alarm systemBasics

What is biometric security

Biometrics In Security Systems

fingerprints for identification
Biometrics: Fingerprints

‘Biometrics’, it sounds so science fiction, but it really isn’t at all. We all have seen this in movies and maybe even used a system like this. Let’s shed some light on this mystery.

I am always checking for news on home security systems, and while I was reading some articles about security systems, I came across a post on Google+, originally shared by Annie Mileva. It was about the company BIODIT ( The headline, ‘Advantages of Biometric Systems’, caught my attention, and I was thinking that it is some new security system. So I planned to research if there is any biometric security system on the market that is used for home security.


What is biometrics?

The iris can be used for identification
Biometric iris scan

Biometrics is nothing other than human characteristics that can be measured. Mostly known are fingerprints, facial recognition, a person’s voice and of course the eyes. The eyes actually have two unique characteristics, the iris and the retina. The iris, the dark part in your eye, has unique patterns which are unique and mainly created through genes. The retina, also known as the ‘white part of the eye’, has unique blood vessel patterns.

On a lighter note, there are ten more identifiable characteristics. Do you remember when your children were born? One of the first thing done, besides measuring the weight and height, was taking the baby’s footprint. All ten toes have unique toe prints.

Sounds funny, but some people believe that the toe prints have the same pattern as the fingerprints. That is not the case, they are different.

Biometric fingerprint scanner
Biometric fingerprint scanner

Biometric device definition

Basically, a biometric device has the ability to read and store a biometric characteristic. Secondly, it offers the means to input a biometric characteristic and compares the input to the previously stored characteristic. This could be a fingerprint or any other biometrics mentioned in the paragraph above. Once a positive identification is made, the device will do what it is programmed to do, which could be to grant access to a room via a door.


Advantages of biometric systems

You never have to worry about forgetting your password or losing a key. Biometric systems will store your characteristics, recall and compare them at the appropriate time. Most of us have a cell phone, and millions of them use biometric systems for access control.

The notion is that there are no two fingerprints alike. In general, it is not impossible, but improbable (not likely to be true or to happen). The concept of using fingerprints for identification purpose was pointed out by a Scottish surgeon in 1880 but wasn’t used until years later.

Disadvantages of biometric systems

databases are hacking targets
Database hackers

It is said that fingerprints cannot be stolen. In my opinion, that’s sort of true. We know that fingerprints are used in airport, hospitals, banks, and police departments. Some are used for access control, other for registration and identification. In the olden days, they were stored on paper stock. Nowadays, they are stored electronically. How many times have we heard that a database was ‘hacked’ and the data was stolen? Of course, that can happen with the stored fingerprints too. Today’s high-tech thieves will find a way to use the fingerprint database to their advantage.

Where are biometric systems used for?

After some research, I have found three groups that use biometrics

  • Access control to buildings
  • Access, time and attendance
  • Door locks

Access control to buildings

Very interesting subject for owners of businesses who want to make sure that only authorized personnel accesses the facility. Consider the fact that most systems have some sort of tracking which can tell you precisely who is in the building and who is not, including access and exit times.

Access, time and attendance

A great additional tracking feature for payroll purposes. This could also have good use in daycares or after school programs tracking the participants.

Door locks

These can be used for home security. There are all sorts of biometric door locks on the market. They look pretty nice and some do look mysterious, in particular, the colors of the fingerprint scanning surface. Pay particular attention to the type of lock. Deadlocks are much more efficient when it comes to security.

In Summary

Yes, I did find door locks with biometric systems that can be used for home security purposes, but those are independent systems. Meaning that they are not connected to the home security system and if anybody tempers with them, there is no direct connection to the security system in order to alert the monitoring station.

I did NOT find a home security system

  • that has any integrated biometric devices
  • that can be armed or disarmed using biometrics

It sure looks like that biometric security is more frequently used for commercial applications like buildings, banks, hotels, to name a few.



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