"When choosing the proper biometric device for your airport you should.... choose a solution with the right mix of security, handiness, and accessibility."
Our last post, Airport Biometrics, discussed all of the advantages for airports to choose biometric systems and technologies as their access control systems. While we definitely agree that it’s a no brainer for airports to go biometric, there are still many different criteria involved in selecting which line of biometric readers to go with. We will concentrate on what airports’ needs are (with regards to selecting the proper hardware) in this post. The following criteria are of top priority for airports when selecting their biometric access control system: Smoothness of workflow, wireless abilities, numerous methods of identification, offline tasks, design quality, accuracy.
Smoothness of Workflow:
As we were touching upon in our last post, one of the most important qualities of any access control system for airports is the ability to maintain smoothness of workflow. Access control systems should never retard the daily activities of employees; rather it should speed up the daily processes. HR managers need to be sure that whatever biometric access control system they use will be reliable to work consistently, without wasting valuable time.
While biometric access control systems can be set up with a cable, which may be appropriate for offices and buildings, it is not the most practical method of communication in an airport. First of all because airports are so large, and one zone can be miles and miles away from another zone, it would be a waste of money to connect the zones with cables. Also, considering the security threats at hand, airports do not want to give terrorists and other threatening people the ability to take down the whole system with a cut cable. Because of these reasons it is a necessity for airports to choose a biometric product with incorporated wireless capabilities.
Numerous Methods of Identification:
The biometric identification station should be able to handle all the different means of identification and authentication. The station should be able to read a badge or ID card, confirm biometric identification, verify passwords, etc. It is always more useful to have the option to require more forms of identification than less. As different situations come along, airports will be able to configure the authentication requirements of different zones as deemed necessary.
Whether it is from a blackout, network error, or other malfunction, there will be times throughout the life of an airport that the airport’s network goes offline. These are not pleasant for anybody but they are a normal part of life. Airports must prepare for these situations by choosing the biometric device that best handles offline use. While a network is down, workflow continues as best as possible, and workers still need to be authorized properly to enter certain zones. Devices must be able to identify and communicate with other zones even when the network is offline. This is usually only made possible if the credentials can be stored on each and every device. This allows workflow to go on as smoothly as possible.
Every manufacturer will tell you that their devices are designed and built with the highest quality and standards. We all know that it would be impossible for all of the different biometric devices on the market to be of the same superior design quality. How do we weed out the cream of the crop? WE must examine every single part of the device: The sensor, case, the quality of electronics, wireless networking abilities, standards compliance and more. Because airports are outside, they experience a diverse selection of weather conditions. Will the device function properly in extreme climate conditions? How cold, hot, snowy, wet, etc., can the device be expected to function properly in? Some devices will prosper in these extreme conditions, while others will fail the instant the temperature reaches freezing (or boiling). Besides for the devices resistance to extreme weather conditions, is the device made to withstand the heavy usage that can be expected at airports all day every day? Airports need to make sure they are getting the best quality devices available to the market based on their excruciating needs.
While many devices will pass the design quality tests explained in the last paragraph, many of them will work with significantly less accuracy in these conditions. Many devices will fail to operate effectively and accurately when they get wet, cold, etc. This is an extremely important criterion because airports need to make sure the devices are working accurately at all times.
When choosing the proper biometric device for your airport you should consider all of the above criteria. You should choose a solution with the right mix of security, handiness, and accessibility. Airports should use the highest standards when selecting the proper biometric access control system. Airports that use the steps provided in this article and implement a biometric system will benefit right away.