Five Uses of Biometrics

Biometrics are measurements and/or calculations of the human body, used to identify people.

There are many different types of biometrics, as there are many parts of the human body which can uniquely identify you. Most of the common ones are: fingerprints, iris recognition, voice recognition, hand geometry. There is a more complex type of biometric measurement called behavioural biometrics which combines several different measurements: this will be covered later.


This is the usage that most people immediately associate with biometrics, thanks to its constant appearance in films. Use of biometrics in security bars access to certain areas to all who don’t have their biometrics registered on the system. Only the correct biometric presented in the correct way at the correct time will open the door.

In films, the scanner is often fooled by the villain or anti-hero gorily cutting off relevant body parts from someone with that registered access. Outside of the world of films, this sort of shenanigans would likely to be foiled by inbuilt liveness detection, which uses various passive and/or active methods to detect whether or not the biometric measurement is coming from a real live person.

The most common security biometric measurement is fingerprints or facial recognition, though the more expensive iris recognition and voice recognition are also often used.

Time and attendance

Any workplace needs a way to keep track of employees’ attendance, particularly since the European Court of Justice has ruled that companies need “an objective, reliable and accessible system” to measure daily time worked.

A biometric attendance system is the perfect way to ensure this ruling is followed. Fingerprint scanners are most commonly used for this purpose, though some companies use facial recognition.

As well ensuring accurate measurements, biometric attendance stops employees from committing wage theft. With a non-biometric method of measuring attendance, such as swipe cards or a paper register, employees can make co-workers sign in for them fraudulently. With biometrics, employers can be confident that the person clocking in is who they are supposed to be.

Many office-based companies are concerned about fingerprint biometric attendance, but it shouldn’t feel like Big Brother is watching you! It is up to employers how they collect and analyse the data they receive.

Law enforcement

The police force has used fingerprints to help them solve crimes since the early 20th century. Fingerprint matching techniques have increased in accuracy in leaps and bounds, including not only matching fingerprints from people brought to the station, but accuracy of latent fingerprints left at a crime scene.   

In modern times, police forces also use facial recognition biometrics, both in order to catch known criminals and in order to prevent crime occurring, by comparing passers-by to a watch-list.


Biometrics are becoming the norm in many airports across the globe, as part of a drive to make passengers’ journeys more seamless. This generally takes the form of facial recognition at passport control, when passengers insert their passports and have their faces scanned to see if the match is acceptable. This is considerably faster than officer-controlled checking.

Other forms are being experimented with as well; for example, South Korean air passengers will be able to verify themselves with palm vein biometrics from January 2020.


Biometrics are fast becoming a vital step in banks’ anti-fraud arsenal; everything from setting up voice recognition when you telephone the bank, so that they can hear someone pretending to be you, up to the more complex ‘behavioural biometrics’.

This is a multi-factor form of identification, where software learns everything from your usual shopping habits to the way that you move your mouse or type on a keyboard or scroll and tap on a phone. For example, someone typing their personal data into a sign-up form might be very jerky, stopping and starting, and that could be a sign of copying. Measurements taken for other uses of behavioural biometrics can include their gait (the way that they walk.)

Time and Attendance UK are experts at developing and integrating the latest biometric technologies in order to improve the level of security we can offer. Our Indonesian partners, TSI, have recently introduced and demonstrated several biometric technologies including our facial recognition system to show how financial fraud could be combated.

Using links to the Indonesian national database, the eKTP, including the capability to directly read an Indonesian national identity card, TSI can reliably and irrefutably prove the identity of an Indonesian citizen to provide assurances to the Indonesian financial institutions regarding the identity of an individual undertaking a financial transaction.

We also offer a range of biometric fingerprint readers designed specifically for those who want peace-of-mind, certainty and the assurance that only the right people can gain access to your sensitive or dangerous areas.

These biometric time and attendance systems come packed in a very elegant and stylish case, while in the same time being extremely easy to use. Plus, they’re very easy to interconnect with our proximity card access scanners, allowing users to mix fingerprint reading and non-fingerprint reading scanners on the same security network.

If you’d like to find out more about the biometric time and attendance systems supplied by Time and Attendance UK, just contact our dedicated product team or Book a Demo, our representatives will be more than happy to answer any questions or queries you might have.