August is Education Month at FindBiometrics in which we are taking a closer look at the use of biometrics in schools. Last week we examined the controversy that tends to follow biometric deployments in schools, focusing on the Florida controversy and how the commercialization of strong authentication may aid in future acceptance of the tech. Of course, not all schools deny the benefits of biometric technology, and wherever it has been deployed great convenience and security follows.
This week we will be showcasing four unique biometrics deployments in schools for students of all ages.
1. Scanning Irises, Feeding University Students
The use of biometrics stretches beyond the limits of grade 12, and solutions are increasingly finding their way into post-secondary institutions. Recently Virginia Commonwealth University announced that this fall students will be granted access to the school’s dining hall via iris scans. This is particularly helpful on weekends, where previously students who had lost their access cards were denied entry until administrative staff were back at work on Monday.
To offer this convenience, VCU is using Iris ID’s iCAM7100 iris cameras, provided through the vendor’s partner ColorID. Students will be able to enroll during the first two weeks of this coming semester if they would like cardless access to the dining hall, but the program is opt-in, and students wanting to stick with their ID cards can do that if they wish.
Further Reading: Iris Biometrics To Keep Students Fed on Weekends
2. Facial Recognition Protecting St. Louis High Schoolers
This past spring, St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis installed facial recognition cameras for two purposes. The biometric technology is being used for physical access control and security identification reasons.
St. Mary’s staff and volunteers have had their faces enrolled in the system, so that they simply need to approach a door to have it unlocked. Likewise, known dangerous individuals (parents who are not legally allowed to see their children, known criminal offenders) have also been added to the system so they can be identified on sight and the proper school personnel can be notified via SMS or email. This latter feature, which will help schools respond to unwanted visitors quickly, is often seen used in airports to great effect.
Further Reading: Facial Recognition Deployed at St. Louis High School
3. Protecting School Property With Palm Veins
At UC Irvine passcodes were deemed too insecure and shareable when it came to protecting the Kay Family Foundation Innovation Lab. The facility houses state of the art communication and design technology for students of all majors to use in collaboration with each other, and also hosts the school’s annual 24 hour AppJam competition.
Fujitsu’s venerated PalmSecure technology was chosen to protect the laboratory via the company’s PalmEntry system. Now the Innovation Lab is guaranteed to be intruder free, as palm-vein patterns can’t be shared among students. The deployment is an example of how biometrics can be applied in an educational setting to protect material investments rather than track students attendance or authorize payments.
4. Mobile Biometrics Cut Down on Exam Fraud
In June Credence ID announced that is providing 1,000 of its Credence One mobile biometrics devices to authenticate exam takers in Nigeria. The readers will be used to prove that people taking state-administered student exams are who they claim to be.
In an interview with our sister site Mobile ID World, Credence ID CEO Bruce Hanson explained the demand his company is serving:
“The goal of the project is to verify the identity of the exam-taker and prevent the possibility of an imposter taking the exam for someone else. As many of us in the biometrics world know, sometimes the presence of a credential is not always enough to ensure you are who you say you are. Like I said, these exams are important and the integrity of the outcomes are critical to the validity of these exams. The stakeholders, both administrators and test-takers, want credibility in the exam-taking process.”
Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout August as we continue to examine biometrics in education. Be a part of the conversation by following us on Twitter and tweeting with the hashtag #FBSchools.
August 20, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter