Thursday, March 24, 2011

Biometric Time Clock Software - Part 3

I mentioned before how we've been pursuing biometric integration with our Virtual TimeClock software over the last 5 years. "What's the holdup?" you ask. Well, for starters we're unique in the time and attendance industry in that we provide employee time clock software for both Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows computers. You can network any combination of Macs and PCs together, we don't care. These networked time clocks will work together seamlessly. Because we're a dual platform time clock solution (possibly soon to be three platform...), we need to deploy functionality and features that work basically the same on both Macs and PCs.

Based on our research into biometric hardware, the fingerprint scanner seemed to have the most deployment flexibility. Retina scans may seem a little over the top as a buddy punching deterrent (but I'm sure they'd be extremely effective!). Biometric fingerprint scanners work on either touch or swipe technology. Swipe technology takes a little more practice to properly enroll the finger and then match the stored fingerprint template when clocking in and out. The touch sensors seem to be easier to use for doing both the initial fingerprint enrollment and subsequent matching. Here's how it works. Several unique features about your fingerprint are stored as a template based on an algorithm. It's entirely safe because they can't be extracted and used to reconstruct an image of your fingerprint later. This template is converted into a value that gets stored with your user ID in the time clock software database. Your fingerprint swipe is then used for both identification when punching in and out, and access to the different parts of the program. Think of it as a fancy password replacement.

Companies like SecuGen and DigitalPersona have had biometric fingerprint scanners available for the PC market for a numbers of years, but nothing for the Mac. Well, that changed a couple of years ago when a company called UPEK released their Eikon fingerprint scanner for the Mac. We were ecstatic and immediately contacted the company. It took several more years of going back and forth but they've finally released the development tools we need to integrate Virtual TimeClock with their fingerprint scanners on both Windows and Mac. This means biometric time clock software is one of our hot 'to do' items this year. I'll be sure to provide more details as they become available. We like what we've seen so far, an easy-to-use USB fingerprint scanner that's resonably priced and convenient to purchase from online retailers like

Jeff Morrow
Virtual TimeClock Product Specialist