Safety at your fingertips

Abbey Stirgwolt

Tan Spa! customers using biometric security device

An unofficial rule in the evolution of technology and the human race: As people get sneakier, technology is forced to keep up with them.

Tan Spa! in downtown Kent is among the first businesses in the area to embrace this theory. Tan Spa! first introduced the fingerprint identification system to its customers four years ago, owner Ted Mathia said.

“It wasn’t really about making a decision (to install the fingerprint ID system),” he said. “It was more about waiting for the technology.”

Mathia said the system prevents headaches for customers and employees by facilitating customer identification and preventing mix-ups among customers who have the same names. The system also ensures customer accountability, he said.

“In the customer service business, and in a college town, there are so many people who are not always honest,” Mathia said. “This keeps customers honest.”

Mathia said the system also guards against error on the part of the employees when they manage customer accounts.

The system works by scanning four quadrants on a person’s finger. Customers simply scan their fingers each time they visit Tan Spa! for an appointment, and their visits are logged into the system.

So far, Tan Spa! has had “no problems at all” with the fingerprint system, Mathia said.

Will Kent State follow Tan Spa!’s example?

Not just yet, Network Services Director Greg Seibert said. Some universities are beginning to use biometric security which can take various forms, from fingerprint readings to iris scans.

“In the past we’ve investigated biometric security devices,” he said. “The problem with these systems is the price point.”

Seibert said some universities, such as the University of West Virginia, use a palm print identification system for residence access.

Kent State, however, is an “open campus,” he said. “By our nature we can’t be that secure.”

Because Kent State is designed to be accessible to the public, high-security access through fingerprint or palm scans would be impractical, he said.

Because of that, Seibert said the card-scan system currently employed by the university is an adequate and appropriate security solution.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].