Rutgers University Uses Biometrics to Manage Lab Equipment

Sept. 20, 2005
University employs Zvetco readers and CC&M software to manage access to million-dollar equipment

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Fingerprint authentication hardware manufacturer Zvetco Biometrics and established network security solution provider Computer Consultants & Merchants, Inc. (CC&M) today announced deployment of an integrated Biometric Subscription Control System (BSCS) for Rutgers University. Rutgers is benefiting from this unique biometric initiative, engineered by CC&M to leverage Zvetco Biometrics’ next-generation fingerprint readers, to monitor and control use of expensive research equipment. The system uses CC&M’s proven Trusted Space® biometric software suite and Zvetco’s best-in-class Verifi fingerprint authentication hardware to logically control access to high-end computers and scientific equipment in Rutgers’ Material Science and Engineering research laboratories.

“This kind of system, pioneered by Rutgers University, is very unique and holds a great deal of promise for the education industry. The BSCS validates biometric solutions as a means to exponentially strengthen security without impacting user convenience or privacy,” said Ronen Yacobi, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Zvetco Biometrics. “Biometrics are particularly beneficial in the higher education industry where the student user population has advanced learning and technology capabilities that often lead to subscription abuse. Rutgers’ success with biometrics is the next step toward mass adoption of biometrics in the education industry, where biometric identity management can benefit everything from subscription control in a research lab, to secure authentication of distance learning students to track individuals’ activities, online privileges, and ensure security and identity for online exams.”

Leveraging the simplicity and security of fingerprint authentication, Rutgers now has an automated solution to accurately track the hours equipment is used and ensure access only by authorized students and researchers. Using the BSCS, Rutgers’ research lab administrators can track, report and archive everything from when and how long individuals used the system, to total use time per individual—even tracking hours put on a piece of equipment to improve maintenance and budgeting for eventual replacement/repairs.

“We needed better control over the computers in our laboratories, which are the operating basis for multi-million dollar research equipment. There are so many students and researchers, we need to know with certainty everyone who uses the equipment to accurately track the number of hours put on laboratory resources, and to facilitate billing for time spent on many of the machines that require a charge for usage, like the X-ray diffraction equipment,” said Rutgers Professor W. Roger Canon of the University’s Materials Science and Engineering Department. “All this requires is to teach users how to place their finger on Zvetco’s biometric scanner during their first enrollment, and they can then log on and off the machines with the touch of a finger.”

Prior to the BSCS implementation, Rutgers used a simple sign-in sheet. Users were lax about signing in to use the equipment, and signatures often couldn’t be read by administrators, requiring professors to spend valuable time deciphering their students and researcher names every month, and resulting in inaccuracies for time spent on the equipment. The BSCS provides Rutgers with the required accountability to manage and audit access and usage of lab equipment, preventing any type of identity theft or abuse of laboratory resources.

“Rutgers needed a subscription-based control system that offered strong authentication of everyone using the lab equipment, and faced a number of business challenges such as shared IDs and access, and inaccurate tracking, reporting and billing. The university is ahead of the curve deploying Trusted Space and biometrics as the solution, when most universities are just beginning to understand the security and convenience biometrics can offer,” said Carolyn McHale, project manager at CC&M Inc. “This allows Rutgers University and its professors to focus on educating students and research projects, eliminating inefficient use of valuable resources while easing concerns about the security of systems, accuracy of lab equipment tracking, and deciphering of hand-written user signatures. Biometric fingerprint identification provides a simpler and more convenient way for students and researchers to access lab equipment central to their research, benefiting the research staff and students as well.”

CCM is online at Zvetco Biometrics is online at