Ideco Technologies - perfection in biometric technology

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Since its creation in 2001, Ideco Technologies has been distributing SAGEM biometric technology throughout SA and in the southern African region. The fingerprint hardware and software perfected over the past 20 years by the French company SAGEM has been implemented by large and small organisations across the globe. Today, SAGEM fingerprint technology dominates the international market in both the criminal and civil fields, and is in use in a large variety of environments. No less than 1,5 billion fingerprints worldwide have been enrolled onto SAGEM systems.

Some of the larger SAGEM clients are the FBI, Interpol and the United Nations. In South Africa, our references include the South African Police Service and the Department of Home Affairs; SAGEM technology is also used by the Department of Transport for the driver's licence and by Social Development to pay some 3-million pensions and other grants every month.

During recent years, due to increasing security concerns, a large market has developed for fingerprint-based access control, coupled to time and attendance systems. Ideco has entered this field energetically, and in 2004 it has seen an exponential increase in its sales of physical access control solutions. Logical access control - fingerprint access to computers - is also growing fast, and is often integrated with physical access control.

Ideco, supported by its comprehensive dealer network, has ensured that thousands of South African users on a daily basis are experiencing the enormous benefits and peace of mind provided by SAGEM-based systems.

The need for biometric security in access control and time and attendance systems

Access control can be separated into two key categories:

* Physical - controlling access to a location, by means of some sort of barrier.

* Logical - controlling access to IT infrastructure, systems or information.

T&A involves the monitoring of a person's attendance at a place of work.

An increasing number of facilities all over the world handle confidential information. For example, fields such as industrial processes, research and development projects, financial analysis and results, military secrets and many others require increasing protection against fraud and piracy. In several cases it is also necessary to protect physical assets which are confidential, expensive, or of strategic interest. One of the most common security solutions is to control the physical access of people to rooms containing confidential items. It is very common to find companies which have installed or are proposing to install security control systems based on a centralised architecture, including a controller, card readers, turnstiles and a data transmission network. The SAGEM MorphoAccess was designed specifically to be easily integrated into these systems.

The uniqueness of each person's fingerprint data makes fingerprint recognition the most secure, efficient, and cost-effective way to verify a person's identity at desired access points. SAGEM supplies embedded solutions, including sophisticated algorithms, enabling the capture of the fingerprint image, the processing of the minutiae (the characteristic points of the fingerprint image), and the storage of the minutiae in a record called a biometric template. These algorithms also include two functions, one for comparing two fingerprint templates (1:1 authentication) and another to compare one fingerprint template against a list of templates (1:many identification). The SAGEM readers also feature fake finger and latent fingerprint image detection technology to eliminate the possibility of fingerprint images being transferred by any substance other than human tissue. In addition, the readers employ smart technology that will indicate (via the LCD display) the need for a person to move their finger up, down, left or right, thus optimising fingerprint capture and eliminating delays caused by people who may be unfamiliar with the system. MorphoAccess brings to the physical access security market the ability to provide these features and functions at an affordable price.

In authentication, or 'one-to-one' (1:1) mode, the template extracted from the finger - read by the capture device - is compared to a reference template already available in the system.

In identification or 'one-to-many' (1:n) mode, the fingerprint template is compared with all the templates previously stored in a database.

Understanding biometric performance - what to look for

Biometric performance is a source of much frustration for many people who have been misled by promises of extremely fast and accurate recognition by technologies that have not been properly field-tested and proven. Company security budgets are often limited, and this has also led many organisations, large and small, to procure biometric technology that simply does not perform as expected.

The SAGEM Morpho range of products is based on exactly the same technology, hardware and software used in major government systems. This is how SAGEM is able to ensure identification speeds at least four times faster than the closest competition.

When selecting a biometric system for access control or time and attendance, one needs to consider the following key points:

* Nature of the business (eg, clean, dirty, harsh environment).

* Size of operation (number of sites and users).

* Usage of system (staff, contractors, visitors).

* Type of connectivity required between sites.

* Location of biometric points iro exposure to the elements, potential for vandalism, etc.

* Mode of operation required (identification = finger only or authentication (finger + token or PIN, or a hybrid system).

* Type and location of barriers controlled by the biometric terminals.

* Integration or interfacing with other systems (future or existing), eg, T&A or payroll.

Business and technical benefits

SAGEM Enrolment Station and Morpho Management System

* Allows for both centralised and distributed enrolment stations on a single network.

* Every enrolment station has the capacity to store up to 50 000 persons.

* Central enrolment station has the capability to search every new enrolled record against all existing records in the database, thus eliminating duplicate or fraudulent enrolments.

* The Enrolment & Management system is capable of distributing fingerprint templates to any single or multiple readers across a LAN or WAN. (eg, 1000 records can be loaded into a MorphoAccess in only 3 seconds).

* In a similar manner, fingerprints can be removed instantaneously from any reader on the system.

* The enrolment system caters for backing up of all employee and fingerprint records.

* The enrolment system constantly monitors the status of all readers on the network, and manages the up/download of any system changes, log files, etc.

* The enrolment system allows for easy replacement or addition of new readers on the network (plug-and-play); ie, in the event of major damage caused to a reader, the enrolment station reloads the database onto a new reader to match the configuration of the previous reader in order to ensure system continuity. Total time to swap or replace readers <5 minutes.

* SAGEM software and hardware is designed for easy integration into most T&A and access control systems.

MorphoAccess terminals

* Plug-and-play capability.

* No limitation of the number of readers on a network.

* Various models of MorphoAccess can be used on the network to match the employee numbers at various sites (up to 48 000 persons on a single reader.)

* MorphoAccess readers have on-board database and fingerprint processing capabilities to allow for completely standalone operation.

* MorphoAccess readers store approximately 4000 transactions on-board.

* MorphoAccess readers provide feedback to the user on positioning of the finger (move left, right, up, down), thus the system does not waste time trying to read an incorrectly placed finger.

* MorphoAccess identification time (1:many, ie, fingerprint only) is less than or equal to 1 sec for a database of 1000 persons, less than or equal to 2 sec for a database of 48 000 persons. This performance cannot be matched by any other biometrics manufacturer.

* MorphoAccess readers use high-resolution (500 dpi) OPTICAL scanners (proven in high volume and hostile environments such as pensions payments, prisons and police).

* MorphoAccess readers also have the ability to control physical barriers (turnstiles, doors, booms, etc) for use in access control applications.

* MorphoAccess readers have multiple inputs and outputs (RS485, RS232, Wiegand, Ethernet, relay).

* MorphoAccess has built-in tamper switches which can be linked to alarm systems

* MorphoAccess comes in both standard and ruggedised/waterproof/dustproof/tamperproof versions to cater for a wide variety of applications and environments.


* Fully portable battery or mains operated readers with the same specifications and capabilities as the MorphoAccess range.

* Provide for remote monitoring/clocking of employees.

* Allows for storage and download of logs via Ethernet or RS232 to a central server.

* Effective when used:

- For performing random checks on employees.

- Monitoring attendance at remote sites.

- Providing immediate back-up in case of major damage to a fixed reader.


* Provides logical access control to PCs, systems, or to control and authorise any form of transaction.

* This can be done using the same enrolment system and network installed for the access control or T&A system.

* SAGEM is the only biometric manufacturer to provide fully integrated logical and physical access control systems operating off a single system and network.

For more information contact Gary G. Jones, Ideco Technologies, 011 442 0064, fax: 011 442 4470,,

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