Transform phones into clock-in devices

Issue 3 2021 Access Control & Identity Management

As companies continue negotiating the dynamic of virtually connected staff working from various locations, a new cloud-based application is helping managers bring teams closer and solve attendance requirements. Designed as an alternative to fingerprint terminals, biometric systems and smartcard readers, SmartFace is already disrupting specific sectors, providing businesses with a simple, smart always-on attendance management solution.

While certain industries have always faced the challenge of managing staff across different locations, this has become the complex reality for most workplaces because of Covid-19. “As many companies start phasing in the return of their staff, more employees are now asking for greater flexibility when it comes to hours and days at the office,” notes Jithoo Daya, director of Animon InfoTech Solutions.

“They also want to work more independently, having proved this is possible during the lockdown period. This is creating new logistical challenges for managers, starting with the previously simple matter of time-keeping and attendance reporting.”

He explains that these problem statements were the inspiration behind SmartFace: a web-based solution that leverages the facial recognition capabilities of smartphones, transforming them into clock-in devices.

Developed as a complete attendance management system, SmartFace allows location-based clocking-in and clocking-out on an employee’s phone. “Employees simply login when they ‘arrive’ for work in the morning and log-out when they ‘leave’ later that day. This data is then sent to their employers in real-time so that they’re able to track hours – and working habits – of team members who are no longer office-based or of those who have always worked offsite.

“Additional check-ins can be scheduled throughout the day as needed to provide more insights for managers around issues like time management and productivity. Weekly and monthly reports can also be created as needed to drive internal efficiencies and provide better team support.”

While the solution was developed by an international team at Innovatus, Animon InfoTech Solutions has partnered with them to provide on-the-ground testing across various use cases. “Issues around lighting and skin tone, for example, have received specific attention given South Africa’s diverse population. We’ve given the collective team a robust testing ground for the solution,” says Daya.

He adds that SmartFace is already proving popular among SMEs across a number of sectors where they were grappling with timesheet reporting among staff well before Covid-19.

“Because up-to-date timesheets are a Department of Labour requirement and systems such as smartcard readers are often too costly for smaller businesses, many have chosen to keep timesheet processes paper-based. Apart from the inaccuracies this often creates (including colleagues signing in for each other, or forgetting to sign in at all), this is no longer a viable option in the Covid-19 environment. SmartFace eliminates many of these challenges. Reminders can be set to log in and out and the element of contact is eliminated. The security features of the system also mean data privacy is ensured.”

With more and more use cases being found for the solution, Daya says the real magic for teams potentially lies in the data interpretation itself. “Basic data analysis can unlock trends and patterns in your workforce that you might not be aware of. These very often speak to how people can work together better, more efficiently, more effectively and in a more healthy, helpful way.”

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