One of the most interesting is the ACTAtek Biometric Access Control System. The ACTAtek system is a standalone biometric lock attached to a door. Unlike either a lock or a biometric device, however, it's also a computer, complete with built-in software. The device can be connected to a network with a standard Ethernet cable. Since it's actually a small computer, it doesn't require any additional hardware or software for operation.
Once hooked up to the network, the ACTAtek device can be controlled from a browser, either at a desktop inside the locked office or anywhere across the Web. The Web interface uses SSL encryption and allows for management of individual biometric data, including access logs and access level settings.
One thing to keep in mind -- since the management console can be accessed via the Web, you'll have to harden the server connected to the lock. The last thing you need is for someone to find the Web console through Google and then hack it, as has been done with online video surveillance cameras.
Two other products of note are the NAC-3000 Fingerprint Access Controller from Raviraj Technologies and the Adel Fingerprint Lock. The NAC-3000 can also be connected to a network but, unlike ACTAtek, can only be connected to LAN and not the Web. Its Access Manager software handles up to 255 devices per server. The Adel product can also be used as a standalone or on a network, but it doesn't have the remote access and control features of the other systems.
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This was first published in October 2007