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Biometric Access Control System—A Complete Guide

Biometric Post
Sep 7, 2022
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Biometric Post
Biometric Access Control System—A Complete Guide

Do you want to protect your building in a more convenient and efficient manner? Then biometric access control might be exactly what you're looking for.

Biometric access control systems are gaining popularity as a more secure way to safeguard physical places such as offices, government buildings, airports, schools, hospitals, and department stores.

According to the most recent FACT.MR research, the biometric access control segment is expected to dominate the physical access control system market, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5%, and is poised to create a US$ 5 billion dollar opportunity from 2021 to 2031.

Biometric physical access control market CAGR 2021-2031 image shows the CAGR at 10.5% and incremental growth at US$ 5 billion
Biometric-based Physical Access Control System Market 2021-2031 (FACT.MR)

When compared to password, PIN code, or token-based access control systems, biometric access control systems are more secure, convenient, fast, and cost-effective.

But where do you begin with it?

In this guide, we'll go over the basics of biometric access control systems and why they're worth investing in.

What is a Biometric Access Control System?

A biometric access control system is one that determines whether or not to let a person into a building or a specific room based on the individual's unique physical biometric characteristics.

It works by comparing the person's unique biometric characteristics—such as face, fingerprint, iris, palm, and hand geometry—to a database of stored biometric templates about authorized users. If there is a match, the person is allowed in; otherwise, the person is denied access. It provides significant physical security benefits for protecting a wide variety of locations from intruders.


Aratek TruFace biometric access control solution that comes with facial recognition terminal and software management platform
Aratek TruFace Biometric Access Control System

These kinds of security systems have been widely used by a lot of enterprises and organizations to safeguard a broad range of locations, including commercial buildings, airports, banks, schools, and government facilities, among others.

So, let's start from the beginning: what components make up a biometric access control system?

Key Components of the Biometric Access Control System

A biometric access control system primarily consists of two components: biometric terminal hardware and access management software:

1) A biometric terminal hardware, (such as a facial recognition terminal), which authenticates users by comparing their biometric data against stored information.

A biometric access control terminal is a device that combines biometric readers or sensors such as a facial recognition camera, fingerprint scanning sensor, iris scanner, and so on into a single compact device to provide security access without the use of passwords. It is classified into the following popular access control device types based on the biometric characteristics it employs:

  • Facial Recognition Terminal (with camera)
  • Fingerprint Recognition Terminal (with fingerprint scanner)
  • Iris Recognition Terminal (with iris scanner)
  • Palm Vein Recognition Terminal (with infrared light)
  • Hand Geometry Recognition Terminal (with hand geometry scanner)
  • Multi-Factor Authentication Terminal (with multiple sensor reader such as RFID card reader, barcode scanner, or multi-biometrics scanners to build a more flexible and robust access control security solution.)

Biometric access control devices
Biometric access control devices

Learn more:

Biometric Devices: Definition and Examples

2) A biometric access control management software, which enrolls user information and biometric data, sets access control policies, and can even manage biometric terminals remotely across multiple sites.

A biometric access control management software acts as a conduit between users, administrators, and biometric terminals. It allows administrators to enroll users with their personal information as well as their biometric data. Administrators can also utilize the software to create biometric controls and access policies that control user access within a facility based on the time of day, location, and even employee status (e.g., new hire).

Use access control software to create biometric controls and access policies.
Use access control software to create biometric controls and access policies

Additionally, some biometric access control software solutions provide time and attendance capabilities as well as powerful device management tools. The time and attendance features allow the access security system to control access while also tracking attendance.

Configure time and attendance rules in an access control management platform
Configure time and attendance rules in an access control management platform

Learn more:

How a Biometric Attendance System Can Benefit Your Business

Furthermore, the device management features enable administrators to configure, maintain, monitor, and diagnose all access control terminals using a simple web platform, allowing them to perform maintenance tasks without physically visiting the terminal.

Device diagnostic in Aratek TruFace manager access control platform
Device diagnostic in Aratek TruFace manager access control platform

The biometric devices and software work together to create a versatile biometric physical access control solution that helps businesses and organizations secure access while protecting assets and preventing unauthorized individuals from entering buildings and facilities.

Learn more:

The Types and Features of Access Control Software You Need to Know

What Is the Workflow for Biometric Access Control?

Let's dig a little deeper to see what happens when biometric technology is used to manage access control activities.

A common example of this would be an office building where only authorized personnel having access to its door entry, checkpoints or certain areas.

The entire workflow would be as follows:

  • Enroll Users: Administrators can enroll users or employees in the access management system by capturing their faces, fingerprints, iris or palm veins, and so on with biometric terminal devices.
  • Set Up Access Privileges: After users have been enrolled, administrators can assign rules based on user roles, granting them permission to perform specific actions within the system. When the process was finished and activated, enrolled users could use their biometric credentials to unlock doors and gain access to secure areas within the building.
  • Capture Biometric Data When Gaining Access: When users attempt to gain access, the biometric access control terminal scans them. Users' facial scans, fingerprint scans, or iris scans are captured by the terminal devices' sensors.
  • Verify Identity: The system controller receives information and determines whether or not the user is permitted to enter the building or specific areas. Users are granted access if their biometric data matches that of the enrolled users and the rules that have been set. They will be denied entry if their biometric data does not match (an alarm will be triggered in real time).
  • Create Access Control Events and Reports: The access management system keeps track of who is in the building or specific area at any given time and generates reports based on that information.

A Simple Biometric Access Control Workflow by Aratek TruFace Solution
A Simple Biometric Access Control Workflow by Aratek TruFace Solution

Here's a real-life example of how biometric access control works to secure a building. Consider the following scenario: You utilize your unique biometric traits, such as fingerprints or facial features, for a physical access control system to ensure that only authorized personnel are permitted to enter the building.

When employees come at work each day, they must first enter the office through a locked door or turnstiles. They have to first provide biometric identifying credentials such as their face, fingerprint, or iris to the biometric access control terminals before they can enter. Access will be granted if he or she who does have the proper authorization. If someone attempts to pass through without being recognized by the biometric terminal device, alarms will sound and security guards will rush to the scene.

Doesn't it sound promising? So, let's go on to explore the different types of biometric access control systems so that you have more information to think over before deploying biometrics for a physical access control system to secure your organization.

Types of Biometric Access Control Systems

There are various types of biometric access control systems in use today, which can be classified based on their functionality and authentication methods.

Based on authentication methods:

Biometric access control systems are categorized into two broad categories based on their authentication methods:

  • Single-factor authentication biometric access control: These systems use only one form of biometric to authenticate users (e.g., facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, iris or palm vein recognition).
  • Multi-factor authentication biometric access control: These systems necessitate the use of two or more types of biometrics as well as additional authentication methods (for example, face + fingerprint, face + RFID card, fingerprint + PIN codes, fingerprint + QR codes, and so on).

Single-factor and multi-factor authentication biometric access control systems
Single-factor and multi-factor authentication biometric access control systems

Based on how biometric terminal devices are used:

There are two types of biometric access control systems based on how biometric terminal devices are used: contact and contactless (or touch and touchless).

  • Contact biometric access control: These systems require the user to touch something before entering the secured area. For example, users need to touch the fingerprint sensor on the biometric terminal to capture fingerprint identification scans.
  • Contactless biometric access control: These systems allow the user to enter a building without touching anything. For example, users simply scan their faces, a contactless RFID card, or an NFC mobile device to gain access - without touching anything. During the COVID-19 period, the contactless biometric access control system is gaining popularity to protect users from catching the virus by entering public places such as grocery stores, restaurants, banks, and other businesses. It usually has body temperature sensors and mask detection technology built in to provide a complete solution to ensure safety and hygiene.

Contact and contactless biometric access control systems
Contact and contactless biometric access control systems

Why Use a Biometric Access Control System?

Following our discussion of the access control system's technological components, we will go over the benefits of using an biometric access control system and how they can help your organization and business.

Biometrics for access control systems have grown in popularity in recent years because to their simplicity of use, security, and a range of far-reaching benefits. Here are four benefits why you should think about incorporating biometric technologies into your access security system:

1) Secure

Biometric security technologies outperform traditional access control authentication methods such as PIN codes and passwords in terms of accuracy and security. Because the user has provided unique physical attributes, biometric access control system eliminate the possibility of an unauthorized person gaining access to the building.

Security concerns are always a motivator for organizations to implement biometric access control systems. For example, in order to boost security and manage staff in an automated manner, biometrics spending in European companies will continue to grow, reaching $6.1 billion by 2026, at an 18% five-year CAGR from 2021 to 2026, according to an IDC report.

The real-world application:

Biometric access control systems are a secure and accurate way of ensuring only authorized personnel have access to sensitive healthcare facilities, patient records, and electronic health records. Increasingly, clinics and other healthcare facilities are turning to biometric technology to protect confidential patient data. A biometric system eliminates the need to remember passwords or carry physical security cards and ensures that only authorized personnel can gain access. Biometrics is particularly suited for healthcare organizations as it provides an extra layer of security that traditional authentication methods cannot provide.

2) Convenience

Using biometrics for access control systems allow users to unlock doors without needing to remember any passwords. This means that users will not waste time looking for their keys or guessing your passwords. To open the door, users simply scan their face, fingerprint, or eye. This makes gaining access much easier and more convenient for users while maintaining security.

3) Quick and Efficient

One of the big benefits of using biometric access control systems is to speed up the process of gaining entry into a building or specific areas. For example, consider a company that has a large manufacturing base with thousands of employees who must gain access to the factory on a daily basis. Instead of entering a password, a biometric access control system can allow employees to bypass the line by scanning their faces or iris, dramatically reducing access time and increasing user satisfaction.

4) Cost Saving

Adopting a biometric access control system in your business can help you save money in the following ways:

  • By prohibiting unauthorized employees from accessing corporate property, biometric access control systems can save you money and help you avoid employee theft. The biometric technology make it simple to identify who is entering a building and confirm that they have permission to do so. It can also easily prohibit employees who have been sacked or fired from gaining access to secure areas again.
  • Biometric access control systems allow users to gain access to the building by using their face, fingerprint, or other distinctive attributes. In comparison to traditional access methods that use physical keys, tokens, fobs or cards, this eliminates the need for replacements; that means you no longer have to pay the cost of replacing lost keys or cards.
  • Adopting biometric access control system can also reduce the number of false alarms, requiring fewer security guards to be employed. If you have a multi-entry office building, a biometric access control system allows you to use a single guard to monitor all doors through a centralized platform, rather than assigning someone to each entrance.
  • If the biometric access control solution supports integration, you will be able to combine it with a third-party security system. With this benefit, you can quickly add biometric technology as an additional layer to your existing video surveillance system to increase business security - eliminating the need to acquire a separate solution and saving you money.

The benefits of using a biometric access control system
The benefits of using a biometric access control system

How to Choose a Biometric Access Control System That Delivers?

In the preceding sections, we discussed what a biometrics access control system is and how it can benefit you. It’s time to learn how to pick the right solution. We've included three factors to consider below to help you choose the best one for your security needs.

1) Determine What Type of System You Need

The first step in selecting a biometric access control system is determining what type of system you need. This question is related to the size and industry type of your organization, the location you want to deploy in, and the security levels you want to archive.

For example, if you have a large building with a lot of employees and doors, you might need a multi-factor biometric access control system that combines facial recognition with RFID cards to quickly identify users while maintaining a higher level of security.

If you require something more sophisticated, such as the ability to track employee attendance and check body temperature as they enter the building, a contactless system with attendance management features may be required. You may also need this contactless system to provide extensive APIs so that you can easily integrate it with any existing time attendance system and video surveillance system.

2) Evaluate User Experience

Second, user experience is critical for adaptation, which means ensuring that users such as managers, administrators, and employees can use the biometric technology without becoming confused or frustrated. Biometrics should be simple to understand and use. You must ensure that users do not have to think about anything while using the system.

To archive this, select a good biometric access control system with clear instructions and simple setup procedures. It should also have user-friendly features that allow administrators to quickly learn how to operate and manage the system while also putting users at ease. You will also save time and money by not having to hire an IT specialist to set up and manage the system.

3) Select a Solution That Fits Your Budget

Finally, once you've chosen what type of biometric access control system would fulfill your security needs, you may search for systems that are within your budget.

When balancing your budget and access control purposes in this step, there are several factors to consider. For example, should you seek a provider who offers a total solution for combining biometric devices and software? or should you purchase hardware and software from separate vendors? When you consider the cost of installation, maintenance, and support services, selecting a total biometric access control solution may be the most cost-effective option for you.

Biometric Access Control System-An Overview

Biometric access control systems are becoming a popular choice for access control due to their ease of use and advanced security features. It is widely used to boost identification accuracy levels and strengthen security in a variety of access control applications.

Many organizations still rely on traditional types of access control authentication, such as magnetic swipe access control cards and PIN numbers. These methods may be vulnerable to fraud and theft, and they are frequently cumbersome and slow. This is where biometric access control systems come into play.

By incorporating biometric technology into your physical security system, you can eliminate the need for keys, passwords, and cards. This simplifies things for everyone, including building managers and employees.

Biometric Access Control System FAQs

✅ What is a biometric access control system?

A biometric access control system is a digital entry system that controls physical access to a building or room using biometrics technologies. The system identifies individuals who should be allowed entry into a secure area using facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, palm recognition, and other methods. It can bring convenience to users while maintaining high levels of security.

✅ Is biometric access control system safe?

Yes, biometrics are safe for use with access control systems. They provide an additional layer of security for users who may be reluctant to share their personal information.

✅ How much is a biometric access control system?

A biometric access control system can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of doors it controls, single or multiple site implementations, and how complex the system needs to be.

✅ What countries use biometric to secure buildings most?

Biometrics are used in more than 50% of all security systems worldwide. The top 6 countries using biometrics for building access control include: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Africa.


Physical Access Control Systems: The Definitive Guide

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Physical Access Control Systems: The Definitive Guide

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