Biometric terminals are an excellent choice where there is a concern that employees may forget their proximity card or key fob, or where there is the risk that, by sharing cards or fobs, employees could be clocking in their colleagues.
There are two main biometric technologies; the fingerprint terminal and hand scanner. Starting with the hand scanner, this is a well established device that has proven itself to be robust and reliable.
Having said this, the hand scanner is the least sophisticated device in terms of the features it offers, which tend to be limited to in/out, lunch and breaks. It does not offer the option for an employee to register that they are going off-site (whilst still being clocked in for attendance purposes), nor can it be connected to your fire panel to provide a real-time fire register.
The hand scanner is an ‘off-line’ device, meaning that it does not provide feedback to the employee at point of use. For example, if the employee tries to clock out when they were not already clocked in, they would not be informed of this and might well believe they had made a valid clocking.
Whether this is a concern will depend on your objectives and the device’s lack of sophistication might well be outweighed by the pragmatism that it works well and is ideal for many companies with a workforce that predominately remains on-site and where management does not require real-time feedback.
Fingerprint terminals are more intelligent devices and connect directly to the Captureit database. As such, they are able to provide an automatic fire roll call printout should the fire alarm sound. By connecting to Captureit in real-time, they also provide feedback to the employee at point of clocking, such as informing them they have successfully clocked in, were late, or provide a warning that they have attempted to clock in twice, or have attempted to clock out when already clocked in. Features such as these help minimise employee errors.
A dedicated function key allows employees to indicate if they are going ‘off-site’, whilst keeping the employee clocked in for payment/credit purposes. Should the fire alarm sound, the employee would be shown on the fire register to be clocked in, but currently off-site.
The fingerprint terminal reads the electrical conductivity across the fingerprint and turns this into a unique, encrypted number, which cannot be reverse-engineered into a fingerprint image. The hand scanner works by storing the hand template image as a binary code that cannot be reverse engineered. Neither the hand scanner or fingerprint terminal raise confidentiality or human rights issues. This is because neither record any form of finger or palm image that can be used to identify the individual.
Speed of clocking is an important factor to consider and is an often overlooked aspect of biometric clocking. The elapsed time for an employee to clock is typically six seconds. This takes account of the employee firstly positioning them self at the terminal and then carrying out the required action(s), before moving to one side for the next person to clock. Six seconds equates to circa ten employees per minute being able to clock in or out. If you have a large number clocking in/out, at the same time, then it may be wise to have more than one terminal at each clocking point.
In line with other technologies, biometric terminals can be used in conjunction with all terminals in the Captureit range, including mobile devices.