Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Rise of Biometric Identification In The Education Sector

Primarily, with regards to Biometric Identification, fingerprint scanning is one of the most widely used methods of verification adopted worldwide. The current COVID-19 pandemic crisis has brought about increased caution and instigated a ‘contactless culture’ related to the importance of social distancing. Biometric identification can still be a useful security measure and can be enhanced with contactless biometric technology.

Contactless biometric technology, with its abilities and applications, has now become a valuable tool for instructors who want to enforce academic integrity in light of the continued migration of learning into the online space. However, it also offers significant safety benefits beyond that.

Advocating the "contactless" new norm

In today's high-risk environment, public health is a major issue. Offices, schools and public institutions are either temporarily closed, or slowly reopening with tight regulations and operational SOPs.

This is where biometric verification can come in handy. Fingerprint scanning can be exclusively enabled for identification on personal devices - such as through the use of a personal smartphone for fingerprint verification, or facial verification through a phone camera. In this way, biometrics can still be used as a relevant security measure for schools. In fact, biometrics might lead to fewer points of contact in public spaces and better safety control.

Building a more engaging educational experience

In addition to grade books and report cards, school districts now have access to a set of tools that might provide them with unprecedented insight into how students engage with class material. This is possible via biometric data.

The applications of such information are obvious with the advent of popular wearable technology, such as Fitbits and smartwatches. The current crisis would require that individuals use personal wearables as a means of practicing social distancing.

Biosensors can be used to make inferences about student engagement, including infrared and surveillance cameras, as well as to characterize behavioural problems. Measurements of their behaviour — such as eye contact, interactions with other students, and body language — can convey a lot about how a learner interprets the material in the class. Using Big Data, these records can help instructors when a learner might lose interest, when they might need assistance, or when there are distractions in the room.

Reinforced security

In managing the student body, safeguarding online access to records, monitoring attendance, and protecting property such as books from the school library, schools are responsible for handling multiple security and convenience-related issues. On top of this, schools have a transient audience by nature, with new students coming and going each semester.

Online learning has introduced a new security risk now because schools need to safely identify the person taking the tests and participating in the course. In the end, all of this boils down to positive identification.

Traditional methods for aspects like attendance, online security and checking out library books have been substituted with contactless biometric authentication (and with good reason). It's simply another case of process enhancement via technology.

Expect to see similar contactless enhancements as digital transformation becomes more common. 
As part of school lunch programs, many schools even adopted biometric authentication. Biometric sign-in lets individuals monitor their school lunch account discreetly, irrespective of whether it is self-financed or subsidized. Again, schools will have to adapt to the new norm and rely on contactless biometric verification moving forward. 

Streamlining school operations

The convergence of different activities and timeliness can be critical for maintaining discipline in any school. Incorporating biometrics at different parts of the school can reduce manual work, paperwork, and time taken with regards to different processes including student registration, attendance, reporting, allocation of equipment, library management and invoicing.

Deploying a biometric access control system at the main door could very well prevent any threats to safety from entering the school premises. This system would also make school transport secure for students as well as convenient for drivers.

Younger kids are often struggling to get on to the right bus and get off at the right stop, while new drivers can also fail to identify students visually and remember details. Contactless biometrics can help school authorities store all of these details and make transportation to school safe and efficient.

Boosting purchasing efficiency

Though considered a high-cost option, when implemented in schools, contactless biometrics provides a variety of advantages. Students will no longer have to carry cash that can get lost, stolen or misused for the purpose of making purchases, such as in cafeterias. Moving away from the traditional identity card system eliminates the issue of lost, stolen, and damaged cards, reducing costs and inconvenience. What’s more, contactless biometric verification through facial or fingerprint methods from personal mobile devices could reduce the risk of contracting any illnesses.

With contactless biometrics systems throughout canteens, students will no longer have the potential to be publicly identified as having a "free" or "reduced" status, and meal lines move much faster. Schools have also been known to experience a 20 per cent increase in cafeteria meal line speed.

Maintaining academic integrity

With artificial intelligence effectively being able to read body language and facial features, it is possible to better preserve academic integrity. This is especially useful in a college examination or standardized test situation, where invigilators may not necessarily recognise signs of cheating in large test-taking groups.

Students could also benefit from an identification system for biometrics that would allow effective identification during online testing.

There are many reasons why schools should adopt this biometric technology. It builds up a more engaging educational experience by enabling more access and the ability to recognize behaviour patterns. There is also more security and school operations can be streamlined. Other than that, it can enable contactless processes and reduces downtime with regards to purchasing. It can also make it harder for students to cheat. 

Biometric Identification may be commonly understood as involving some sort of physical contact. However, educational institutes can benefit from implementing contactless biometric technology. Such benefits can include safety and even relate to purchasing efficiency, academic integrity, as well as the streamlining of school operations.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Why the COVID-19 Crisis is a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

The COVID-19 outbreak has made a seismic impact on people's memories. Businesses around the world have had to take work-from-home or social-distancing measures — or even temporarily cease operations. Digital transformation is essential with regards to operational resilience for enterprises as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect the world economy.

The pandemic continues to cause political and economic turmoil and is affecting business operations. Some businesses have indeed been able to play to their strengths. Others are now taking digitization seriously.

Growing demand for secure cloud solutions

Just as businesses were beginning to recognize adoption of ‘the cloud’ as a vital catalyst for business transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has made it a key enabler to ensure business continuity. During these challenging times, the cloud's power to transform backup data into an asset, making it more open and accessible, can help organizations gain critical insights into uncovering opportunities and expediting decision making.

Even so, with more workers connecting remotely to work from home, cloud adoption without data protection could be ineffective. Cloud data protection systems are a must as they can ease data complexity, provide a central point of access, increase data visibility, reduce legal and regulatory risks and save costs.

Businesses must set up a foundation for data protection

Businesses are helping employees to work from home to try and safeguard business continuity and security. Simplifying data backup and recovery is one of the measures that can be taken in order to make the data management and accessibility process easier and faster (especially when the entire company connects remotely). While conventional backup systems are both cost-intensive and time-consuming, the backup process can be accelerated through a cloud data protection system.

There is a shift in digital security priorities

In the face of cybercrime, the need for safety and security remains paramount. However, to bring about change and realize the scale and potential of digitalization for industries, one might need to be more open. Building a wall, whether physical or virtual, hampers data, information, and knowledge exchange. These are the foundations of the digital world and it's the speed at which we can turn that knowledge into an important product that really matters.

In order to bring about change, trust must be created not only in the data itself (especially when critical decisions are based on it) but also in those who use the data. Scandals like the Cambridge Analytica incident have lessened our trust in such things. This ultimately leads to the need for behavioural change and system modernization within the industry and among policy-makers.

It is a cultural transition of epic proportions that must happen if we are to realize the potential of the digital era.

There's a sense of urgency to move forward

For many corporations, speeding up their digital transformation is the only option. That involves moving from abstract conceptualization to active scale-up, backed by continuous testing and continual learning. These moves should take place in two areas: at the core of the company and through new business development.

Despite the enormous difficulties that CEOs manage today, it's time to act now. In fact, we've seen that the significant decrease in travelling time has provided more time for CEOs and their top teams to focus on new initiatives. For example, a leader at a large bank recently said they were finally getting around to deploying a major Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) program that they had no time for before. Given how rapid the change that’s taking place is, it might be too late to wait until you see signs of recovery.

Besides, businesses also start to recognize the fact that physical document signing is no longer just a disruption for a month or two of pandemic lockdown period, but a sustained challenge for any activity that relies on face-to-face workflow. Just among Innov8tif’s clientele, we have witnessed the following problem statements related to document signing:

1. How could a mobile network operator seal postpaid subscription contracts with customers, truly online while still legal-binding and complying to Malaysia’s Digital Signature Act 1997?

2. How could the authorized signatory of a MNC who is subject to stringent audit requirements, approve payment instructions online while addressing the need for non-repudiation requirements?

Such requirements can be easily accomplished with document approval workflow which addresses digital workflow routing needs, plus a seamlessly integrated digital signing solution that accomplishes legal binding document signing, and even enhanced biometrics authentication to provide additional level of confidence towards the identity proofing process. It sounds like a complex solution, but it has been simplified by Innov8tif with an out-of-the-box offering.

Enterprises must accept the new digitized norm

Prominent economies are already looking at confining themselves and carefully thinking about how individuals will move around. This phase might be long (possibly two years) for businesses, uncertain and will have a lasting effect on corporate roadmaps and organizations. In concrete terms, most corporations are likely going to face uncertainty and economic recession.

Remote work has become the new norm. Flexible working will become the norm for most organizations as it is the simplest solution for helping to watch out for the daily well-being of workers. As a result, company roadmaps and digital customer experiences are likely to be effected within the next 18 months. Workflow gives you the power to work better — no matter the circumstances. So employees can be productive, wherever they are. And customers can get what they need, when they need it.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues taking a toll on the world economy and affecting business operations, digital transformation is crucial. With most people isolating themselves at home and working from home, more businesses are now taking digitization seriously. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for digital transformation.