Schools in Westerville, Ohio, are piloting a biometric payment system for their cafeterias. At a cost of $3,731, three schools in Westerville City School District – which itself is comprised of 24 sites including 21 schools – are currently testing out fingerprint scanning devices at their cafeteria POS terminals.
The biometric terminals are essentially replacing the function of students ID cards, which were previously swiped by students for access to their meal accounts. It’s a move aimed at making the whole transaction process smoother and more efficient, while also cutting administrative errors and costs. And it’s being undertaken in a relatively secure way, with students’ biometric data encrypted and stored with the same level of security applied to other records kept by the schools, and later deleted when a given student graduates or is otherwise no longer enrolled.
The decision to keep or expand the biometric meal access technology to other sites will be made at a later date.
It’s reminiscent of another measure taken Virginia Commonwealth University, which is going to implement its own biometric access system for its main dining hall – one that will instead rely on iris scanning, thereby ensuring a higher level of hygiene in the cafeteria as students won’t all have to touch the same scanner. These are part of a broader trend of biometric technology being deployed in schools, especially in the US and often in security applications. While biometric deployments in schools have sometimes caused controversy as concerned parents worried about the privacy and security of their children’s data, overall the technology appears to be gaining popularity given its benefits in promoting security and reducing administrative costs.
August 21, 2015 – by Alex Perala