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Face-scan technology lets workers clock in with a smile

Wed., Sept. 7, 2011

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Employees can forget punch cards and finger scans. Now, two seconds in front of a small machine and they’re clocked in through a face scan.

Biometric face-scanning time clocks have been introduced within the past year. Two companies – Lathem, an Atlanta-based time and attendance system company and Compumatic Time Recorders Inc. in New York – said the time clocks are meant to prevent “buddy punching” and improve hygiene and security.

Buddy punching occurs when tardy employees ask other workers to punch them in. Lathem’s FaceIN product manager, Tony Burks, said the system uses two cameras: a black-and-white device that identifies 60 points on a human face and a camera that takes a color digital analysis of one’s features. The devices weigh about a pound and can be easily attached to the wall.

“No worry about Big Brother watching you because everything is a digital template, not an actual image of the individual,” Burks said. “FaceIN is touchless and hygienic. You just simply look at it. The bulk of our business is in health care business, food services, manufacturing, government and retail.”

Don Tozer introduced the system last year at New Jersey State Auto Auction in Jersey City.

“We had several older systems,” Tozer said. “A paper system punch card didn’t work very well with friends clocking out other people. We also had a fingerprint scan machine. Sometimes (automobile) service guys’ fingers are dirty when they come out of the shop, and it didn’t pick up on the readings. (FaceIN’s) initial expense was a little more than the old paper system you would buy at Staples, but over the long term it saves me a lot of time.”

FaceIN and Compumatic’s MB1000 have a variety of access combinations, including the face scanner, card access, door access and a finger scanner.

The lightweight devices store information in their software that can be moved to a USB drive onto a computer on FaceIN or connected with an Ethernet cable for both models. Burks said construction companies use FaceIN as an off-site, portable time clock.

Paul Lefkowitz is the retail sales manager of time-management equipment dealer Widmer Time Recorder Co. in Hackensack. His company has sold about 10 FaceINs, and he said Lathem’s product is popular with small businesses because of its lower cost and sophisticated technology.

“It’s too new for the larger corporations to make the transition because to have 500 people punch in and out at one time you have to have multiple terminals at different locations,” Lefkowitz said.

Burks said FaceIN is secure enough to deny access even to an identical twin.


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