Webinar Questions and Answers
Biometric technology is making campus dining centers more efficient and patron-friendly. Not only does it help with flow and ease of access, these readers also ensure accuracy of the credential presented.
We recently hosted a webinar on how the University of Maryland is using a hand wave biometric reader to grant access to an all-you-care-to-eat dining facility. Fuller Ming, assistant director of information technology for University of Maryland dining services, and Wes Urban, CBORD solutions architect, presented background on why this solution was chosen, how it was installed, and how it works with the CS Gold card system.
Here are questions asked during the webinar answered by Fuller.
Has there ever been the case where the MorphoWave couldn’t recognize a student and prevented them from entering? If so, what is the course of action for letting the student in? The ID Card?
Fuller: If a student is enrolled but the quality of their enrollment was low, it might cause this problem. The cashier at the point-of-sale terminal near the entrance would call the student over and he or she would simply use the ID card.
What does the touchscreen on the reader allow you to do? Could you select dining dollars or meal plans?
Fuller: At this time, it only shows the students name and the speaker says “Access Granted.” If the student is not in the system due to not being enrolled or not having a valid meal plan for the location tied to the MorphoWave tower, the screen shows “Access Denied” or nothing.
How do you handle biometric storage on readers for different venues with separate access groups?
Fuller: I assume you mean “storage of the data.” Remember, this is simply an access reader, so whatever is done in access with squadron is what you would do here. The configuration for meal plans will still work and the tower will deny access because squadron will deny access if the student doesn’t have a meal plan that is accepted at the logical location as configured in CS Gold. We set up a 24-hour schedule so if the system is offline, and thus, can’t check the meal plan, the MorphoWave will still work and the turnstile will open. However, if they have no meals when the system comes back online, we deal with that like any other offline transaction for that location.
What was the decision factor, driver, or idea to have biometric like the MorphoWave?
Fuller: Dining Services hired a consultant that suggested anytime/unlimited dining and advised that iris scanning biometrics for the entrance. Most were uncomfortable with the eye-scanning system and asked for a fingerprint reader. At the Tech Exhibit during the 2015 CBORD User Group Conference, MorphoTrak, now IDEMIA, had the tower on display. My staff bothered me about it until I asked Bob Lemly if it were possible to use it. I took a picture and sent to my director who said go for it. We also didn’t want a two-step process for entering the dining hall such as present fingerprint and then swipe or tap the ID card – which we had seen elsewhere. Having a single action contactless wave to enter the Dining Hall was significantly more attractive.
Why did you choose MorphoWave tower vs contactless card?
Fuller: We don’t have a contactless card and are still a mag stripe institution. I did mention to the Registrar, the office that makes our ID cards since we don’t yet have a card office, that I might need a contactless card, but I would have preferred a biometric. I would have suggested MIFAIR DESFire EV1/EV2. In addition, even a contactless card could be passed to another student and remember – this is unlimited access to the dining hall. Thus, we really needed to know that the student who paid for the dining plan was the student using the dining plan.
How is the maintenance of the MorphoWave in terms of technology issues, costs to upkeep, etc.?
Fuller: We vacuum them out each summer because they get dusty, but they are solid-state computing devices. I’ve had no problems with the towers. Regarding the turnstiles, we do preventive maintenance on them according to the manufacture’s documentation. I had a tech from the turnstile manufacturer work with a staff member from our facilities department to go over what has to be checked each summer. So far, I’ve only had to contact CBORD once on hardware issues, and they worked with IDEMIA to ship out a component that I installed myself (a small circuit board for the turnstile). I had to ship the damaged component back. We purchased the towers and the turnstiles through CBORD.
Do you find the MorphoWave tower to be energy efficient since it runs 24/7?
Fuller: Good question – I don’t know. We leave them on 24/7, except for summer when we don’t use them. We have emergency power on them, so if the building power goes, they stay up and running.