Biometrics hits Dubai universities

Image source: Intersec 2017

Faking attendance and bunking class are getting a lot harder, as universities and educational institutions in the UAE switch to biometric solutions that not only enhance on-campus security, but also make it easy to track attendance.

Biometrics hand scanning with fingerprints analyzing. Image source: Intersec 2017
Biometrics hand scanning with fingerprints analyzing. Image source: Intersec 2017

For example, according to the organisers of Intersec 2017, a trade fair for security, safety and fire protection solutions providers, the Hult International Business School in Dubai was among the first to test Swiss company TBS’ (Touchless Biometric Technology) 3D technology, to record class attendance via a wirelessly connected kiosk and a touchless fingerprint sensor at the entrance of each lecture room, “ensuring all students sign-in, even if they’re late”.

Alex Zarrabi, CEO of TBS, claims that the successful installation on the Dubai campus served as a “persuasive example” to Hult’s other locations — now its readers are installed in Hult campuses in London, Boston and San Francisco. He adds all four locations are synchronised instantly, giving the college real-time and global control on attendance data for all students.

TBS will be showcasing its 3D-Terminal and other biometric access control solutions at the Intersec 2017, which will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, from January 22-24, 2017. Also participating at the event is Matrix Comsec from India, which makes door controllers capable of reading wet, dirty, elderly, and oily fingers. Sagar Gosalia, Senior Vice-President for Marketing and Sales at Matrix Comsec, says the company’s biometric access control and time attendance solution is “hugely popular” in the Middle East and African market.

Other biometric and security solutions companies participating at the expo include AllGoVision from India, UAE companies Al Asma Technology, CP Plus and Hanwha Techwin; Polish manufacturers Digital Guardian and Easy Clocking; Suprema from Korea; and Iris ID from the USA. Overall, 1,300 exhibitors from 52 countries and 31,000 visitors from 128 countries are expected to attend.

The organisers of Intersec 2017 point to a report from market research firm MarketsandMarkets that estimates the global market for biometrics systems to reach $24.4 billion by 2020, growing annually by 18 per cent between 2015 and 2020. Meanwhile, TechNavio forecasts that biometrics in Middle East will grow faster at 19 per cent annually, up to 2019.

In fact, the Middle East has emerged as a key market and, according to Zarrabi, a “world-leader in biometrics, regardless of economic ups and downs”. He attributes this to higher awareness about safety and security issues. Besides, GCC governments have “an inclination for convenient modern solutions based on biometrics and allow their widespread usage”.