Bayometric Touch N Go
Strengths: Simplicity, universality in the backend, and support.
Weaknesses: Website needs something besides sales and demo info. A customer portal would be nice, for example, as would product documentation for programmers considering the product. There is a blog, however, and that is helpful.
Verdict: There is nothing like this that we've seen. It's a neat idea, well conceived and executed and, if you are thinking about adding biometrics to your app, this might just be the thing to make your decision for you.
Touch N Go is an unusual addition to this month's group. Although Bayometric does have many kinds of fingerprint scanners available for sale, it primarily is the developer of a fingerprint recognition API. The API can be added to any application with the addition of four lines of code in the app. From that point on, Touch N Go does all of the heavy lifting, including enrollment, administration and reporting.
The Touch N Go API has several components. The most obvious one is the user enrollment capability. Enrolling users is similar to enrolling users on most fingerprint scanner - with the exception that there are a couple of additional features. For example, if your policy requires that certain fingers be enrolled - the forefingers of each hand, for example - that can be made part of the enrollment process and no other fingers will be accepted. A second nice feature is that the administrator can accommodate a user with a missing or damaged finger. If the forefinger of the right hand is required and the user has lost that appendage, the administrator can make a substitution and note in the user's record that the required finger is missing.
The administration module, or "Admin Panel," consists of four modules: User Management, Security and Backup, Fingerprint Settings, and Status and Reports. This is part of the API and it handles the administration tasks. However, the user's application does all of the backend work. For example, the API, for security reasons, does not retain the fingerprints. That is left to the user's application backend database. User biometric IDs also are stored with the user application. In short, the API is exactly that: an API. The underlying application is left to the customer.
Unlike many biometric tools, the licence manager is in the server rather than in the client. Touch N Go supports MSSQL, as well as most other popular databases, and C++, Java, Java Script and the .NET Framework among other languages. When adding Touch N Go to the user application there are only six buttons the developer will ever need to accommodate: Create Session, End Session, Register Person, Unregister Person, Search and Cancel Search. In short, adding fingerprint scanning is simplicity itself.
Documentation is what you'd expect for an API, and a little less since there really is a limited amount of effort required for the developer. The website is mostly marketing, but does include a demo. There is no customer portal. However, help desk support is first-rate with phone and email assistance included in the price of the product. Bayometric engineers will do a shared computer screen if more assistance is needed beyond that.
Pricing is very straightforward - one price buys all - and it is quite reasonable for what you get, especially if you plan a fairly large user group. You can buy fingerprint scanners from any scanner vendor - Touch N Go supports just about every make and model - or you can buy directly from Bayometric.
We liked the simplicity of the offering and were quite surprised at the way it takes care of all of the development issues programmers are likely to encounter if they want to add biometrics to an application or web portal. Although Bayometric does not have its own application at the moment, we were told that demand has been significant enough that they are introducing one shortly. It will be interesting to see what they do.