Vein scanning - undisputed identification and authentication

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The use of biometrics is unlimited and highly accurate. Among many others, it provides the solution to eliminate fraud with drivers' licences, ID documents, passports and confidential records such as university degrees and legal ­documents.

The methods of biometric authentication used worldwide include fingerprint, iris, voice, face, hand, vein and signature identification. Hand vascular pattern person identification technology - or vein scanning - is the next generation in biometric technology. The system is believed to change the paradigm of the biometric system market through its system usability. Vein recognition guarantees imperative security because it is almost impossible to duplicate a vein. This is the ideal solution where high security access is needed and ease of use perpetuates this system as the ultimate access control product to introduce in an ever expanding market.

Vein scanners in the mining industry, for instance, offer a better solution than fingerprint readers because miners' fingerprints are often grimy or damaged by their underground work. Manual labourers often have their fingerprints damaged to such an extent that the reading of fingerprints becomes impossible.

For identification purposes, vein scanners are claimed to be faster and more effective than fingerprint readers. The scanners 'read' a person's veins through a photo and heat process. Just as every individual's fingerprints are unique, their heat emission and vein patterns are similarly unique.

The greatest advantage of these systems is the speed and accuracy with which people can be identified. Using the example of miners again, the number of miners going up and down a shaft each day is tremendous and if this process is not running at an optimal speed, it can have a critical effect on the production of a shaft. Long queues and waiting periods also cause frustration and irritation for workers, which leads to possible situations of unnecessary conflict. With the high speed of the vein scanner, the flow of miners can be increased to an optimum level.

Vein scanners can also be used to ensure that workers have undergone medical examinations. Due to the nature of their working conditions, miners are expected to undergo medical tests on a regular basis. When integrating the systems, a miner can be denied access to the canteen or a shaft if he has not gone for a medical examination.

As far as cost savings go, vein scanning can play an important role in the control of fraud committed by workers, for example wages paid to ghost workers, unauthorised use of company canteens and the management of equipment and clothing handed out by employers. Stricter control of 'buddy-clocking' also increases safety levels by preventing unauthorised people from entering restricted areas or danger zones.

For more information contact Jans Wesssels, DexSecurity Solutions, +27 (0) 11 644 6500,

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