by July 2, 2007 0 comments



Given the illiteracy rate in this country, a lot of people still use their
thumb impressions for any kind of transaction that requires identity
proof-withdrawing money from a bank, purchasing ration from a fare price shop,
taking loans, to name a few. Even the literate community uses their finger
prints in some places, like the registrar’s office when dealing in property. The
process for doing all this is pretty cumbersome, and if there is any kind of
fraud, then the impressions have to be sent to a forensics lab for
investigation. Using fingerprint scanners can be really useful in all these
areas, and one is beginning to see some action here.

Anil Chopra,
 Editor

In May this year, Andhra Bank rolled out two mobile biometric ATMs that would
be stopping at designated locations across Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The
bank’s customers would be able to operate it using their fingerprints and a PIN
number. The CMD of the bank aims to roll it out to the masses. If this happens,
then one can imagine the benefits.

For one, it eliminates the need for ATM cards, and given that banks have
millions of customers and an equal if not more number of cards, it can save them
a lot of money (and mother Earth from at least some plastic in the process).
They would never have to issue another ATM card again, since the finger print
remains the same throughout a person’s life, at least till the person becomes
very old (I’m told that fingerprints are known to fade away or even disappear
when a person becomes very old). The buck doesn’t stop here. Banks could even
issue fingerprint scanners to their key customers, who can then use it to for
online banking. This might be safer than using digital certificates, and
definitely better than using passwords. Banks won’t have to force customers to
remember long, complex passwords.

Attendance management is another use that fingerprint scanners can be put to.
If it’s put on individual workstations, you can be rest assured that only the
person assigned to it will login. This can be really useful in a BPO outfit,
where attendance proxy is quite common. It’s even better than RFID tags, because
the tags can be exchanged. India being the outsourcing destination of the world,
this could help create a good impression in front of customers.

A step beyond attendance mgmt is presence mgmt. Indian KPOs doing work for
foreign customers could use it as a key differentiator. If you have assigned
work to a CA, then how do you ensure that the CA doesn’t hand your work down to
an accounts executive? The customer can always check whether the designated
person was actually doing his job or not. Your finger could be used in a lot of
other areas. A retail outfit could use fingerprint scanners on all their PoS
terminals, to ensure that only designated counter sales executives can access
them. The use of fingerprint scanning for identity mgmt has arrived, and one is
likely to see it thrive in the coming years.

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