Biometrics, things are not as bad as they seem!

Are biometric readers the future?

This is a question that has recently been raised in the security community. After all biometrics have been around for a long time now and their impact in the market has been very limited indeed in integrated systems.

To many things to too many people.

For those who have looked closely at the subject the reason for this lack of  market penetration is simple, manufacturers are trying to do too much with the biometric reader. By trying to appeal to everyone and install too much functionality into each device the units have become cumbersome , over engineered and very expensive, literally pricing themselves out of the market.

Why has this happened with biometric readers?

The main reason is speed. To open the door quickly most readers incorporate a card reader or a key- code that must be entered first before the finger is presented, this is so that when the database makes a search for the fingerprint, it already knows where it is looking because the card or code will point the database to where it has to match the fingerprint. Fingerprints are complicated, if you had no card or key-code, a search of the whole database to match the exact print would leave someone standing outside the door for several seconds, hardly ideal.


So we have slow expensive readers that quite frankly are unreliable and require two elements for them to work, its no wonder that something that has such promise has fallen so far into obscurity. Add to that the fact that many readers just don’t look the part and you even have the architects refusing to specify them in new build situations.

Externally quite frankly they have failed to perform in hostile conditions such as rain or snow and are badly effected by dust and grime.

So where do we go from here to sell the biometric reader?

The answer as far as we see it is integrated access control. The biometric reader needs to provide a more secure solution than the humble fob or card. It will need to look  good, be small and easy to fit to doors in place of existing card readers, be 100% read reliable and most importantly integrate directly into an existing access control system.

Does such a product exist?

We are sure it does but have yet to track it down. The ability for 100% read reliability is pretty much there and by decoding finger prints from an image into simple 1’s and o’s means that this information can be integrated into existing access control systems in the same way that a card or fob is read.  Get the cost to around £800-£950 installed and you have an extremely competitive product with all the benefits that Biometrics have always promised.


Partnership’s between some of the big suppliers of integrated security in the form of access control and the manufacturers who produce the biometric readers are inevitable. If a producer of the biometric reader can  overcome all of the problems we have highlighted above, incorporate a sleek and ip65 rated design and secure a partnership deal with an access control manufacturer, then the future of the biometric reader is very promising indeed.

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