Access Management for Fitness Club Members
Biometric solutions reduce costs and offer more convenience
Fitness centers are enjoying growing popularity and show strongly increasing membership figures. A fitness operator with 15 studios and an average number of 4,000 fitness members per studio plans to replace the old smart card IDs of the members with a modern access system.
The membership cards issued to date in the form of smart cards have clearly weaknesses. They are often forgotten, lost or simply given to non-members. In any case this causes considerable additional expenditure of continuously running costs for the operator.
A much more efficient solution based on biometrics should on the one hand reduce the ongoing costs and, on the other hand, operate quickly and smoothly, especially at peak times, so that no traffic jams occur.
To eliminate the disadvantages of an access system based on the use of smart cards, while at the same time guaranteeing a fast and uncomplicated procedure, we have decided to integrate a palm vein-based biometric system into the existing infrastructure (turnstiles). The palm vein biometry also allows a touch-free procedure, so it is hygienic.
The one-time initial registration takes place at the reception desk. After the registration, the biometric user data are stored highly encrypted on the local server. Upon access, the user scans his palm at the biometric sensor at the biometric sensor in the turnstile, the data are compared with the data on the server, and access is granted within 1-2 seconds.
As in most cases, a proof of concept pilot was initially conducted with about 500 members. The main objective was to eliminate weak points. To check system performance we determined the user behavior and acceptance.
Biometric systems – no matter if fingerprint, facial recognition, vein recognition etc., are used subject to a user learning curve. A signature is never 100% identical to the next signature, and the biometric scan is never the same because, for example, the finger is not always placed in the same position on the sensor. In such projects, the user mustn’t lose his “courage” in case of misuse. One has to show the user what he might be doing wrong. For biometric accesses that are not monitored by personnel, the most important thing is the initial registration. The more precisely this is done, the better the recorded biometric pattern, the easier the subsequent use by the user.
For this project, it was crucial to clearly understand the factors important to the customer and to present a solution based on these factors that would fully meet the customer’s needs.
We are often asked which biometrics is the best. Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in general as every method has its strengths and weaknesses. Our competence is advising the customer to choose the right method. It makes little sense in this project to offer cheaper fingerprint sensors. Due to skin injuries or dirt it can lead to the fact that the fingerprint is not recognized, and in addition the sensors would have to be cleaned again and again by personnel due to the high use. Facial recognition would also have been conceivable, but is far from being as fast and reliable as palm vein recognition.
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