Biometric Attendance System’s increasing importance

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Used in almost every field and organisation across the globe, India is soon waking up to the advantages of using biometric attendance systems. Only recently, the Imphal State Government announced the use of biometric attendance systems in schools and colleges. It will be used to mark attendance of students and teachers. Students with low attendance will be barred from appearing their respective examinations. With smaller cities and states now responding to the beneficial uses of the biometric attendance, manual attendance marking will soon be redundant.

The biometric attendance can be used in almost every kind of institution and type of organisation. It first made its presence felt in huge MNC organisations in the country where keeping track of the employee work hours was an essential factor. The HR department in the organisation benefitted the most with the use of biometric attendance systems since it not just produced records of tracked worked hours, but also worked as an attendance tracker. This did away with a lot of paperwork, and manual attendance systems that were easily manipulated. Moreover it left the HR department a lot more time on their hands, allowing them to give importance to other work areas that needed attention, e.g. focus on employee and employee engagement.

Although the biometric attendance system has huge benefits in its kitty, there is still a part of the business world that has stayed ignorant to its uses. Citing most of their reasons towards it being expensive equipment that requires expensive maintenance etc. Contrary to misled belief about the biometric attendance, installing one in your office is in fact a profitable investment. With the biometric attendance cutting down time spent in manually calculating work hours, time logged in at work, understanding losses because of late or less clocked in work hours etc. all add up to its ROI.

The biometric attendance works on an excellent principle which is recognising an individual through their psychological or physical characteristics. The most commonly used biometric attendance used is the one that identifies employees through their physical characteristics. Some of the physical features these machines measure are fingerprint, retina scan, hand geometry, voice recognition, handwriting, iris and face recognition. The information stored in these systems is safe and cannot be stolen making these systems very reliable. We all know that personal information in some systems can be easily recreated by reverse-engineering or even tampered with. The use of biometric attendance even if stolen cannot be meddled with or its information cannot be recreated which is essential since employee information should be kept away from miscreants.

The biometric attendance is persistently gaining its much deserved importance because it is effortless, and requires only a swipe of the hand, finger or scanning the iris to recognise the person. The biometric attendance system technology has been making huge progress in the last few years. Its cutting edge technology and much reduced costs as compared to a few years ago make it a profitable investment for any type and size of business. Several government offices around the country have understood the need for biometric attendance systems and the benefits it employs. For example the Margo Muncipal-Council too recently decided to install biometric attendance systems to track attendance of its employees.

Understanding the working of a biometric attendance is very simple. Fingerprint optical scanners are most commonly used in most government and private organisations; here is a brief understanding on how the system works.

A biometric scanner has two jobs;

  1. Scan or get an image of your finger
  2. Match your scanned finger image that includes patterns of, ridges, valleys to your fingers pre-scanned image that is stored in its database.

Finger patterns like minute ridges and lines constantly keep changing. The Biometric attendance stores information of those patterns that have specific characteristic that is present in almost every fingerprint scan. These scanned images are saved as an encrypted biometric key and in some cases it is a mathematical representation. This disallows the misuse of information which is possible if only a scanned image was stored. The information stored is a set of binary code which is next to impossible to convert to an image. Duplication of fingerprints is therefore impossible. Think binary code in a computer system, the information stored in the biometric attendance is much similar to it.

This simple system of fingerprint scan has now several organisations thriving on its reliability, also because of the reduction in direct and indirect labour costs, apart from its several operational benefits.

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