Zoo to link biometric technology with staff data and payroll

Keys, tokens and cards not as effective as facial recognition system for access control

The world renowned Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland has installed a 3D facial recognition system.

The biometric technology enables the rapid capture and identification of facial images for a range of applications from physical access control, time and attendance, border control, ePassports and visa programs.

Australia Zoo is using the system to control access to its administration building and to ensure a high level of security for peace of mind.

Moreover, the zoo is planning to link staff access data into its timesheet and payroll system to streamline administration processes.

The Vision Access hardware and software system, supplied by local distributor TakSec Solutions Pty Ltd, comprises an optical unit which captures a 3D image of an individual.

Australia Zoo human resources co-ordinator, Matt O'Connor, said it is then stored as a personal profile much like a photograph on a secure PC.

"When the individual subsequently requires access to a building, the optical unit scans their face and in a matter of milliseconds, verifies their identity against the database profile," he said.

"Profiles of office and administration staff are already on the new system."

O'Connor said the system will eliminate the possibility of a patron gaining unauthorised access to the office and administration area of the zoo.

The Zoo has around 540 staff and new profiles will be created as new staff are inducted.

TakSec Solutions managing director, Trevor May, said 3D facial recognition systems are far more accurate than the 2D systems they are now replacing.

"It is a lot more effective than keys, tokens and cards that are the conventional tools of personal identification and access control," May said.

"3D is also much more user-friendly and accurate than other biometric technologies such as iris and fingerprint scanning."

Surprisingly, zoos in Australia have always been early adopters of new technology.

For example, the Taronga and Great Plains Zoos adopted e-commerce back in early 1999 going live with Australia's first secure electronic transaction (SET) implementation.

The zoos used the technology on their Web sites to provide a safe payment method for securing sponsorship for its animals. SET is also used for their online retail stores.

Through digital certificates, SET-compliant products enable cardholders to ensure the validity of online merchants when paying by credit card.

This project proves biometrics is no longer just for governments and highly secure environments, it is being deployed in a range of different applications across Australia.

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