Welcome to the good guys and keep away the bad with HandKey II reader from Power Controls

September 99 Access Control & Identity Management

Biometrics identify people by a unique human characteristic: the size and shape of a hand, a fingerprint, the voice or certain aspects of the eye, for example. No longer the domain of science fiction these devices are used on the front doors of thousands of businesses around the world.

Early installations were expensive and therefore limited to very high security applications such as nuclear facilities. In recent years, inexpensive microprocessors and advanced imaging electronics have greatly reduced the cost of biometric devices, while increasing their accuracy. These changes have made biometrics increasingly common in commercial access control. Today, thousands of businesses use biometrics for their access control needs.

Access control authentication

The goal of any access control system is to only allow authorised personnel to enter specific sites. Card-based access systems can authorise pieces of plastic, but cannot distinguish who is carrying the card. Systems using personal identification numbers (PINs) require only that an individual know a specific number in order to gain entry. Biometric devices verify a person's identity by unique, unalterable physical characteristics.

A card-based access system may appear faster initially, but as one hand geometry user pointed out, "The speed difference between a card and the hand reader is about two seconds. But you make up for it since your hand is right in front of you, versus fumbling around looking for your card."

The HandKey terminal uses three-dimensional hand measurements to verify a person's identity. Intended mainly for access control, it can be configured in standalone mode or linked with other units for centralised monitoring and data collection. A card reader emulation mode allows for simple integration with existing card-based systems that use proximity, Wiegand, magnetic stripe or bar code-based access control.

The HandKey can store over 35 000 user templates in internal memory, thanks to the industry's smallest template size, 9 bytes. Options include an internal modem, ethernet card, several card readers for ID number input, smartcard readers and an outdoor version. Time restrictions are also supported, allowing users to be excluded from a site during specific hours.

The HandKey is fast, easy to use and reliable. Over 20 000 units are installed throughout the world in a wide variety of applications such as:

1996 Olympic Games: HandKey units protected access to the Olympic Village. More than 65 000 people were enrolled and over onemillion transactions were handled in 28 days.

Banks: More than 1000 HandKey units control client and employee access to special areas of banks.

Ukrainian Debit System: In the vacation town of Yalta, you can buy dinner with your hand. Tourists deposit money in a debit account upon arrival in Yalta. HandKeys located throughout the town in shops, bars, restaurants and sundries invite patrons to enter a short ID number, place their hand in the unit, and enter the amount of the purchase to be debited from their account.

Fastgate (INSPASS): Thanks to IBM, HandKeys now play a vital role in a border crossing system for frequent travellers. The pilot program, called INSPASS, is currently being expanded in US airports. San Francisco International has over 90 units, with 30 000 users accessing baggage and runway areas using HandKeys. United and TWA maintain access control of crew and maintenance workers with HandKey units.

US Federal Bureau of Prisons and UK Prisons: The US Federal Bureau of Prisons relies on the HandKey for prisoner tracking. HandKeys are used extensively in the UK prison system for similar applications.

Universities: On-campus meal programs have operated smoothly for over five years with the help of HandKey units. More than 5000 students use the scanners three times a day. Some Universities have adopted the HandKey to safeguard access to dormitories and computer centres with HandKeys.

Hospitals: HandKeys are used for access control, payroll accuracy and to protect drug dispensaries.

Health clubs: HandKeys allow members to access health clubs around the globe without having to remember to carry a card. Facilities include: YMCAs, Gold's Gym, Hewlett-Packard, and World Gym.

Child care: Many child care centres use HandKey's to verify the identity of parents and safeguard the children left in their care.

Nuclear power plants: HandKeys protect the front entrances of over 90% of the nuclear power plants in the US. Japanese and Canadian nuclear plants also use HandKeys for access control.

Government offices and facilities: Over 1000 HandKeys protect hundreds of government facilities worldwide. The US Drug Enforcement Agency uses over 80 units to protect its headquarters in New York City. All branches of the US military use the HandKey.

For details contact Clive Handley of Power Controls on tel: (011) 462 6270, fax: (011) 462 6295 or e-mail: pwrcntls@iafrica.com

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