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Lathem FR700 Facial Recognition system information.

Facial recognition technology is making inroads to the access control, security, and time and attendance businesses.  Initially we had time cards and punchy clocks, time cards and self-totaling clocks, then software happened.  Soon came “time clock terminals” with employee PIN numbers, then magnetic swipe time clocks, followed by proximity card time clocks.  Hand Punch readers were actually developed in 1978 for unbeatable nuclear power plant security, but didn't sell well because of the cost.  Along came fingerprint readers, then iris scanners (which proved unwelcome).  Now, September 2010, Lathem Time Clock has released the Lathem FaceID system.  Lathem wrote the software, another (Chinese) company builds the FR700 for Lathem.

The Lathem FaceID system is initially good for 100 employees, and runs across a network, to the standard Lathem Payclock EZ software.  Lathem strongly encourages you to upgrade to the Pro version, expect e-mails from Lathem.  The enrollment process takes 30 seconds for each person.  During the enrollment process, the cameras (there are two), take 17 fast photos of the face.  The photos update every time that person clocks IN and OUT.

Once the person is enrolled, all they have to do is walk up to the FR700 color LCD screen, look in to it 1 second, then walk on by.  The system tells them if it is an IN punch or an OUT punch.  The facial recognition system will not accept a photograph, it is looking for a 2 dimensional image of the human face.  In testing, twins could not fool it.  It is also looking for a HUMAN face, so don't try to log-in Fido or Missy, it won't work.

The device has two rows of infrared lights that enable it to work in dim light, total darkness, and general office/factory light - but not in direct sunlight.  It has a USB Thumbdrive feature whe you can download the punches and then “sneakernet“ them back to your computer - the FaceID does not have to be connected to the computer to work.  The basic FR700 Lathem FaceID system terminal allows up to 5 administrators - who have the ability to add and delete people at the device, and 100 employees.  Each employee has 17 updateable images stored on the terminal.  Each FaceID terminal can hold 150,000 punch records and 70,000 images, between downloads.  It comes with a 4GB SIMM memory, 3.5” color LCD screen, tamper alarm (makes a wailing noise if they try to break it), and weighs only 1.15 lbs.  It connects via ethernet, you can put more than one terminal on a network.  Sign IN here, Sign OUT there.

In the short term, enhancements will include the ability to use Proximity (RFID) cards with the face, FaceID and PIN number, and access control.  Other enhancements will be released in the coming years.