Biometric Modalities: What makes a “Good Biometric?”

The ear as a biometric identifierThe following is a guest post from Jason Hodge, Vice President of Business Development for SecurLinx.  SecurLinx specializes in networked biometric deployments and multi-modal biometric integration.  You can read more about biometric technology on the SecurLinx blog which can be found at

Iris, Retina, Face, Fingerprint, Finger vein, Palm geometry, Palm vein, gait, ear, DNA, body odor, voice, typing rhythm, signature recognition.  The range of human physical traits and behaviors offers fertile ground for scientists interested in quantifying them for use in identifying individuals.

Two main forces have influenced the selection of biometric identification modality from the near limitless choices: Convenience and Necessity.

Face and fingerprint have been by far the most convenient from both scientific and deployment perspectives.

Scientists need data to develop the algorithms that biometric systems use to identify individuals.  For face and finger, data was never a problem.  Bureaucracies have been collecting both for a century.

In deployment, it’s easy and convenient for participating individuals to interact with the technology.

Necessity, playing its usual role, has driven the development of other biometric modalities.  From a development perspective, given enough data, time and money, I suspect any definable aspect of the human anatomy could be used as a biometric identifier.

In instances where teeth are all that is known about an individual, they are used for high confidence identification.

As long as the telephone is with us as a ubiquitous communication tool, there will be significant demand for voice recognition no matter the challenges.

In order to displace finger/hand and face/eye biometrics in wide scale deployments, the newer biometric modalities will have to out-compete them on two levels, in the lab and in the market.  But in order to thrive as high value-added tools in highly specialized deployments they just need to help solve a high value problem.

Any biometric modality can be useful, especially if it’s the only one available.

Jason can be reached at Mail: Twitter: @SecurLinx URL:

The Top 5 Reasons To Consider Fujitsu PalmSecure Biometric Technology Over Fingerprint

fingerprint readerOk, so you readily admit you are a biometric novice.  You know that biometric identification is growing in prominence, offers many unique features and characteristics not available with other technologies like barcoding and personal identification numbers (PINs) and is an affordable option.  However, what isn’t so clear is the difference between biometric readers in addition to the when, where and why of their use.  Let’s try and shed some light on that by comparing fingerprint to palm vein biometric readers.

Fingerprint biometrics is the most widely used modality in the industry hands down.  Well over half of all the biometric deployments across the globe are for fingerprint technology and it works very well in most situations.  Despite this, fingerprint biometrics is not normally viewed within the industry as a “one-size-fits-all” solution.  There are some subtle variables to recognize and keep in mind if shopping for a biometric system and considering fingerprint as your choice of reader.  Variables that may not be obvious at first but could very well cause you to choose palm vein biometrics instead as the optimal hardware for your deployment.

You may not have considered these top 5 reasons to evauluate palm vein biometrics over fingerprint, but we assure you that they are important reasons to consider and deserve careful review before moving forward:

Reason #1 – Your workforce tends to have unfavorable skin integrity.

Many people work in industries that require the use of tools, chemicals and machines.  Industries that are heavily dependent on the hands of their workers which may compromise skin integrity.  Cuts, scrapes, scars, bruises, dryness, roughness, moisture and other skin conditions can render an individual’s fingerprint unreadable which can cause difficulties when using a fingerprint reader. Consider using palm vein technology instead which does not rely on skin integrity but instead uses near infrared light to map the vein pattern beneath your palm and uses that as the template for your biometric identification.

Reason #2 – Hygiene is of particular concern to you and your staff.

Fingerprint readers require direct contact with the sensor to scan and identify an individual.  Direct contact can lead to periodic reader cleansing especially in environments that see a high volume of use.  Palm vein readers require direct contact with a hand guide placed over the sensor, and theoretically a successful scan could be executed by simply hovering over the device. For those utilizing the hand guide however, the device is easy to clean and keep sanitary without compromising the performance of the actual biometric sensor.

Reason #3 – Maximizing return on investment.

Because fingerprint readers require direct contact with the sensor (see #2) which accelerates wear and tear on the device, the longevity of the reader tends to be shorter.  Since palm vein readers do not require direct contact with any sensor to capture biometric credentials, they tend to last longer helping you to achieve a higher return on your initial investment.


Reason #4 – The stigma associated with fingerprint readers.






Fujitsu palm vein reader

M2-PV Palm Vein Reader







One of the most important aspects of deploying a biometric identification system is communicating to employees the safety and integrity of capturing and storing their biometric template data.  There are those who consider the capture of their fingerprint visceral because of the stigma that an image being stored has the potential to be misused or stolen.  Palm vein technology uses near infrared light to read vein patterns beneath the skin so the system is non-traceable – i.e. there is no latent footprint when a person enrolls and uses this type of system.  Because vein patterns exist inside of the body, it is practically impossible to recreate someone’s biometric template.

Reason #5 – Palm vein technology is affordable.

For all of the distinct advantages that palm vein technology offers, it is an affordable alternative to fingerprint.  You may think that switching to a biometric modality that uses near infrared light through a contactless sensor to map a vein pattern beneath the skin might be wildly more expensive than fingerprint but this is not the case.  We have examples of customers who were originally using fingerprint and decided to switch to palm vein technology for one or more of the reasons listed above.

Contact us to learn more about how Fujitsu’s palm vein technology can work to your advantage if you are considering a biometric system or if you have a current system that uses fingerprint technology.

We’d like to hear from our palm vein users – how has using Fujitsu’s palm vein reader been an asset to your biometric system deployment?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.



Mizan Rahman Recognized as 2011 Technology Innovator by InfoWorld

Earlier last week, Mizan Rahman (M2SYS CEO/CTO) was recognized by InfoWorld as a 2011 Technology Leader for creating Hybrid Biometric Platform, a multi-modal biometrics system that supports fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein and iris recognition. Details of the award and information about why Mizan created Hybrid Biometric Platform can be found here:

We are proud that Mizan was recognized as a Technology Innovator for creating Hybrid Biometric Platform, a true testament to the will, creativity and hard work that Mizan injected into the project and the biometric software engine that resulted. Mizan is honored and humbled by the recognition from InfoWorld and even more pleased that many of our customers are actually using Hybrid Biometrics and reaping the vision that Mizan had for this system.

Congratulations Mizan!

M2SYS Exhibiting At This Year’s American Payroll Association Congress Trade Show

PC-based biometric time clockIf you plan on attending the 29th Annual American Payroll Association (APA) Congress this week in Salt Lake City, please stop by our Booth (#1019) to see firsthand how RightPunch PC-based biometric time clock identification technology can interface with your payroll software to help cut costs, increase efficiencies and boost productivity.  We will be showcasing fingerprint, finger vein and palm vein biometric technology with demos and plenty of experts on hand to answer your questions.

With the ability to now seamlessly interface with Kronos, ADP, TimeForce (Qqest), Empower and Insperity workforce management platforms, RightPunch is an affordable PC-based biometric time clock that has the potential to save 2%-4% of gross payroll.  Plus, it speeds up the check-in/check-out process to boost employee productivity and it is more safe and efficient than ID cards or personal identification numbers.  RightPunch also eliminates employee time theft, reported to cost U.S. companies nearly $400 billion per year.

The hallmark themes of the APA Congress are “Competence, Compliance, Community” so what better time to educate yourself on biometric technology, which ensures compliance with labor tracking laws and offers so many benefits and a strong potential to maximize your return on investment.

Take a look at this video to learn more about one of our customers who recently implemented RightPunch biometric identification with their Kronos time and attendance software to replace paper time sheets and instantly saw a 90% efficiency increase:




Can You Be Fingerprinted Without Your Knowledge? A New Technology Suggests That You Can.

Fingerprint scanner that can read prints from a distanceIf you are a biometrics news connoisseur like us then you are constantly combing through news about the market for knowledge of new technologies, market trends, consumer sentiment, growth projections and anything else significant.  It can sometimes be difficult to cut through the increasing clutter to find snippets of information that are interesting and technologies that seem cutting edge and could very well radically change the dynamic of the market.

Yesterday we ran across a story that we felt compared to share.  Apparently the story first surfaced back in January but must have flown under the radar when released since it wasn’t spotted in any mainstream news outlets or social media platforms.  The technology, called AIRprint developed by Advanced Optical Systems can reportedly, “scan fingerprints from up to two meters away, an approach that could prove especially useful at security checkpoints in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”  Here is the link to the blog post that unearthed the story yesterday:

And here is a link to the original story:

Advanced Optical Systems reports that the potential commercial uses of the technology are in conditions where stand alone fingerprinting devices cause a logjam as people wait to use the hardware because they have to make direct contact and then wait again before they are verified.  Scheduled to be released in the third quarter of 2011, a possible suitor for the devices are the U.S. military as they seek to deploy fingerprinting devices that can scan individuals at a safe distance from the soldier processing the scan.

The article also clearly points out that it can identify fingerprints with or without someone’s knowledge. Considering the common perception that using biometric technology is a violation of individual privacy rights, we wondered what type of sandstorm that this technology would whip up when it starts being used by the U.S. Government?  Even though you can almost bank that the government will claim that it is used for security situations only in regions where they are actively engaged in warfare, there is sure to be those who will predict that this is just another sinister plot to gather biometric data of citizens in the U.S. to create a national biometric database.

What’s your take?

Can Biometric Technology Bring Law and Order to the Wild West Of Retail?

Welcome to the Wild West of Retail

In these Wild West days of personal identification and loose security in retail, employees and customers can easily get away with pretending to be someone else or effortlessly take advantage of insecure store policies:

Running late and need someone else to clock you in?  No problem, just call a work buddy and they can take care of it for you.

Need an override on a transaction but the manager is busy?  No worries, grab their keys/ID card/PIN and take care of it yourself.

Out of razor blades for shaving?  Just grab a box from the storage room at work, no one will ever notice and besides, your employer will write it off as shrink.

Stole something and want to return it without a receipt? That’s easy at a store that doesn’t have a strict return policy.

More and more retail establishments are recognizing that plugging holes in the cracking dam of their internal infrastructure lowers costs, raises profits, boosts operational efficiencies, strengthens role based security and tightens audit trails.

Biometrics Is Changing The Landscape

There is a new identity sheriff in town that is transforming the workforce management and retail point of sale environment and the shiny silver badge says “biometric technology”.  Biometric technology identifies an individual by their physiological characteristics and makes it virtually impossible to assume the identity of someone else.  Retailers are belt tightening by enhancing internal security measures and incorporating biometric identification as part of their overall strategy.  They seek to invest in technologies like biometrics that offer strong potential for high returns on investment (ROI), raise employee productivity, stop buddy punching, reduce shrink and establish employee and customer accountability.

Biometrics offers all of these advantages and its practical and affordable applications to stem the tide of waste, corruption and fraud is quickly spreading across the retail landscape.

Biometrics Is Affordable And Helps Save The Environment

Despite the preconceived notion that a technology which can offer so many benefits has to cost an arm and a leg to use, biometrics also surprises many who realize that it is affordable and maximizes long term ROI.  It’s important to ascertain the long term ROI in a workforce management or retail point of service technology for your business before investing in it.  While it may be tempting to be drawn towards identification technologies that have an initial lower cost, most often these technologies actually end up costing you more in the long run due to the cost of ongoing maintenance or replacement cards and scanners.

In addition, biometric technology reduces plastic waste and lowers energy consumption to maintain civic environmental responsibility and maintain a “Green” identity.

The Future Of Biometrics In Retail

Keep biometric identification technology in mind when researching technological enhancements and upgrades to your retail business.  There are many resources to find biometric software platforms and hardware that can be customized to meet a business owner’s unique needs to ensure that it works 100% of the time when identifying an individual.  Although adoption of biometric identification technology in the U.S. retail market has been slow to develop, as word spreads about its benefits it will become more mainstream and widely adopted.


The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Use Biometric Technology

Despite the numerous benefits that biometric technology brings to the table for the many vertical markets that it serves, there are some reasons to NOT use biometric identification technology.  May seem strange for a biometric software developer to be listing reasons to not use their technology, but bear with us as we explain some reasons that biometrics just may not be the technology that can help your business.


Reason #1 – You do not understand how biometric technology works.

We will be the first to tell you that if you have not done your homework and proper due diligence on how biometric technology works and which software and hardware application is best suited for your business then it probably is not a good idea to use it.  As with any investment in technology, businesses should spend time researching options, asking questions, reading case studies, engaging with others that currently use the technology, and evaluating long term return on investment (ROI) potential.

After completing adequate research, you may find that biometrics is not best suited for your needs.  However most businesses discover that when weighed against the alternatives, biometrics is usually the most efficient and secure identification technology that offers the highest potential for maximum ROI.

Reason #2 – You think that biometric technology is a passing fad that will soon be replaced with yet another more technologically advanced identification.

The simple truth is that biometric identification technology is here to stay and will be around for a long time to come.  Whether it’s for time and attendance/workforce management, healthcare, banking, membership management, public safety or point of sale biometrics has continued to spread throughout many vertical markets and is increasingly recognized for the many benefits that it brings to businesses and governments that use it.  Furthermore, the global biometric market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% through 2013.

Biometrics is the only identification technology that can verify with near absolute certainty the identity of an individual.  As word spreads of the tangible benefits that biometrics offers and the truth about how the technology works becomes more understood, expect to see more deployments for businesses that wish to invest in a technology that establishes the efficiencies that they expect.

Reason #3 – You like losing 2 – 4% of your payroll each year to payroll error rates and time theft.

Employee time theft costs U.S. employers hundreds of billions of dollars per year and among the most egregious of time theft practices is buddy punching.  Buddy punching is a preventable facet of time theft and biometric technology is the perfect solution, eliminating the ability of employees to clock in and out for a colleague and significantly increasing productivity as a result.  Plus, biometrics is more secure and efficient than ID cards or personal identification numbers (PINs), helps to save the environment and ensures compliance with labor tracking laws.

Reason #4 – Security and safety of your employees is of no concern.

One of the major problems that barcode ID cards and PINs present is that they can be swapped, shared or stolen.  For example, barcode cards can be stolen and used for unauthorized access to secure areas of a business, jeopardizing the safety of other employees and acting as a catalyst for theft of merchandise, information or other assets.  Biometrics relies on human physiological characteristics for identification which can’t be swapped, shared or stolen creating a more safe and secure environment for you and for your employees.

Reason #5 – You don’t really care if anyone is held accountable for anything at anytime.

Of the many benefits that biometric identification technology offers its end users, establishing accountability is perhaps one of the top reasons to use it.  If the identification system you are using is archaic, subject to malfeasance and corrupting your staff by tempting them to abuse it for their own gain then why not consider incorporating a system that removes these inadequacies?  Biometric technology also ensures that there is a clear audit trail, thereby encouraging responsibility from your employees to act ethically and be accountable for their actions.

Take time to think about some of the problems in your business that biometric technology can solve.  Hopefully this post brought a few reasons to mind on how biometrics can help you.

What are some other reasons that biometrics would not be a benefit to your business?  Be creative…


The Hitachi Finger Vein Reader – Bells, Whistles and More


The State of Vascular Biometrics

Vascular biometrics has arrived in full force and end users are uncovering its utility and the many advantages of using it in different vertical markets. Whether it’s to alleviate problems with fingerprint recognition that age, ethnicity and climate can cause or to invest in hardware where direct contact is not required to the sensor which detects your biometric identity thereby prolonging the life of the reader – vascular biometrics is surging.

By using near infrared light to capture an image of the vein pattern beneath your skin and using that as the basis for identification, vascular biometrics is a smart alternative to fingerprint and bypasses the need to have quality fingerprints in order to successfully use a biometric identification system for nearly 100% of end users.

Finger Vein Technology – The M2-FingerVein Reader

The M2-FingerVein Reader made by Hitachi offers a non-invasive, contactless scan below the surface of the skin for a perfect read, every time. It is increasingly used in deployments where sweaty, dry or aged fingers may pose a problem and is a viable choice for biometric identification projects of any size, across all markets.

Often times, we receive feedback from end users that they want biometric hardware to make a sound or see a light that confirms individual verification of acceptance or denial so they can quickly determine if there is a problem and correct it to keep the system efficient and flowing. Hitachi did an excellent job when designing the M2-FingerVein reader by adding audio and visual components that are emitted each time a user interacts with the device to determine if a scan is accepted or denied. An LED display on the top of the reader will turn green when the device is ready to use and then flash green if an authentication is successful, orange if it’s a poor quality scan or red if the scan failed. The finger vein reader also emanates a “beep” sound when a scan is accepted after an individual places their finger in the device. Plus, when used with the M2SYS Bio-SnapOn software engine, the device will make a sound similar to a doorbell ringing when a scan is successful.

An additional advantage of the M2-FingerVein reader is that an end user never makes contact with the sensor when interacting with the device unlike a fingerprint reader where direct contact must be made to capture a scan. This prolongs the life of the reader and helps users to boost their return on investment by not having to replace the reader as often.

We encourage you to consider finger vein vascular biometric technology for any type of environment and since it is an affordable alternative to fingerprint, switching from one modality to another may not require a large investment, especially if your biometric recognition software is powered by the M2SYS Hybrid Biometric Platform.

Please read this case study about how finger vein solved one customer’s fingerprint challenges.

Have you tried finger vein technology? How did it help to overcome issues you were facing with fingerprint biometrics?

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Video: Biometric Time and Attendance Deployment Nets 300% ROI for KRONOS Customer

As unbelievable as it may sound, we discovered that one of our end users that is currently using our RightPunch time and attendance platform in conjunction with KRONOS Workforce Central time software has achieved a 300% Return On Investment in the first year of using biometrics.

Recently we had a chance to sit down with their Associate Director of Payroll Services and ask a few questions about what their condition was prior to using biometrics, the benefits they realized after instituting a biometric time and attendance system, employee reaction and future plans.  Here is what they had to say:

The Rise Of Palm Vein Biometrics For Patient Identification

The Story

We ran across a news story this morning about yet another healthcare facility choosing palm vein biometric technology for accurate patient identification.  Here is a link to the story:

How Does Palm Vein Biometrics Work?

If you have been keeping up with the latest advancements in biometrics recently, then you are probably familiar with palm vein technology.  However, if palm vein biometrics is new to you and you aren’t quite sure what it is, allow us a second to explain how the technology works:

Unlike fingerprint biometric technology which relies on the integrity of the skin on the fingertip for accurate identification and can be susceptible to age, environment, cuts, scrapes, bruises, scars, dirt, grime and grease, palm vein biometric technology relies on capturing an image of the vein pattern beneath the skin and using that image as the basis for individual identification.  Unlike fingerprint technology, the integrity of the skin is not an issue with palm vein biometrics.  By using near infrared light to capture a palm vein pattern beneath the skin surface to identify an individual, it bypasses the need to have quality fingerprints in order to successfully use a biometric identification system for nearly 100% of end users.

Why is Palm Vein a Good Fit for Healthcare?

As we had mentioned in a previous post, the healthcare industry is crippled by the costs, liability and decline in quality patient care that inaccurate patient identification brings.  Not only does biometric technology solve this problem by eliminating patient fraud and lowering hospital liability but palm vein healthcare biometrics fits hand in glove with the unique needs of the industry.  Since healthcare caters to an extremely wide demographic of end users with a higher than average percentage that have less than ideal fingerprint integrity, palm vein biometrics is a great fit to ensure that everyone is accurately identified, all of the time.

RightPatient from M2SYS

Luckily, the healthcare industry has RightPatient from M2SYS to rely on for their patient identification needs.  Combining the power of Palm Secure technology from Fujitsu with the M2SYS Hybrid Biometric Platform, healthcare biometrics technology is a powerful tool in the fight against inaccurate patient identification.

Are you sacrificing quality care due to the absence of a reliable patient identification technology?  Please contact us for more details on how RightPatient can work for you.