Please enjoy this guest blog post from our Partner, Horizon Software. Horizon Software International is an innovative global leader in software, services and technologies for food service operations. The company, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner headquartered near Atlanta, GA, offers comprehensive food service solutions including Point of Service (POS), inventory management, menu planning, procurement, production, digital signage, temperature management, integrated vending, and more.
This post was written by Amy Huff, SNS, Vice President, Marketing at Horizon Software.
Many schools are realizing that biometric identification is no longer a high-tech futuristic concept and that it can significantly increase serving line speeds in the cafeteria. Biometrics is a practical and affordable method of identification, removing the drawbacks associated with forgotten PINs, lost cards, and the potential for misuse due to bullying and other factors.
There are significant benefits to using biometrics for student identification:
Improve efficiency – Serving line speeds improve significantly when using biometrics rather than traditional identification methods. With biometrics, schools are able to avoid backed-up lunch lines due to misplaced cards or forgotten PIN codes. One school system tested PIN pads versus biometrics and found that biometric identification was two minutes faster per 100 transactions. With school cafeteria lines processing hundreds or thousands of students, those minutes really add up and make a difference in overall line speed.
Save time and money – A school’s staff no longer has to spend valuable time reissuing PIN codes and replacing forgotten, lost or stolen swipe cards. And, it’s not just time they are saving; schools also no longer have the cost of producing the cards.
Boost security and protect privacy – Unlike ID cards and PINs, students cannot steal another student’s biometric template to gain access to another student’s account.
With all these benefits, why aren’t all districts using biometric technology? The answer is that the biggest obstacle to using biometric technology is the misconception parents have in regard to what biometric technology is.
The misconception that students are being fingerprinted often hinders the adoption of this form of identification. It is important to convey to school districts that particular care has been taken to ensure personal privacy. Fingerprint images are NOT stored and the data is stored in a proprietary format, using secure encryption.
Instead of storing fingerprint images, the system stores only templates that are a numeric representation of the individual fingerprint. Templates can be used for matching, but the actual fingerprint cannot be reconstructed. Schools can rest assured that fingerprints are not stored anywhere and fingerprints cannot be recreated from the encrypted digital templates.
Beyond conveying this to school districts, it is even more important that the school districts communicate to parents when implementing biometric solutions. Once they realize their children are not being fingerprinted and that this technology makes it very difficult for another student to gain access to another’s meal account, it is easy for them to see the benefits.
Fingerprint recognition is becoming the recommended method for education environments in secondary schools because it is reliable, cost-effective, easy to use, and secure.