Leveraging advanced biometrics for the construction industry

advanced biometrics

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Shiraz Kapadia, CEO & President, Invixium says that modern, advanced biometrics can be applied beyond traditional office settings to combat challenges at construction sites.

Biometric technology has gained widespread acceptance across a wide range of industries for its unprecedented accuracy and efficiency in access control, workforce management and health and safety applications.

Leveraging advanced modalities like facial recognition, these systems establish dynamic processes to combat new and emerging challenges relating to everything from unauthorised access to labour management and compliance.

And, while biometrics have proven successful in many business environments, the question remains: How can these solutions be effectively adapted to rugged and harsh environments?

A construction site is a far cry from the corporate offices where biometric devices are increasingly being deployed for conventional security and workforce management applications.

Unlike the controlled environment of an office, construction sites are exposed to extreme weather conditions, dirt and dust.

Surprisingly, many of the technologies available in the biometric market are designed using materials typically found in common household products.

This can be problematic, as flimsy plastics, thin glass and fragile composites cannot withstand the daily use and abuse typical to construction sites.

Remote construction sites lack network connection points, further underscoring the challenge of deploying biometric systems.

Beyond the physical challenges that come with deploying biometric security solutions in construction, there are other unique pain points to consider.

Firstly, construction sites house valuable equipment and materials, making it crucial to have robust access control measures in place to protect against loss and theft.

These locations are also high risk areas where improper access by individuals without the proper training or credentials can lead to bodily harm or even death.

Secondly, construction sites typically employ a large and diverse workforce, including hourly employees and third party contractors, as well as visitors and temporary day labourers.

Managing and tracking individuals in these environments is complex, documenting the need for accurate and reliable workforce management.

Conversely, there are many common security and workforce challenges that affect all industries and are not unique to just construction.

Take labour overhead, for example. Labour expenditures are widely regarded as the single most expensive costs of doing business across all industries.

Time theft further exacerbates these costs, resulting in significant financial losses for any organisation without a robust workforce management solution in place.

This is especially true of construction sites, where manual methods of tracking employee time on-site are typically employed and significantly contribute to time theft, payroll error and an overall decline in productivity.

Given that all business operations strive to reduce costs, mitigate risk, prevent loss, thwart threats, improve operational efficiency and promote health safety, leading biometric solutions meet the unique needs experienced by the industry.

They combine ruggedised construction with features that go beyond what is possible with legacy access control and time and attendance systems.

Specifically, these biometric solutions offer multi-factor authentication using any combination of multiple biometrics (face recognition, finger vein, fingerprint), mobile credentials (digital card, dynamic QR code) and traditional credentials (card, PIN) for access control, workforce management and health safety applications.

When deployed in a construction environment, these trifecta solutions are ideal for managing personnel identification and authentication to ensure highly accurate time tracking of every worker across all sites.

Utilising advanced biometrics: A win-win proposition

The first step in leveraging biometric technology for construction site applications is worker enrolment.

By capturing workers’ unique biometric identifiers via facial and/or fingerprint readers during enrolment, the device enables precise identity verification and authentication.

This process eliminates the risk of fraudulent attendance records and enhances security by allowing only authorised individuals access to specific construction sites.

Moreover, the use of biometric identifiers means workers do not have to remember PIN codes or carry ID cards, which can easily be shared, lost or stolen.

And, with touchless facial recognition readers, workers can gain access while wearing gloves, glasses and other equipment.

The process is fast too, authenticating nearly 20 users per minute, reducing time wasted during shift changes.

Biometric devices installed on-site at construction sites are also an effective tool in the fight against time theft, using inherent time and attendance tracking functions.

When workers arrive or leave the site, they use the device to clock in and out.

By capturing biometric data and timestamping attendance information in real time, readers eliminate the time consuming, manual process of clocking in as well as any inaccuracies in attendance records.

This level of precision provides a solid foundation for efficient workforce management.

Finally, leading biometric devices are engineered to overcome the environmental and physical challenges of construction sites.

Rated for outdoor use and field proven in some of the harshest environmental conditions (like mining operations), these biometric devices are built using some of the toughest materials on earth.

This includes damage, scratch-resistant glass and solid metal exterior housings.

Fast data transfer is further achieved via 4G cellular connectivity to accommodate deployment at construction sites devoid of LAN/WAN connectivity, allowing for real time insights to enable accurate workforce attendance, mustering capabilities and more.

Such advanced biometric access and workforce management solutions promote better operational efficiency, safety and security as well as heightened organisational satisfaction and morale.

Most importantly, companies benefit from proven ROI by reducing time theft, mitigating risk and eliminating waste.

Advanced biometric solutions deliver a win-win proposition for construction companies from every perspective.

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