Biometrics that are wireless, battery-operated and/or can utilise existing infrastructure will be most favoured in the ongoing adoption of biometric technology
Proving ROI, setting proper customer expectations and training is imperative to
the success of biometric implementation

End user customers increasingly expect their security systems to provide measurable benefits beyond protection of people, facilities and assets. The biometrics sector is undergoing a similar shift in mindset: The benefits of using biometrics to drive business operations and other corporate functions are becoming part of the return on investment (ROI) “equation.” 

Cost savings & efficiencies influence biometric adoption

Many customers now recognise that a biometric system saves money in the long run, says Arie Melamed Yekel, CMO, FST Biometrics. The company’s In Motion Identification (IMID) technology uses a combination of facial and body behaviour analytics. Yekel says the system can demonstrate cost savings in two ways. First, the system avoids the need to issue or replace cards and keys – potentially a very large expense that is simply not a factor with biometrics systems. Another cost saving is related to time: Both users and administrators continually save time by removing barriers to entry. The associated savings include, among others, the time spent waiting in line to enter a building, time looking for a key or card, time lost when a user can’t enter a building because they don’t have their key or card, and staff time required to issue a new key or card.

“Once the biometric system is in place, there are inherent savings of cost and time compared to standard card systems,” says Yekel. “Furthermore, quality biometric solutions such as IMID are far more secure than other identification systems.”

Every user of a card-based system needs a dedicated ID card, he says, and the cost of the cards, and of replacing lost/damaged cards, can become a great expense for organisations. For example, a system that supports 1,000 users can expect to spend $3,000 to $5,000 annually replacing lost cards.

Improving efficiency via automation and accurate identification

Automating manual processes is another cost saving. In many cases, we found that our customer decided to replace the human guard with IMID Access solution” says Yekel, “as the outcome of placing IMID Access will be even more accurate and more secure than using a human guard, and it saves them tens of thousands of dollars annually.”

An example is the Granite Club, Canada’s 10,000-member premier family, recreation and athletic club. The club wanted a solution that would ensure only Granite Club members, staff and authorised visitors would be able to access its athletic and children’s centres as well as the dining and meeting facilities. With a health and hygiene focus, the Granite Club also wanted a touch-free solution that would not require users to swipe a card, carry a fob or punch in a code. The Granite Club selected FST Biometrics because it is a non-invasive, secure access solution that does not impede the movements of members and staff, or detract from the Granite Club’s atmosphere. IMID Access is used in various access points throughout the Granite Club, allowing members and staff to freely access restricted areas of the facility. IMID was also deployed in the children’s centre, supplying a highly secure level of protection.

Many customers now recognise that a biometric system save money in the long run
Once a biometric system is in place, there are inherent savings of cost and time
compared to standard card systems

Lower costs of biometric technology make ROI much easier

Prior to the last 10 to 15 years, biometrics primarily existed only in the public sector, where government has both an obvious need and budget for advanced biometric security, says Larry Reed, CEO, ZKAccess, another biometrics company. “Fast-forward 10 to 15 years and the cost of biometric security has been reduced dramatically,” he adds, “and it’s within the budgets of even individual consumers.”

Indeed, the proliferation of fingerprint sensors retrofitted into today’s smart phones is all around us. Apart from smart phones, as with any product, the market adoption rate for biometrics is normally consistent with the ROI associated with that new product, says Reed. The most commonly acknowledged ROI for biometrics is when used for lowering payroll expenses, since payroll is often 10 percent or more of any company’s overall operating budget. Biometric time clocks are used to prevent “buddy punching” (hourly-wage employees fraudulently punching in for each other and getting paid for unearned work hours).

Another obvious ROI is avoiding fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), says Reed. Among other things, OSHA safeguards employees from being injured from the accidental/unauthorised startup of dangerous mechanical equipment (i.e., trash compactors, cardboard balers, forklift trucks, etc.). Without first authenticating to a biometric reader, electricity remains cut off from the machine. “Where you can prove an ROI, you’ll find a customer willing to pay for biometrics,” says Reed.

Proving ROI to encourage biometrics adoption

Prior to any technology change/refresh, a customer must first be convinced the change will either result in increased revenues or reductions in operating expenses. Reed says ROI can be more easily proven if/when any of the following scenarios are acknowledged by the customer: 1) Buddy punching payroll losses; 2) OSHA fines for non-protected dangerous equipment; 3) Recent break-in or misuse of employee access ID badges; or 4) downtime (accidental lockouts) experienced when employees misplace ID badges and must be reprocessed to gain access to their workplace.

Fast-forward 10 to 15 years and the cost of biometric security has been reduced dramatically and it will be within the budgets of even individual consumers

“For biometrics veterans, we’re well aware of the inherent security flaws and unnecessary expense of managing a card-based access control system,” says Reed. However, without the customer feeling the “pain” of a security breach, financial loss or inconvenience acknowledged by the customer, it will be more difficult to convince that customer to invest in biometric technology.

“Once you’re proven an ROI, the next step is ensuring that time and labour (and total cost of ownership) for the biometric install is minimised,” says Reed. Biometrics that are wireless, battery-operated and/or can utilise existing infrastructure will be most favoured.

Lastly, setting proper customer expectations and training is imperative to the success of biometric implementation, says Reed. Without the cooperation and commitment of both the decision-maker and all of their employees to learn and properly operate the biometric solution, the project is doomed to fail, he notes. 

Download PDF version

Author Profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

Has the gap closed between security fiction and security reality?
Has the gap closed between security fiction and security reality?

Among its many uses and benefits, technology is a handy tool in the fantasy world of movie and television thrillers. We all know the scene: a vital plot point depends on having just the right super-duper gadget to locate a suspect or to get past a locked door. In movies and TV, face recognition is more a super power than a technical function. Video footage can be magically enhanced to provide a perfect image of a license plate number. We have all shaken our heads in disbelief, and yet, our industry’s technical capabilities are improving every day. Are we approaching a day when the “enhanced” view of technology in movies and TV is closer to the truth? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How much has the gap closed between the reality of security system capabilities and what you see on TV (or at the movies)?

BCDVideo signs OEM deal with Dell EMC: positive impact for surveillance storage
BCDVideo signs OEM deal with Dell EMC: positive impact for surveillance storage

In a significant move for the video security market, BCDVideo has announced that it is set to become Dell EMC’s OEM partner in the video surveillance space. For nearly a decade, the Chicago-based company has been known as a key OEM partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), providing storage and networking technology to security integrators on a global scale. This latest partnership will allow BCDVideo to take their offerings to the next level. BCDVideo Vice President Tom Larson spoke to SourceSecurity.com to discuss the reasoning behind the deal, and how the programme will benefit partners, integrators, and end-users alike. Expanding BCDVideo's product offering For BCDVideo, the HPE OEM programme has been widely acknowledged as a success, allowing the company to leverage a globally recognised brand and provide high-quality, reliable solutions across video networking and access control. Nevertheless, explains Larson, HPE server solutions are primarily suited to large-scale enterprise projects, and are therefore unable to accommodate for the growth in small- and medium-sized surveillance applications. The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering, building on success in the larger enterprise market to offer tailored solutions to SMEs. Our aim is to look at all best of breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships” Support for integrators By leveraging Dell EMC’s sophisticated digital storage platforms, BCDVideo will now be able to offer a more cost-effective solution to integrators, without sacrificing the resilience and IT-level service that BCDVideo is known for. With access to Dell EMC’s expansive global sales and technical teams, the company hopes to expand its reach, all-the-while providing partners with around-the-clock technical support and a five-year on-site warranty. Customers should be reassured that BCDVideo will continue to offer HPE platforms, service, and support. “Our aim is to look at all best-of-breed technology to serve the video surveillance marketplace, and that means multiple partnerships,” says Larson.  “The addition of Dell EMC to our portfolio is a major win for BCDVideo, for Dell EMC, and for our integrators.” The global collaboration with Dell EMC will allow BCDVideo to open up a broader product offering Meeting surveillance market demands At the technology level, assures Larson, Dell EMC’s server offering is well suited to handle the increasing video resolution and growing camera count demanded by the surveillance industry. At the larger end of the spectrum, the company’s Isilon Scale-Out NAS solution can handle tens of petabytes of data, making it ideal for large-scale security applications such as city-wide surveillance and airport security. Dell EMC storage solutions are already proving successful at major international airports including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, each with a camera count in the 1000s.Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market” For Dell EMC, the new partnership means the ability to expand on this success in the enterprise market, leveraging BCDVideo’s surveillance expertise and high-level customer service to offer tailored solutions for lower-volume applications. Since its inception, BCDVideo has differentiated itself in the security space by providing a high level of IT service to integrators making the transition to IP systems. By combining resources, the partners will be able to service VMS and analytics companies, software vendors, and access control providers, as well as traditional business integrators. Ken Mills, General Manager Dell EMC Surveillance, explains: “Surveillance storage is not just about capacity, it is also about performance and reliability. Dell EMC and BCDVideo together are ensuring our customers get the right solutions designed for the surveillance market.” Accomodating for growth BCDVideo is well placed to accommodate this anticipated growth. Last year, the company opened a new 51,000-square-foot global headquarters in Illinois, home to 90 separate stations within their Innovation Center where each system is customised according to integrator needs. The new facility allows for expanding business with new and existing partners in the security market.

How to manage physical security data in compliance with EU GDPR
How to manage physical security data in compliance with EU GDPR

Until recently, data laws have differed from one country to the next. This meant that for those organisations conducting business or protecting assets abroad, they needed to localise both their infrastructure and policies dependant on the country they were operating in. However, with the impending arrival of the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which comes in to force on the 25th May this year, all of that will need to change. Data management in CCTV surveillance Surprisingly, despite the fact that much has been written about the impending EU GDPR, very little attention has been devoted to the process of ensuring compliance for the operation of video surveillance, access control and other physical security systems. The EU GDPR dictates that businesses adhere to specific governance and accountability standards with regards to the processing of all data. As this includes such a large scope of data, any public or even private organisation using CCTV to monitor publicly-accessible areas must pay attention, as monitoring the public on a large scale is by default considered a high-risk activity. This includes information that shows who a person is, where they are and any other specifics about them.We have seen organisations defining corporate standards for their physical security systems based around IT standards and technologies According to numerous market research studies, many organisations are yet to take the necessary steps in order to review the new regulations and ensure the necessary changes are made to meet these obligations. To date, we have seen organisations defining corporate standards for their physical security systems based around IT standards and technologies. With the implementation deadline of the new regulations fast approaching, these should be in a better state of readiness, with standardised processes, common organisational approach and technology. Enhancing industry awareness of compliance  What’s more, a lot of legacy systems or disparate systems are still out there, and these may still have been entirely commissioned and operated by location-specific security teams. Regardless as to where your organisation stands in terms of technology, it is important to participate in the GDPR review with a greater sense of urgency.  The EU GDPR dictates that businesses adhere to specific governance and accountability standards with regards to the processing of all data Tony Porter, the UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner, has been incredibly vocal in recent months with regards to making security system operators aware that their activities will be subject to the GDPR and to signpost them to relevant guidance from the ICO. For those actively seeking to ensure their businesses are compliant, his organisation’s independent third-party certification is a great place to start. However, with just a few months until the regulation comes into force, it is unfortunate that his organisation is not yet in a position to confirm this will be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the EU GDPR. Ensuring regulatory preparedness With this being said, there are still a number of steps organisations can take to ensure they are well-prepared when the law comes into play: Get involved in the GDPR discussion If you haven’t already, proactively initiate a GDPR discussion with your legal team and ask for their guidance. Conduct a gap analysis to identify what works and what might require improvement in accordance with the new regulation. Then engage your consultants, integrators and manufacturers who should be able to advise on appropriate solutions. In the vast majority of cases, it should be possible to upgrade the existing system rather than ‘rip out and replace’.The appropriate use of encryption and automated privacy tools is a logical step Adopt privacy by design Under the terms of the EU GDPR, data that is anonymised or pseudonymised is likely to be low-risk. The appropriate use of encryption and automated privacy tools is therefore a logical step. For example, video redaction that blurs out people’s faces in video unless there is a legitimate reason to reveal their identity can minimise the dangers of having security cameras deployed in public spaces. Seek out certified and sanctioned organisations, such as the European Privacy Seal group ‘EuroPriSe’, a professional organisation whose purpose is to ensure companies meet the ‘GDPR-ready’ privacy compliance standards. Consider cloud-based services Owners of on-premises video surveillance, access control or ANPR systems are responsible for all aspects of EU GDPR compliance, including securing access to the systems and servers storing the information. However, by working with an approved cloud provider it is possible to offload some of these responsibilities. For example, we partner with Microsoft Azure to offer these systems ‘as a service’. This pathway significantly reduces the customer’s scope of activities required to ensure compliance and is highly cost-effective. Yet it is important to realise it isn’t a full abdication of responsibility. You remain accountable for ensuring data is classified correctly and share responsibility for managing users and end-point devices.  With data laws changing around the world, businesses need to seriously consider how their security technology investments will help them manage risks in order to keep pace. With the GDPR deadline approaching, it is the ideal time to re-evaluate practices, partner with forward-thinking vendors and adopt technologies that will help meet privacy and data protection laws. This way, businesses can minimise risk, avoid costly penalties and be ready for anything.