The ROI of Biometric Employee Time and Attendance

Manual Time and Attendance is a Risk

roi of workforce management technology

Many businesses are still on the fence about whether to adopt biometrics for employee time and attendance. This case study may change your mind.

As more businesses evaluate the use of biometrics for employee time and attendance to replace outdated workforce management solutions, many are still on the fence and remain skeptical about the actual benefits that could be realized. After all, there is a clear distinction between implementing biometrics because it has been positioned as the most effective alternative to eliminate buddy punching, lower payroll costs, and boost employee productivity and accountability and actually realizing a positive return on investment after deployment.

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The Benefits of Integrating Biometrics with a POS Solution

biometric integration with pos solution

Biometric integration with “Point of Sale” (POS) solution will bring much more accuracy and security by preventing employee theft, buddy punching and payroll fraud.

Today’s retail business industry is largely dependent on POS solutions for faster and more effective ways of managing business tasks. POS technology solutions help business owners to manage transactions, cash flow, inventory, and billing and payroll. Today’s POS technology needs to meet the rising demands of the  industry for a secure and efficient system to boost productivity and foster smoother business processes. Therefore, rising issues like employee theft, buddy punching and payroll fraud are accelerating the need to integrate sophisticated technology such as biometrics with a POS solution. Continue reading →

Will Apple Pay (and Touch ID) Help Advance U.S. Consumer Acceptance of Biometrics?

using fingerprint biometrics for secure retail payments

Will the introduction of Apple Pay help advance the use of biometrics for secure retail transactions in the U.S. market?

The following post was written by Arifin Hussain, Executive – SEO, SEM, PPC Business Development & Interactive Marketing Dept. with M2SYS Technology.

U.S consumers entered the biometric based consumer payment space with a big splash through integration of near-field communications (NFC) technology to allow secure wireless payments through a mobile wallet service called Apple Pay. Apple Pay uses Touch ID – a biometric fingerprint authentication technology available on the latest version of Apple’s smartphones to authenticate customers for retail purchases.

Biometric identification is already being used as a security measure in many global verticals such as financial services, healthcare, and workforce management but has been largely left out of the mix as a secure authentication mechanism for retail transactions. Will the recent introduction of Apple Pay via Touch ID help to accelerate acceptance of biometrics among U.S. consumers as a secure identification technology in a retail environment? After all, consumers flock en masse to Apple products as if they were a cult in and of themselves populated by consumers with voracious appetites for new technology.  Unlike other security systems that rely on passwords or payment cards, one of the greatest advantages of biometrics is the individual identification accuracy it provides. Physiological characteristics such as fingerprints, finger veins, palm veins, iris, voice, and facial recognition provide accurate and secure authentication and cannot be easily replicated by criminals.

How Much More Secure Is Biometric Technology?

In the United States, banks have been using biometrics since the mid-2000s to secure self-service access to safe cash deposit boxes for consumers. However, U.S. consumers are worried about privacy and the potential misuse of their captured biometric data specifically with where and how the data is stored and secured.  Despite worries about someone stealing your phone or it being susceptible to hackers, experts say Apple Pay actually adds significant security to your payment transactions, even more than traditional credit cards.

Apple Pay has proved that using biometric to secure retail payments is convenient, safe, and secure as their system requires users to input their VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit card details into their phone and upon receipt, the card network will send a token and the transaction security key to a special chip within the iOS device. In order to complete a transaction, users need to put their fingerprint on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on Apple’s latest smartphones to verify they are who they say they are.  When this credential is accepted, the phone’s token and a transaction security key will be sent to the merchant. The card network will then verify the transaction, pass over the information to the bank issuer for token decryption and then both the token and security key will be accepted by the merchant via NFC.  All process are done by involving three separate parties for quick and secure payment verification.

The user credentials and fingerprint data in the Apple Pay programs are highly encrypted and secured in a chip within the device. Even Apple does not have access to any of the data and purchase history. Therefore, if the phone is lost, an end user can easily turn off the system and remotely wipe out all payment and credentialing information.

Why We May See Growth of Consumer Acceptance on Using Biometrics

Biometrics is a strong technology to help solve the problem of secure and accurate retail payment authentication and eliminate the need for consumers to enter a password, and the use of biometrics is gaining popularity not only in the U.S but also worldwide. For example, in China 2.78 billion retail transactions using biometric authentication have been conducted via Alipay Wallet, the online payment service by the giant B2B marketplace, Alibaba.

Apple’s clout with biometric mobile wallet technology has transformed people to believe in the benefits of using biometrics to secure retail transactions. Biometric payment authentication is a mass scale reality now that Apple has released TouchID and many major banks and national retail chain stores in the U.S. are accepting Apple pay to secure retail purchases. This new biometric based mobile wallet provides an easier way to pay wirelessly and securely with your finger as a payment card alternative. Apple Pay is considered as a convenient solution for retailers to replace the security challenged swipe based payment methods and a more comfortable solution for consumers to pay via fingerprint instead of being worried about lost cards or theft. Apple Pay would also have a positive impact on contextual mobile commerce around couponing, tickets, identity, and the access management industry.

Furthermore, Apple’s success on using secure biometric authentication in the payment system accelerates support to use biometrics as a security measure. A global survey conducted by Unisys of consumer attitudes to using biometrics found a 5% increase in people who favor the use of biometrics as a preferred method of identity verification. Supporters of biometrics were mainly in the North American region (71%) followed by Europe (69%) and the Asia-Pacific region (68%).

The Benefits of Using Biometrics for Consumers

The benefits of biometrics for consumer use are huge, adding security to products and services where it is applicable. Speed of access and accurate authentication is critical to the success of biometric implementations in the retail industry. Consumers have little patience for time-consuming authentication, despite the added security that biometrics technology offers. Here are some key reasons on why consumers may be more likely to accept biometrics for individual identification:

  • Security – Biometric technology has been considered as a high level security solution for governments and businesses for a long time, and providing secure authentication for consumers can help bring more reliable security technologies to the retail industry.
  • Speed and Accuracy – Consumers frequently need to provide their unique authentication credentials to make purchases and biometric technology can provide a faster and more accurate identification solution within moments rather than using traditional payment methods that are more susceptible to fraud.
  • Convenience – Biometric identification methods offer convenience. Biometric physiological characteristics cannot be easily replicated and provide a more convenient authentication credential traditional than passwords or PINS. It can also prevent unauthorized access to any device or information when protected by biometrics.

Conclusion

User acceptance of biometric authentication in e-commerce clearly indicates that security, convenience, ease of use, and greater privacy act as strong motivators when present. Despite worries about privacy and security, the acceptance of biometrics acceptance is gaining momentum for use in retail. Apple Pay can utilize the benefits of biometrics as quick and secure way of retail transaction authorization and promises to boost user acceptance of biometrics among U.S. consumers.

The Antidote to Stress and Worry for Retailers

Retail Smart Guys

In celebration of the National Retail Federation’s Annual “Retail’s Big Show Convention” this week, we welcomed a guest post from Dan Jablons at Retail Smart Guys. Dan was recently our guest on the monthly #biometricchat where he talked about the value of using biometric technology in a retail environment, especially at point-of-sale for employees. For a copy of that chat transcript, please click here.

 

I’d like to tell you that this idea came to me while “contemplating in my study” or something as academic and erudite as that.  Truth is, it just sorta came to me while working with a prospective client.  And after it hit me, I realized that this is the basis for survival for all of us.

The person I was working with was in tears.  Too many bills, not enough sales, and their retail business was in great danger.  This person was in a constant state of unbridled worry, sleepless nights, and economic torture.  I suppose we’ve all been through that to some degree or another, and I really just wanted to help that person through this disaster.

It got me thinking about the causes of such stress and worry.  Granted, sales have been down (although they are picking up in some areas), and times are definitely tougher now than they were years ago.  I suppose there are some people who can just naturally handle the stress better than others, or who can simply shake off the bad news.  But that doesn’t really help the people who need help, who are stressed out and need relief.

That’s when it hit me.  It’s a pretty simple solution, amazingly enough.

Worry and stress happen because of uncertainty.  If you are uncertain that you’ll survive, or how you’ll survive, you will worry because the path to success, freedom, and happier times is not visible to you.  As such, everything you look at becomes a problem, everyone you talk to makes you crazy, and life is just unlivable.  Pretty awful.

So what’s the answer?  The antidote to worry and stress is a solid plan, which followed step-by-step would lead you out of the mess you are in, into success.  Simple, right?

The hard part is coming up with the plan, and I believe that it is a rare individual that can do it alone.  Consider this analogy: if you are lost in the woods, you’d need someone who can see where you are, relative to the main road, to help you find your way out.  You might find your own way out, but you’ll wander those dark scary woods alone for a long time before you make it out, and that’s IF you can make it out.

The plan will come from a variety of resources – for retailers, we collect data from their point of sale system, which helps us see the current situation and all the elements that led to it (what was received, what was sold, what we’re stuck with, etc.).  From there, we can look at the current data and derive a solution that gets the retailer out of trouble.  Sure, it’s not easy, and it’s never a quick fix, but with hard work, patience, and most importantly, a solid plan, you can solve anything.

I’ve actually seen this work by applying it to myself.  If I find myself worried about an action plan, a client, or any other area, I call in the experts.  They help me see what I cannot see.  They help me to know what I don’t know, what I cannot figure out on my own, etc.  It plainly, simply, works.

So if you are a retailer and you are struggling, or are worried or stressed out, get a plan.  Contact me for help.

You can also follow Dan on Twitter @danjab

University of Maine Deploys @M2SYS Palm Vein Scanners for Student Check-In at Dining Halls

Palm vein scanners and multi-biometric software to eliminate students sharing meal plans

The University of Maine

Today we announced that the University of Maine has deployed the M2SYS palm vein scanner with our Hybrid Bio Snap-OnPlatform and Hybrid Bio-Hyperpliance Multi-Biometric Identification Matching Server software for student check-in at their on-campus dining halls. The goal for the deployment is to use the palm vein scanner to more effectively track dining hall traffic and eliminate shared cards where students share their meal plans at a price of $4,100 per academic year.

University of Maine officials chose the comprehensive M2SYS Hybrid Bio-SnapOnsolution because of the fact that it instantly interfaced with their dining hall lunch line point-of-service (POS) software without any code level development on their part. In addition, due to the large size of their student enrollment database and their decision to deploy the palm vein scanner as their biometric hardware of choice, the University also chose to deploy Bio-Hyperpliancewhich is a scalable, hyper-threaded multi-biometric matching server designed to increase matching speeds and boost convenience for large scale deployments.

We are starting to see more and more Universities using the M2SYS palm vein scanner and other biometric identification (finger vein, fingerprint) on their campuses to help increase efficiency, reduce expenses and establish more accountability in areas like employee workforce management and student dining hall lunch line POS. As more Universities across the country catch on to the benefits of using biometrics for identification, we expect this growth to continue.

For a copy of the news release please click here.

Summary of December’s Tweet Chat on Retail Technology and Biometrics (#biometricchat)

Dan Jablons from Retail Smart Guys was the Deccember guest for the M2SYS monthly tweet chat on biometric technology

Dan Jablons from Retail Smart Guys

On Thursday we hosted December’s tweet chat on biometric technology where we welcomed Dan Jablons (@danjab) from Retail Smart Guys to talk about technology in retail. We touched on several topics including:

1. The importance of leveraging POS systems to maximize profits

2. Securing a POS system for PCI compliance

3. Mobile strategies to take advantage of this growing market for goods and services

4. Using technology to better manage inventory

5. The validity of using biometrics for employee ID to lower shrink and raise accountability

Dan shared a lot of good insight on these topics and also provided some helpful links to articles and resources that retailers can reference to understand more about each topic and optimize their environment for maximum profits. On biometrics, Dan is a staunch supporter of using biometric employee identification at point of sale saying that it “removes all confusion and secures sales” adding that “…it stops managers from wasting time finding out who did what.” He even went as far as to say that “…biometrics stops fraud.” He’s right – there really is no other identification technology that allows retailers to tell without a shadow of a doubt which employee is behind a transaction.

For a copy of yesterday’s transcript, please click here.

January’s biometric tweet chat will center on public safety where we will invite a security expert in as our guest and discuss how the use of biometric technology has grown in this sector, its value & performance and what we can expect to see in the future. Save the date — the next chat is scheduled for January the 5th, 2012 from 11 a.m. EST – 12 p.m. If you have any suggestions for tweet chat topic ideas please email me at: jtrader@m2sys.com

We welcome everyone to the chat and look forward to seeing you next month!

Retail Technology for Inventory Management, Customer Data Protection, Mobile Market & Lowering Shrink – #biometricchat – December 1, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST

Using biometrics for employee identification at point of sale to help retailers reduce shrink

Tweet chat on retail technology

When: December 1, 2011

11:00 am EST, 8:00 am PST, 16:00 pm BST, 17:00 pm (CEST), 23:00 pm (SGT), 0:00 (JST)

Where: tweetchat.com (hashtag #biometricchat)

What: Tweet chat on retail technology

Topics: Using retail technology for inventory management, protecting customer data, capitalizing on mobile markets, reducing shrink

We are happy to welcome Dan Jablons (@danjab) from Retail Smart Guys as our guest for December’s #biometricchat on using technology in retail to:

— help better manage inventory

protect customer data

— capitalize on the mobile market for the holidays and beyond

lower shrink

On Ohio State grad, Dan has worked with retailers such as Walmart, Target, JC Penney, American Apparel, Betsey Johnson, Donna Karan, Jimmy Choo, Charles David, Diesel, Oakley, Tumi, Hollywood Bowl, and many others.  He has worked for a clothing manufacturer where he piloted vendor-managed inventory programs, a leading point-of-sale provider (where he installed systems and provided merchandising help to retailers large and small) and internet marketing (where he helped retailers establish a presence on the web.)

Dan will be discussing what technology retailers should be considering when developing strategies for: inventory management, mobile markets, protecting customer data from fraud and theft, and reducing shrink. We will ask Dan his thoughts on using biometric technology for employee identification at point of sale as a strategy to lower shrink and what other retail applications he sees biometrics working with in the future.

Just in case you are interested in participating but are new to Tweet chats, please read this post which outlines the instructions and procedures. We hope that you will join us for the discussion, and please spread the word among your colleagues and friends.

Do you have any questions that you would like to ask Dan? Please send them to: john@m2sys.com or come prepared with your questions, comments and feedback on Thursday, December the 1st!

M2SYS Unites with Retail Pro to Promote Biometrics for Retail Point of Sale

Retail Pro unites with M2SYS Technology to offer biometrics for retailers to help strengthen loss prevention.Yesterday, we announced a new partnership with Retail Pro International to help bring biometric identification technology directly to retailers in an effort to help bolster their loss prevention policies and strengthen PCI compliance.  As an alternative to the traditional swipe card or PIN #, biometrics can also help retailers streamline employee login, create efficiencies and lower costs.  Details of the partnership can be found here.

This partnership will help to continue fueling the growth of biometrics in the retail sector and provide a means to establishing a concrete audit trail to provide irrefutable proof to verify individual identity.  Retail Pro has incorporated the M2SYS Hybrid Biometric Platform into their retail management software and will now offer this feature to retailers seeking to fortify their loss prevention strategies and achieve a higher return on investment.

We are excited to be working with the experts at Retail Pro and look forward to a very fruitful relationship!

Webinar Recap – How Palm Vein Biometrics can Help Strengthen PCI and Workforce Management Compliance

How to use palm vein biometrics to strengthen PCI and workforce management complianceYesterday, Fujitsu and M2SYS hosted a webinar on how palm vein biometrics can help strengthen PCI and Workforce Management (WFM) Compliance. We discussed some common challenges that PCI and WFM non-compliance create as well as how businesses need to identify technology applications that will help to lower risk and create efficiencies.  In addition, we covered discussed how palm vein biometrics can:

 

1.  Replace complicated passwords with a palm scan

2.  Increase record storage security

3.  Establish significant cost savings

4.  Stop employee buddy punching

5.  Improve productivity

6.  Create a concrete audit trail

7.  Reduce payroll errors

8.  Strengthen labor law adherence

A copy of the slides are available on SlideShare by clicking here.  If you would like to hear an audio recording of the webinar, please click on the video below:

 

Does Being Overly Productive Absolve an Employee from Time Theft?

Does employee productivity justify time theft?The negative effects of employee time theft on a company are well documented.  Time theft not only drains profits but it can also lower employee morale, stifle accountability and damage loyalty.  Despite these facts, employees who are overly productive at work may feel that they are entitled to occasionally sneak a couple of extra minutes here and there on breaks or during working hours because they more than make up for it through high productivity.  Their philosophy about time theft is rooted in the misconception that performance above and beyond standard job responsibilities and exceeding established expectations is somehow entitlement to steal time.

Not only is this a fallacy and a ridiculous justification of time theft, but what these employees may not realize is the ripple effect that this type of rationalization can have on other staff through the power of influence.  Overly productive employees tend to be role models within a working environment by setting a good example and proving that with dedication, focus and determination, goals can be met and exceeded.  As role models, they are closely watched by other employees who want to be successful and move up the ladder, mimicking their habits and copying their actions with the hope that it will help them to become more productive too.  However, if a model employee sets an example that occasional time theft is earned by being overly productive, they send the wrong message to others that may be following in their tracks exacerbating the problem and multiplying the negative effects in can have on a company.

As we stated in a blog post last month and a recent White paper on the detrimental effects of time theft,

If everyone in a 100 employee organization took a 15 minute extended lunch each day, that would equate to 1,200 free vacation days per year.”

Justifying employee time theft due to high levels of productivity is a dangerous practice because of the impression that it can leave on other employees and ultimately the negative repercussions it creates for a company.  Instead, be proactive about publicly recognizing and rewarding employees for exceeding expectations to set an example that outperforming goals while following the rules is ethical and a strong motivator to quickly advance in a career.  Work quickly to quash employee habits that center on strong production but occasional time theft so they do not spread to others.

What strategies have you used to stop time theft from highly productive employees?