Biometrics for batteries

Every morning when Rick Long enters his office at the Enersys Energy Products facility in Warrensburg, Mo., he is reminded of how much of an improvement the new Panasonic Iris Recognition access control system is over the old card system. There are no lines, no fumbling with cards and no individuals entering on the heels of another’s card swipe. He also knows the building and its occupants are much safer and more secure.

Eyeing the Options

As Network Systems Manager for Enersys Energy Products, Long was tasked with researching options to replace the company’s card-based access control system and determined that biometrics was the way to go. Working with its system integrator, Electronic Supply Co. Inc., Enersys evaluated several forms of biometric security products, including fingerprint readers and iris recognition systems.

Long ultimately selected the Panasonic solution for its high rate of accuracy and because it is a standalone system that does not require a secondary form of identification such as a PIN or badge in addition to the biometric identification.

With iris recognition technology, a template or “map” of each enrolled individual’s iris pattern is stored on a database. To gain access, enrolled individuals simply look into the iris reader’s mirrors and the system compares his/her iris pattern images with iris templates. A match verifies the identity and access permission is given.

The Problem of Lost Badges Solved

Two Panasonic BM-ET200A Iris Recognition Readers are installed at the main employee entrances. “Coming from a badge system, we see the Iris Recognition reader as a great improvement to building security,” Long says. “With this system, we don’t have to worry about the possibility of giving an unauthorized person access to our facility. We know that anyone coming through the door is a current employee.”

The Warrensburg facility is one of the battery manufacturing sites for Enersys, and specializes in pure lead acid products for the reserve power and specialty markets. In addition to improving the entry security control, Long says that the move to a biometric access control solution for the site was prompted by the need to address the concern of lost badges.

“The problem of lost badges has been greatly reduced,” he says. “We still use badges for the time-and-attendance application, but with the iris readers at the doors, the employees are not required to take their badge home after their shift — in fact, we discourage it.”

Impressive Speed and Accuracy

A product demonstration arranged by Raul Morffi of Electronics Supply Co. Inc. revealed the speed and accuracy of the system, which has a fault acceptance rate lower than 1 in 1.2 million and can read an iris in 0.3 seconds. In addition, the dual mirror configuration, distance indicator and voice guidance recognition procedure enhance the simplicity of enrollment and identification.

“The entire management team went through the enrollment procedure during the demonstration,” Morffi says. “With almost 500 employees, they needed to know that entry control would be fast and easy with no line-ups.”

Adds Long: “We were very impressed with the speed and accuracy at which the system could read the iris, recognize the user and open the door. It could accommodate users of varying physical heights and at no time was any physical contact required.”

Other features of the iris recognition systems include built-in tamper detection to prevent data from being extracted; integration with Wiegand-compatible EAC control systems; and built-in support for Prox and i-Class smart card applications. With the user-selectable option of standalone operation, enrollment via numeric key or web integration (supports more than 10,000 concurrent users), the BM-system is compatible with any operational platform.