While biometric security has traditionally been used for highly
sensitive buildings and areas, more facilities are now leveraging its
technology for the optimization of daily facility operations.
Could biometric access control help your building run more
Falling Costs of Biometrics
As evidenced by the implementation of biometrics in nearly
every phone and tablet, the technology has become much more
affordable over time.
“The fingerprint technology seems to be leading the charge for
the scale of deployment because it’s less expensive when com-
pared with other biometric authentication technologies,” says Ilya
Umanskiy, Head of Diversified Solutions at Integrated Systems &
Services. “That’s the key issue the industry has been struggling
with for years: the speed of processing. Biometrics wasn’t popular
in the earlier stages of the technology because of kick outs and
That improvement has been vital to the widespread adoption of
biometric technology. The industry has been able to align conve-
nience and security so they aren’t in opposition anymore. In paral-
lel with improvement in processing capabilities, cost has fallen for
all types of biometric technology.
“When I started looking at the iris technology in 2008 and
2009, it filled about half an office, used six cameras and cost a
quarter million dollars,” says Mark Clifton, CEO and President of
Princeton Identity, a biometrics manufacturer. “Now it can be done
with a Samsung phone. The cost of readers is headed in that direc-Readers are the most expensive part of implementing biomet-
How to Optimize Your
Building with Biometrics
rics, as they can cost 30-40% more than traditional RF readers,
explains Umanskiy. You should decide whether the cost of biometrics has fallen enough for use in your facility based on a combination of your budgetary constraints and security requirements.
Balancing the Precision of Identification
The main selling point for biometrics is that it provides more
security in the identification process, which can provide stricter
access control and a lower margin of error than other forms of
Compared to using RFID cards or pin codes, biometrics provides better security because you cannot transfer your fingerprint
or any other identifying physical characteristic to another person,
Of course, different physical characteristics have different levels
of precision. For example, irises provide more information unique to
the individual than fingerprints or handprints. Compared to fingerprints and hands – the two most common types of biometric technology – irises contain significantly more information. The chances
of an imposter getting in are low with iris scanning, explains Clifton.
However, that level of identification isn’t right for every building. In some instances, you might simply be trying to improve flow
in and out of the facility. In that case, you wouldn’t necessarily
need identification of that level.
To identify the best kind of readers in your facility, you will
need to determine how sophisticated you need your technology
to be, how much you want to spend, and what will work best with
your building’s occupants.
For more on the types of biometric identification, see page 30.
Eliminating Vulnerabilities in Design and
Despite costs going down and improvements to the technology,
biometrics still comes with its own set of limitations. The foremost being the issue of cybersecurity.
“There’s always the issue of cybersecurity. It’s the same issues
you have with any private information,” says Clifton. “You don’t
want it out there and spread around. Cybersecurity becomes one of
the Achilles’ heels of biometrics. How you secure the information
Secure your building and control the flow of foot traffic
The widespread use of biometric security practices once seemed like a far off future. However, with nearly every smartphone including fingerprint readers or facial recognition,
it now seems much more viable.