers at entrances or workstations, or need granular control over systems distributed across locations or even countries.

This flexibility also allows integrators to architect systems to meet the diverse business requirements of customers of various sizes in different verticals.

Ali Nasser says the key to the flexibility Arana offers is in the modular architecture approach the company takes to building solutions.

To build those solutions, Arana supplies and integrates devices from the world’s leading biometric technology providers like Idemia, Suprema and Thales.

What to look for in an integrator

Providing top devices and making them work with each other and existing systems is only part of what an effective integrator does.

Most customers will want an integrator that provides end-to-end solutions, rather than partial integrations. The number of technology providers that can integrate a door-locking system with a biometric endpoint is much larger than the pool of those that can also tie those systems into access logs and time and attendance applications, and do so while meeting performance and data residency requirements.

Customized applications make up a critical part of the end-to-end solution for most businesses.  Customization allows organizations to adapt solutions for automated report generation, use bespoke apps or control what data is collected.

Top systems integrators also regularly refresh their portfolios to reflect the latest developments in both biometric technology and evolving business needs.

The new BioWave Management system from Arana gives an example of how the company’s modular approach works in practice.

BioWave’s 3 applications

The platform provides a 3-in-1 management system for biometric access control, time and attendance management, and payments, deployed either on-premises or to the cloud. The capabilities are deployed alone or in any combination, with the same flexibility and customization provided by leading integrators.

With devices like the Idemia VisionPass and Morphowave Compact for contactless face or fingerprint biometrics, or SIGMA Lite and Lite+.  Arana has also added support for Suprema devices to the BioWave platform, and is considering adding other manufacturers.

Arana uses BioWave for biometric access control in its own UK and Egypt offices, and Ali Nasser says one of the solution’s early adopters is a warehouse, which uses BioWave for both access control and employee time and attendance tracking. The same solutions can provide multi-location authentication, with users enrolling their biometrics only once, with data synchronized to other devices.

Nasser tells Biometric Update that the target market for BioWave’s payment module is hospitality venues like stadiums. The module can also perform age verification, and an e-ticketing function can be added.

A use case for all three might be a business with a corporate campus that includes a canteen or restaurant and wants to include payments.

“We’re really excited to be able to bring a solution like BioWave to the market, with it being a modular system there is a vast amount of functionality that can be added depending on the client’s requirements, which can all be managed from one portal,” Ali Nasser says.

Integrators have an important and often-underappreciated role to play in ensuring that biometric system deployments are successful. Organizations seeking to deploy or upgrade an enterprise-quality access control, time and attendance or payments system can ensure a good return on their investment by leveraging domain-specific expertise to make sure their technology not only works, but works the right way for them.

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