Scanning Fingerprints Simplifies Each School Day

Kenna McHugh, Learning Counsel Writer

Sitting down and discussing biometric identification management technology with identiMetrics Biometric ID Management co-founder and CFO Anne Marie Dunphy formulated the importance of simplifying school procedures by scanning each student’s fingerprint. Her company advocates the importance of creating operational efficiencies for administrators, teachers, and staff. By using biometrics to identify and locate students, teachers have more time to focus on teaching, students have more responsibility for their conduct, and schools help facilitate district’s security strategy.

The company works in the background. “We are not a company that is in your face in terms of education and kids. We’re trying to make life easier for the people that are doing all these things to help kids learn and grow,” explained Dunphy.  “Superintendents and tech executives are seeing the advantage of a biometric ID management system throughout their schools.”

Dunphy holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing. She worked in several financial institutions as an executive before co-founding identiMetrics, which enables her to understand the difference between working in the business sector and working in the educational sector. “People in education deal with so many headaches without complaining than people on the business side because they're just so used to not having the resources they need. They just make it work.”

Dunphy compares an ed-tech person who works on computers and assists teachers and students versus the same type of job on the business side. “It is so incredibly different, and they're just so used to being stressed. They take it. We’re saying, ‘Hey, you don't have to be. Use technology to make your day easier.’”

As an example, Dunphy shared a success story. Her colleagues received a call from a middle schooler in Arkansas. Riley, a 7th grader, was working on a school project to help improve the school’s lunchtime to be more efficient. “Riley explained that his school was having a problem in the lunchroom with the lines moving too slow.  All of the kids didn’t have time to eat. He also explained that some of the kids, including him, had their lunch accounts debited either by mistake or by somebody else fraudulently using their accounts to buy lunches or snacks.”

Riley contacted identiMetrics as part of his reach for solutions.  “He explained that kids had a hard time remembering their PINs, they constantly forgot or lost their cards and they were really easy to ‘borrow,’ explained Dunphy.

“He realized that finger scan biometrics was the best approach since everybody has a unique fingerprint and they always have their fingers. It only takes about a second to touch the scanner so the lines will move faster. Also, biometrics will protect the security of the lunch accounts so mistakes can’t be made by accident or on purpose. We all were very impressed with Riley. He clearly understood the problem that his school was having and looked for a technology solution to solve that problem,” shared Dunphy.

Dunphy explained how lunch debit cards can be lost, “You give a kid a card, and you have to collect the cards because they lose them between the period before and the lunchroom. They're standing in line for lunch, they stick the cards up or you have the pin problems where somebody is looking over your shoulder, so accounts are compromised. The time the food service director spends on the phone with irritated parents because they just put 50 bucks in the kid’s account and it’s gone.”    

School attendance is both financial as well as security driven. The finger scan biometrics can prevent a considerable number of headaches as well as save time and money. “One of the frustrating tasks for teachers is taking attendance. identiMetrics eliminates the task of teachers taking attendance and places the responsibility of attendance scanning on the students. Teachers have more time to focus on teaching. In addition, the attendance records are 100% accurate eliminating questions about students being tardy or skipping class,” explained Dunphy. “It's quick, it gets the kids in the system, prints out a tardy slip, and away they go to class. Parents know that their children are in school and at class. In case of an emergency, they can be alerted in real-time.”

As CFO, Dunphy directs most of her attention at the financial aspects and growth of the company. “I wear different hats, and I have a sizable interest in the company. So, I'm looking at things from that point of view.”

As an employee, she sometimes comes into conflict with what is best for her versus what is best for the company’s long-term financial goals.  “Every year we have to renew our employee health care program. As an employee, I want X, but as an employer, I have to look at the costs involved in those kinds of things,” related Dunphy.

When it comes to marketing, Dunphy feels it would be incredible to do all sorts of marketing plans. But, they have to balance with other investments such as development. “I have to take a look at it in a very real way. What is the best way to spend our marketing dollars based on our strategy?” said Dunphy. “It's like juggling a whole lot of plates at one time. But I think one of the advantages is to really understand where we're going to end up. What are our strategic goals? It helps me to be able to parse the resources in a way that makes the most amount of sense at any given time.”

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This is Part Two of a New Monthly Series, The Brief History of the Future of Education. If You Missed Part One, You Can Read it Here.


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Kenna McHugh, Learning Counsel Writer
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