COVID-19 could change the face of access control systems

Issue 4 2020 Access Control & Identity Management

A year ago, nobody could have imagined our current reality. A five-week-long (and ongoing) national lockdown resulting in a broken economy, further unemployment and a frustrated nation. Most organisations have been forced into closing their doors, due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected millions, spreading at an alarming rate and ravaging economies across the globe.

After weeks of being warned against coming into physical contact with our loved ones, neighbours, door handles and the like, this might be the best time for organisations to rethink their security access control and attendance register systems and opt for safer touch-free facial recognition.

Blink.IoT, a start-up organisation that uses IoT (Internet of Things) to create innovative and cost-effective cloud-based solutions, has developed VELA, a prototype cloud-based biometric solution allowing access-control and attendance register through facial recognition. The system is lightweight and uses custom software developed in-house running on a Raspberry Pi. The device is an eco-friendly solution that can be easily converted to be powered by battery or solar, which allows for use in remote areas. The facial scan is triggered using your foot followed by a name readout by the device so you can hear that you were recognised.

VELA integrates with most existing biometric systems that currently use fingerprint scanners. “This device is made for any organisation in need of a solution for access control or attendance register,” said Bonele Lusithi, managing director of Blink.IoT. “It is especially useful for organisations that have a high volume of employees or residents, such as mining companies and gated communities”. Lusithi went on to say, “Facial recognition works, it is affordable and available now. There has never been a better time to adopt it, especially now with the need for contactless systems.’’

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