Methods of Identification & Authentication

Identification and authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a person, piece of equipment, vehicle, or other asset. The identification process assumes that there was an initial validation of the identity, commonly called identity template.

The only requirement for identification is that it is unique within its domain – in an organisation your identifier doesn’t need to be unique in the world, only unique within your company or branch. Authenticators are commonly based on at least one of the following four factors:

  • Something you know, such as a password or a personal identification number (PIN). This assumes that the person being identified remembers the password or PIN needed, and does not share it with others.
  • Something you have, such as an RFID card or security token. This assumes that only the person being identified has the right card or token with him.
  • Something you are: recognition via a biometric characteristic such as a fingerprint, hand, face or iris.

Biometric Identification & Authentication

Biometrics is the automated method of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioural characteristic. Biometric technologies are becoming the foundation of an extensive array of highly secure identification and personal verification solutions. Biometric technologies should be considered and evaluated giving full consideration to the following characteristics:

Every person must have the characteristic. Faces and DNA are universal, while hands, voice, fingers and eyes are slightly less so. A person can lose their voice or injure an eye, finger or hand.

Generally, no two people have identical characteristics. However, some features are so similar within a population that perfect recognition is more difficult and therefore both enrolment and recognition take longer. Identical twins cannot be distinguished using DNA, and DNA can cause some problems after medical procedures involving blood transfusion or organ replacement.

The characteristic should not vary with time. A person’s face or eyes may change with age. A fingerprint can be obscured with scars or dirt.

The characteristic must be easily collectible and measurable. DNA is considered the most difficult to collect, while hand geometry is consider one of the easiest.

The method must deliver accurate results under varied environmental circumstances. Facial recognition requires better lighting than most other methods, while iris and fingerprint recognition needs better quality cameras to be accurate. Voice recognition requires a quiet environment.

Employees must accept the sample collection routines. Non-intrusive methods are more acceptable.


To be an effective identification and verification system, the technology must be difficult to deceive. DNA is almost impossible to deceive, while faces, hands or fingerprint recognition can be deceived with prosthetics. Therefore the system you choose must be capable if recognising and rejecting a prosthetic or photograph.
How does it work?

Biometric authentication requires comparing a stored (enrolled) biometric template against the real biometric sample as the employee or visitor “clocks in”.

During Enrollment a sample of the biometric characteristic is captured, processed by a computer using an algorithm, and the key data points are stored for later comparison. Please note that the scanned image is rarely stored, only the data points/measurements identifying this particular individual are stored.

A basic biometric system is made up of:

  1. a sensor (usually a terminal) to capture the biometric characteristic
  2. a computer to process and eventually save the biometric data
  3. software on the computer to store time transactions (log in, log out times)
  4. an application that uses the time transactions e.g. payroll software that calculates time worked

Benefits of Biometrics

  • Unique: biometrics are based on the unique characteristics of individuals
  • Cannot be shared: minimal risk of “buddy punching” as a biometric characteristic cannot be shared or stolen
  • Cannot be copied: biometrics are impossible to forge or guess
  • Cannot be lost: biometrics can never be mislaid and do not need to be stored safely.
  • Human Rights: biometric identification improves security while protecting the individual from the risk of identity fraud or invasion of privacy.


Using biometrics for identifying individuals offers some unique advantages. Tokens such as smart cards, RFID cards, photo IDs or physical keys can be lost, stolen, duplicated or left at home. Passwords can be forgotten, shared, or observed. In today’s electronic world people must remember numerous passwords and PIN numbers – the result is that most people either write them down or use the same password for multiple applications – neither approach maintains security.

Biometrics are fast, easy-to-use, accurate, reliable, inexpensive and suitable for many applications. There is no one “perfect” biometric that fits all needs. All biometric systems have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Return on Investment

An automated system gives a quick return on investment through reduced fraud and “buddy-punching”, faster payroll processing, accurate calculation of time worked and reduced management time. It simultaneously offers the benefits of improved security and consistent application of policies and procedures. An unbiased, reliable system benefits every employee level.

Terminals are inexpensive, and can easily be added to extend the automated network. Data on the terminal can be transferred via a USB stick, or by linking it to a standard TCP/IP computer network. The data can then be importing into a current HR/Payroll software package, or analysed in MS Excel.

Although low capital outlay is important, the initial cost of the sensor is not the only factor. With a large workforce, a complex and slow enrolment procedure can increase ongoing costs. If payroll must be imported often, good (or preferably automated) importing will be important for productivity. Good local support and the availability of an upgrade path should also be taken into account.
Convenient & User-Friendly

User-friendliness is a key aspect of a successful implementation. The process should be quick and easy, such as having a picture taken by a video camera or touching a fingerprint scanner.

The advantage biometric authentication provides is the ability to require more instances of authentication in such a quick and easy manner that users are not bothered by the additional requirements.
Biometric Recognition Systems for Labour Management

The following technologies have proven their suitability in Time & Attendance and Access control applications worldwide in terms of accuracy, cost-effectiveness, security and maintainability. Biometric systems are often supplemented by RFID cards or PIN numbers to provide alternative methods or for high-security zones

Biometric Fingerprint Recognition

The patterns of friction ridges and valleys on an individual’s fingertips are unique to that individual. For decades, law enforcement has been classifying and determining identity by matching key points of ridge endings and bifurcations.

A fingerprint is the most established biometric characteristic – in 1902 fingerprints were being used for identifying municipal employees in New York City.

Fingerprints are unique for each finger of a person including identical twins. One of the most common biometric technologies, fingerprint recognition devices for desktop and laptop access are widely available at a low cost. With these devices, users no longer need to type passwords – instead, only a touch provides instant access.

Because fingerprint is so common, many criminals have attempted to cheat the system and modern terminals have built-in technology to thwart fraud and allow recognition even under difficult environmental conditions. Vein scan biometric technology works with fingerprint scanners to ensure that a prosthetic finger is not used. The technology uses near-infrared light to detect vein vessel patterns.

Fingerprint recognition technology is popular because it is fast, not intrusive and works even if the hand is not clean. The glass or crystal plate sensor can be manufactured with anti-bacterial properties

Product No Of Users Connectivity Applications
F10 500
OP1000 800
S900 1500
A7 1500
A11 1500
U580 1500
LA 2000 1500
F702-S 1500
FU702S 1500
F8 1500
X628-T 3000
iClock 680 3000
iClock 2500 3000
iClock 2800 3000
L1000* 150
L2000* 450
SR100* Wagand

Biometric Hand Geometry

Hand recognition is a proven biometric characteristic and has been available for over twenty-five years. To achieve personal authentication, a system may measure either physical characteristics of the fingers or the hands. These include length, width, thickness and surface area of the hand.

Hand geometry systems use an optical camera to capture up to 90 or more key points on the palm and sides of the hand including finger width, height, and length; distances between joints; and knuckle shapes. Multiple measurements offer reliability and relative ease of use and make this biometric system suitable for large organisations with high volumes.

Hand Geometry is one of the most reliable biometric characteristics because the shape and size of our hands are surprisingly distinctive and remain relatively stable over time. Modern hand geometry terminal are self-adjusting for age, size and texture of hands over time as well as under different environmental conditions.

Hand geometry readers can function in extreme temperatures and are not impacted by dirty hands (as fingerprint sensors can be). Hand geometry devices are able to withstand wide changes in temperature and function in a dusty environment. They are commonly used for access control to facilities and time & Attendance.

Major benefits of hand geometry are that it is fast, non-intrusive and accurate across a wide range of lighting conditions and skin colours. The hand does not necessarily have to touch the plate, making it suitable where hygiene is important, or where religious and cultural traditions making touching offensive.

Hand geometry readers are larger than fingerprint readers and are used primarily for physical access control and recording work time and attendance.

Product Users Connectivity Applications
RS232/485 TCP/IP USB T&A Access
HandPunch 1000 50
HandPunch 1000E 100
HandPunch 2000 512
HandPunch 3000 512
HandPunch 4000 512
HandKey II 512
HandKey ID-3D 250+
HandKey CR 512

Proximity RFID Card Terminals

A Radio-Frequency Identification system has two components:

  • A transceiver – or reader – with scanning antenna to receive and store data
  • A transponder – the RFID tag – that has been allocated to a person, location or asset.

The transceiver puts out radio-frequency signals in a relatively short range. When an RFID tag passes nearby, the transceiver recognises the identification information stored on the RFID tag, and saves this information along with additional data such as the time.

The SR 100 is a slave reader to the F8 or F702-S fingerprint terminals.

Uniclox Technologies® security guard control system makes use of RFID Proximity tags and readers but in this case the reader is carried by the security guard and the tags are placed at key checkpoints around the premises.