Experts within the field of biometrics believe the market has grown substantially, resulting in many more service providers operating in the South African market. While this is viewed as being a positive for corporate South Africa, decision makers ought to exercise caution in selecting a biometric solution.

This is the view of Marius Coetzee, chief operations officer, Ideco Biometric Security Solutions, an established provider of solutions, services and support within the field of identity management.
Since 2001, Ideco has been leveraging the power of biometrics as a tried, tested and proven technology within systems that depend on users’ identities. For example, over 60,000 fingerprint readers are in use across SA, securely and safely managing workplace access for more than two-million people on a daily basis.
Coetzee says the many advantages biometrics offer in terms of access control, physical and digital security, could easily become the most significant operational frustration.
“There are too many so called ‘large biometric companies’ that promise the world and disappear when systems fail. Aside from the cost factor, there are many other considerations that should be taken into account. The primary selection criteria include reliability of systems, accuracy, durability and after-sales support,” says Coetzee.
To illustrate, Saco Systems, a division of ProtiaCoin and one of Ideco’s certified partners, played an important part in the successful replacement of a biometric solution at a large corporate client. Following months of frustration, due to a system that did not work accurately and consistently, the client was on the verge of stopping its biometric roll out programme.
Management at Saco Systems, ensured that its client, Howden South Africa, gained the anticipated value from the access control system by replacing it with the proven technology of Morpho (previously known as Sagem Sécurité).
This included two MorphoAccess 500 readers, 10 Outdoor MorphoAccess 520 readers and three enrolment stations.
“The access control system installed at the premises included five full-height turnstiles, two waist-height turnstiles, two booms and fourteen fingerprint readers. The previous system in place did not work reliably, failed to scan consistently, was slow and resulted in too many re-attempts, frustrating the employees,” Coetzee explains.
Management at Howden SA, a national supplier of fans, rotary heat exchangers and gas cleaning equipment to customers such as Escom and Sasol, noticed immediate benefit and has been pleased with the results to date.
“It took one week to get the entire system running on the Sagem readers, including enrolling everyone on the system, and the benefits were immediately apparent throughout the manufacturing plant,” says Lochi Lochner, quality director, Howden SA.