Access control technology is integral to many modern-day businesses. Access control systems serve a range of purposes including granting and preventing authorised/unauthorised access to a facility, monitoring access records and protecting assets. Installing an effective access control device can offer property owners peace of mind about high value premises and their contents. Although they offer a comprehensive security solution, access control systems remain easy to use and largely simplify security protocols. Many businesses opt for access control technology instead of outdated lock and key systems that are more susceptible to human errors.

Benefits of Access Control Systems >

There are numerous varieties of access control, one being biometric access control. ‘Biometrics’ refers to the identification of an individual’s identity through a chemical, behavioural or visual attribute. Biometric access control technology uses a recognition device to gather relevant biometric information about a person, this information is then analysed in relation to a pre-loaded set of the relevant attribute to assess an individual’s suitability for authorised access.

Biometric access control comes in a variety of forms, allowing businesses to select the access control system that best fits the needs of their premises. Varieties include fingerprints, irises, hand geometrics, voice patterns and DNA information. Find out about more types of access control systems.

This blog from Sovereign Fire and Security will outline a range of biometric access control systems, noting their suitability for particular building types.


Fingerprints are a long-standing identity recognition feature. Having been used by security systems for many years, they are considered to be a highly reliable identification method. In recent years, fingerprint biometrics have acquired more day to day uses in addition to their use high risk security contexts. As previously noted, fingerprint technology works by comparing the presented print with those already loaded onto a system. If a match is found, access will be granted.

Fingerprint Biometric Access Control is a comparatively affordable variety of access control system, making it suitable for both small and large businesses. As with other biometric features, fingerprint recognition erases the risk of misplaced identifiers such as access cards or fobs.

Fingerprint Access Control can be used independently or within a larger access control structure. A business may choose to back up non-biometric access control systems such as keypads or fobs with biometric systems such as fingerprinting, as an additional security measure.


Other varieties of biometric access control utilise iris recognition. Iris recognition systems work by capturing an image of an individual’s eye, then using this image to examine the particulars of an individual’s retina, this being the coloured optical component that surrounds the pupil. Iris recognition access control is becoming more widely used across the globe, including in high security environments such as airports – where the effective identification of threat is vital.

In this context, the use of Iris Based Access Control offers a more time efficient security measure. The level of detail available for recognition is also substantially higher than that for a finger. Additionally, iris recognition offers an ideal, contact free solution to access control during the COVID-19 pandemic. Erasing the need for physical contact with a reader may grant peace of mind to workforces who are returning to in person working. The speed at which iris images can be captured make this solution ideal for businesses with a large number of employees, for whom it would be inefficient to have each member of staff note their attendance manually.

See more: How to Create an Effective Security Strategy for Your Organisation

Hand Geometrics 

Hand geometry systems work by capturing an image of an individual’s hand. A representation of the hand’s silhouette is recorded as an individual places their hand, palm- down on a reader plate. Hand geometry devices are specially designed to capture characteristics such as width, length, palm size and curvature of figures. These features are combined to create a profile that is compared with other hand profiles that have been pre-loaded onto an access control database.

Hand geometric technology is one of the older varieties of biometric access control, pre-dating fingerprint reading and other identification methods. Hand geometrics have been well utilised within workplace contexts, allowing employees to log their attendance when entering and exiting a premises. Using biometric access control such as this reduces the potential for error when using traditional methods such as working timesheets.

It is notable that the information obtained by such devices is limited by the properties of the hand itself. The hand is not understood to be a unique identifier, just unique enough for crossover within a small group to be unlikely. This may offer a disincentive for business owners looking for access control suitable for a large workforce.

Voice Authentication

Voice authentication technology analyses features of an individual’s voice to determine their identity. The unique properties of an individual’s vocal features create a distinctive vocal profile which can be used for identification. Similar to iris mapping, voice recognition technology is a non-invasive method of biometric access control which limits the amount of physical contact that is required with a reader. This feature may allow voice authentication to acquire special suitability in contexts where transmission of harmful bacteria is more common, such as medical or veterinary settings.

Suitable for pairing with other access control methods or for use alone, this method offers a security solution that can cater to any required security level.

Learn More with Sovereign Fire and Security 

Sovereign Fire and Security offer a wide range of biometric access control solutions. In addition to the many relevant articles on our blog, our team of expert staff are on hand to provide tailored advice to meet your security needs.

With years of industry experience and a range of local case studies in the Bristol area, Sovereign Fire and Security offer only the best in access control advisory, installation and servicing. To access our services, contact us or visit our website.

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