This is now a popular option, with two main technologies – finger and hand. Each has its pros and cons, which we will advise you on. Neither technology records an employee’s fingerprint or hand (palm) print, so there are no Human Rights issues. Bear in mind that the time taken by an employee to use these technologies (positioning) is longer than with proximity technology. This can affect how many devices are needed when there are larger numbers clocking in/out at the same time. Even so, it is an excellent technology and allows employees to use different terminals to clock in or out.
Biometrics In More Detail
Biometric terminals are an excellent choice where there is a concern that employees may forget their proximity card or key fob. This also removes the risk of employees, by sharing cards or fobs, from clocking in their colleagues.
Starting with the hand scanner, this is a well-established device that has proven itself to be robust and reliable.
It is particularly suited to harsh environments, where the fingerprint terminal may be less reliable. This may be due to excessive dirt or other factors, such as ‘damaged’ skin on the finger.
Having said this, the hand scanner is the least sophisticated device in terms of the features it offers. Its use tends 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. It also cannot be connected to your fire panel to provide a real-time fire register.
The hand scanner is an ‘off-line’ device, meaning it does not provide feedback to the employee at point of use. For example, an employee would not be warned if they tried to clock in whilst already clocked in.
In contrast, Fingerprint terminals are more intelligent devices and connect directly to the Captureit database. 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. Employees are provided with real-time feedback at point of clocking. This includes lateness and trying to clock in twice. Features such as these helps minimise employee errors.
A dedicated button allows employees to indicate if they are going ‘off-site’. In doing so, the employee remains clocked in for payment purposes. This is important because some systems require employees to clock out as if they were going home when in fact the employee is still “at work.”
Should the fire alarm sound, the employee would be shown on the fire register to be clocked in, but currently off-site.
How Do They Work?
The fingerprint terminal reads the electrical conductivity across the fingerprint and turns this into a unique, encrypted number. This number 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). This equates to around ten employees per minute being able to clock in or out. If you have a large number clocking in/out, then it may be wise to have more than one terminal at each clocking location.
In line with other technologies, biometric terminals can be used in conjunction with all terminals in the Captureit range, including mobile devices.