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Contactless Attendance – The Next Generation of Attendance Systems

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COVID-19 outbreak has impacted businesses like never before. The employee’s need to
work from home has finally been fulfilled. Work is now a 24*7 responsibility, that too with
your family around. However, this won’t be the case forever. Many countries have realized
the need for reopening the offices. The easing of lockdown measures has only helped
solidify this decision.
The COVID-19 virus can stay alive on an infected surface for a good number of hours.
Studies have shown that it may remain active on specific metal, plastic, or ceramic surfaces
for up to five days. Contact with these infected surfaces may result in the spread of the virus.
But at the workplace, contact is inevitable, which is why offices across the world are now
adopting measures to make maximum processes and systems contactless.
One such system is the attendance system prevalent in the workplace. This is a system that
cannot be done away with, but at the same time, this is a system that requires contact.
Maximum workplaces employ the fingerprint attendance system to keep the numbers in
check. However, this system also puts the health of the entire office at risk. All office
employees have to “touch” the scanner to register the attendance. Understandably, the
governments of many nations have actively advocated the shutdown of fingerprint-based
biometric systems.
In this article, we would look at the various contactless attendance systems that companies
can adapt to curb the spread of the virus.

Various Contactless Attendance Systems

  1. RFID Card Reading Attendance System
    RFID tags are issued to all the employees, which records attendance upon scanning. The
    an employee has to hover the card in front of the scanner, which reads the information on the
    card.
    The scanned RFID card then sends the card owner’s information to a database for
    comparison with the pre-stored data. If the information matches, the attendance is
    recorded and the employee is given access. However, in case, there is no in the
    database; then the employee is not given access. These types of systems are now used not
    just in offices and other places of employment, but also in schools to capture the
    attendance of students.
  2. Location-Based Attendance System
    The use of GPS to track attendance is a significant development in the field of contactless
    attendance systems. Once you enter the office premises, the attendance system registers
    your location. From that point onwards, the system tracks and records your information.
    When you leave the office, the system records the timestamp and the duration of your stay.
    Location-based attendance systems never really had a time in the sun – RFID based systems
    were swiftly converted to facial recognition and smartphones based systems, which meant
    that the usage of location-based systems never took off.
  3. Facial Recognition Systems for Attendance Tracking
    The Facial-Recognition based attendance systems have led to a significant development in
    the field of contactless attendance systems. It is one of the most popular attendance
    systems.
    Facial Recognition systems require you to save images of the employees’ faces in a
    database. These images are used to compare the input images that are captured when the
    employees walk into the office premises.
    Employees do not even have to wait to register their attendance themselves. Surveillance
    cameras placed at the entrances can be used to click images of the employees while they
    walk into the offices.
    Computer systems can recognize the faces precisely in the photos or videos captured by
    surveillance cameras.
    Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms are used to compare the images captured
    with the ones stored in the database. The system converts videos into frames so that
    employees don’t have to wait for the camera to capture their photos and record the
    attendance. All they have to do is walk past the camera, and the computer system does the
    rest.
  4. The use of a Smartphone as an Access Card
    This is a system that is slowly but surely catching up since it does not require any extra
    accessories to be carried around. This system is somewhat similar to the RFID tag
    attendance system. However, in place of the plastic cards, smartphones are used to register
    attendance. Once you reach the office, all you have to do is tap the attendance app on
    your phone and scan the attendance checker’s QR code through your phone camera. This
    would send your phone’s information and register the attendance without any contact.
  5. Touchless Biometric Attendance System
    Touchless Biometrics are the future of contactless attendance systems. They scan your
    fingerprint or retina without any contact. This is made possible with the help of smartly
    engineered cameras. The cameras take several photos of your palm or the retina and
    compare the images with those stored on the database. This system eliminates hygiene
    concerns as there is no need to touch a surface to register the attendance.
    Conclusion
    An employer or HR will never like to be instrumental in spreading the virus.
    The use of masks and the practice of social distancing are set to become the new normal.
    The post-COVID-19 era would present challenges of its own. They will also try to avoid being
    either over the breach of employee’s facial data. This is an ideal setting to search for an
    alternative solution that is reliable and non-biometric. A befitting alternative to the
    biometric system is the tapped phone on the access control device for marking attendance and
    opening the secured office premises. You are having the option of a standalone infection-free attendance system based on the concept of a phone tap from a distance of 3.5 cm, which
    is considered to be a safe distance for making attendance. Now you have the option of
    marking attendance with just a tap of the phone on the devices. It will complement a
    secure, safer, and infection-free urban office lifestyle through this corona free attendance
    system. Contactless Attendance systems are an answer to one of the challenges that we
    would face now as everything is slowly going back to normal. These systems are now our
    way forward.