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Protecting the Wealth of a Nation: Anviz Global’s Solution to a National Problem
Source: Christopher Palmer
Date: 2014/08/07
Former South African President Nelson Mandela believed, “South Africa is blessed with a special geological heritage. As such, the mining industry has been the bedrock of the South African economy for more than a century.” The importance of mining in South Africa cannot be understated. Minerals account for 60 percent of South Africa’s export revenues and 10 percent of the overall GDP. It is a symbol of national identity and wealth. However, it has recently received increased negative attention. Illegal entry by individuals is posing financial and safety concerns. This issue has created a two-fold problem. Firstly, ensuring security of property and personnel in large mines can be difficult. Secondly, some of the access-control measures, such as standard fingerprint technology, are ill-suited for the mining industry.

Illegal mining is a multimillion dollar industry in South Africa. It is estimated that in 2012, over 500 million dollars-worth of illegally extracted material was lost or stolen. Currently, many within the industry have adopted a strategy whereby they accept the loss rather than attempt to deter theft through improved security measures. However, others do not feel this is a viable strategy. From this perspective, biometrics appear to be providing a solution to this problem. In instances where access to mine facilities were restricted by biometric devices, such as fingerprint scanners, success rates in curbing illegal entry because of collusion and corruption increased.

While the basic fingerprint reader can help address one issue, it does not solve the second problem. Those who participate in the extraction of minerals often have scarred or rough hands. These circumstances can often lead to unreadable fingerprints. Invalid, scarred hands can render fingerprint-reading devices ineffective. This problem requires a unique solution. It is possible to use cutting-edge technology to help fingerprint readers to enroll even damaged fingerprints. Anviz Global engineers have developed an algorithm, called BioNano, which is capable of reading heavily damaged prints. BioNano maps-out an individual’s fingerprints, even if the print is incomplete because of heavy scarring. It allows for accurate identification of individuals with an imperfect set of fingerprints. Moreover, every time a subject uses their finger to register on the device the algorithm stores the image. If the newest fingerprint template is better (a more complete picture) than the previous one that was saved in the device, the machine will automatically - the template inside the device. This ensures that BioNano is always aware of which fingerprint templates are most accurate, and is capable of dealing with changes in each subject’s physical properties within their hands.

Anviz offers a broad range of access control and time attendance products, ranging from biometrics, to surveillance, and RFID devices. For further information about Anviz, or its products, such as BioNano, please visit www.anviz.com.
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