Biometric safes are ones that use a biometric scanner to grant access. A biometric scanner is a locking device that grants access based on some uniquely identifiable physical attribute, such as the pattern of the iris or retina in the eye, handprint, or fingerprint. Biometric safes use fingerprint scanners for convenience, security, and safety. Eye scanners would not be very convenient, and although completely safe, some people would object to having their eye scanned by a laser.
Using biometric safes is the height of simplicity? You simply press a button to “wake up” the scanner from low-power mode, and place your index finger on the scanner for about a second. Your finger is scanned by a laser similar to the ones used in grocery stores to scan the barcodes on your groceries. Using a special software algorithm, the scanner converts the pattern of the fingerprint into a unique number. If this number matches one of the numbers stored in the scanner, the safe is unlocked. All of this takes place in a matter of seconds.
Biometric safes have a number of distinct advantages over traditional mechanical or electronic locks. They are totally secure – only an authorized fingerprint can open the safe. This requires the physical presence of the authorized person. A combination or pin number written down and misplaced can result in unauthorized access to a traditional safe – this cannot happen with a biometric safe. Another advantage is convenience. No keys or little slips of paper to keep up with, no combination or pin number to remember. Plus, it’s easy to authorize access to multiple users – just place the scanner in program mode and have them place their finger on the scanner.
I mentioned earlier that you have to be physically present to open biometric safes. That’s a good thing, right? Well, there are a couple of situations where this might pose a problem. Say, for example that you are out of town and need access to information contained in your safe. With a traditional safe, you could call a friend or associate and give them the combination or pin number, allowing them to open the safe and provide the information you need. Then when you get back in town you can change the combination for safety’s sake. You can’t do this with a biometric safe if yours is the only fingerprint that has been enrolled – you have to physically be there with your finger to open the safe. The same type of situation could come up if you were incapacitated or died suddenly – your loved ones or business associates would not be able to access your safe. There are a couple of simple solutions to this problem.
One is to give some trusted friend or associate access to the safe when you first acquire it. Then, in an emergency, this person can open the safe for you. The safe itself provides another solution. Most models of biometric safes can be opened with a special key that is unique to that safe. The opening for the key is usually hidden under a logo or nameplate that has to be removed in order to use the key.
Biometric safes represent the best in a marriage between security and technology. They are highly secure, convenient and cost-effective when compared to other electronic safes.