Are Fingerprint Bundy Clocks a Good Idea?

Current, the most popular biometric technology used in  time and attendance is the fingerprint time clock. Essentially, the technology uses a reader which measures a number of points on the user's finger and constructs a algorithm ( a mathematical representation) and then stores this as a user template. It is true that biometric time clocks do not store actual fingerprint images so, from a user privacy perspective, there is no need for concern regarding any possibility of reverse engineering a user template into a complete fingerprint .

There are basically three types of readers used in fingerprint time clocks. Currently, the most popular is the optical , although from time to time the ultrasonic and capacitance readers have enjoyed greater popularity. There are also two recognition methods used. Verification method requires the employee to enter their ID number first and then place their finger on the reader . The reader then "verifies" that the finger belongs to the user . This method is easiest and the most common. The second method is identification in which the user simply puts a finger on the reader and the device "identifies" the user from the template database.

The most important specifications and benchmarks used with biometric time clocks including the False Acceptance Rate (FAR), the False Rejection Rate and the (FRR) the Equal Error Rate (ERR). Technical specifications aside the most important factor when considering a fingerprint time clock is how often will it stop any of your employees from clocking in or out. This is in fact where fingerprint time clocks can let you down.

In most case, implementation of fingerprint time and attendance the motivation behind the introduction of a more secure technology is some mistrust of the employees. Biometric time clocks should completely remove any employee misrepresenting their working hours of clocking on for their (buddy punchimg) . In this environment employees will not always be as cooperative as might hope and may take any chance to buck the system. So, if your fingerprint reader does not work very reliably for all you staff you may end up having to allocate a number and password option for one or two employees. Almost immediately you will find other employees will start having problems as they realize the system is flawed. This is why your chosen biometric system must work for all employees.

Equally important to your business is how quickly employees will be able to clock. Imagine For example: If you have 100 employees using the same clock and the workday ends at 4:00pm. Employees are lined up at the time clock and each employee takes a total of 5 seconds to clock out. That's a total of 8 minutes until the last employee can clock out. It wont take long before your employees are complaining about the waiting time and either stopping early or hitting you up for overtime.

There are some great resources on the web if you want a greater understanding of the technical and operational considerations for fingerprint bundy clocks but essentially there a few guarantees that you want to obtain from your supplier: It will work virtually first time every time for all employees and all employees will be able to clock in and out in a reasonable time.

After all, you want the system to save you money and difficult to administer systems will do just the opposite

James Bell

Time and Attendance Consultant

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