The Many Benefits of Contactless Biometric Acquisition and Authentication Technologies in COVID-19 Era
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The Many Benefits of Contactless Biometric Acquisition and Authentication Technologies in COVID-19 Era

by Seamfix

Never was there a time when contactless technology was more important than now with the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. Noting that the chief method of transmission of the virus is through contact with infected persons and surfaces, people are obligated to keep a measured distance from other people —  a behaviour termed ‘social distancing’—  and are even less keen to have anything to do with surfaces.

This new way of life has its many effects on industries and sectors all around the world, and most are negative. Businesses will need to restructure their activities and choice of technology to accommodate this new shift in behaviour and quickly find a way to combat safety concerns or struggle to survive during and post COVID-19 era.

This change is even more for businesses that acquire biometric data of their customers as a means of proof before availing them with certain services. These businesses must think beyond biometric data acquisition and authentication that requires physical contact with people or surfaces — Hence, way beyond fingerprint recognition which is the most common means of identity verification right now.

Even though one might argue that disinfecting the fingerprint recognition sensors may or may not get rid of the virus completely, one should also ask “how about the customers that are reluctant or sceptic about putting their fingers on a surface they deem virus-ridden no matter how many times it is wiped down? Are business owners or agents to turn them back? What then does that do to customer acquisition or the bottom line of the business?”

Thinking way beyond fingerprint will leave us with Facial and Iris Recognition.

Biometric technologies that provide facial and iris capture and verification services come into play to enable secure, touch-free data acquisition (digital identities) from the medically-advised distance and authentication to reduce the risk of impersonation or fraud. These technologies will serve to flatten the curve by preventing further infections and encourage business continuity.

The Many Benefits in Diverse Sectors

If the world were ever to be so ‘open’ again, businesses and even the government must jump aboard the idea of contactless biometric acquisition and authentication technology. Its usefulness spread across multiple sectors and industries.

For one, in the aviation sector, adopting a contactless facial and iris recognition system to authenticate digital identities of passengers, instead of having them place their hands on a scanner as they pass through the gates, will ensure the safety of aviation workers and passengers. These technologies could even go further for contactless visa onboarding and authentication at borders or immigration centres.

Telecommunications companies will need contactless biometric acquisition and authentication technologies to enable their agents to collect and validate biometric data of new subscribers during SIM registration processes or authenticate biometric data of current subscribers before providing them with certain services, all done while maintaining necessary distance.

Security companies can arm their guards with one of such technologies on a mobile device to serve as a digital logbook used to document people who enter or exit an estate or building.

The usefulness of these technologies goes far and beyond — from banks utilizing them to safely acquire customers in the field to schools authenticating students before they enter into exam halls to healthcare admin workers enrolling patients from a distance to government agencies enumerating staff in a secure way… the list goes on and on.

These technologies besides protecting against COVID-19 will hasten customer onboarding processes and improve turnaround times.

Enabling Features and Add-on Services

Viable contactless biometric acquisition and authentication technologies must take into consideration;

  • KYC compliance standards by various regulatory bodies
  • Failsafe verification and validation
  • Customer onboarding time
  • Data security
  • Ease of use and service.

Some enabling features will include:

ID Match

The inclusion of this feature will rule out impersonation as the faces of end-users can be compared with images on verified proofs of identity, like a driver’s licence, in real-time, to ascertain that the faces and the images match.

Liveliness Detection

With this feature in place, it becomes easy to prove the viability of every captured image and offer 100% assurance that every image is that of a living, animated person as opposed to a picture on picture capture.

Background Cleanup

In a bid to adhere to strict KYC regulations on captured images, this feature will prove necessary to ensure that all images captured conform to stipulated background-uniformity requirements. It also allows for the flexibility to capture images anywhere and still have them end up with a noiseless background.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

This feature goes beyond offering ease and speed of capture to end-users, to acting as a necessary requirement for this COVID-19 era where touchless is the order of the day as textual data can be extracted from physical forms and automatically populate corresponding digital fields.

Deduplication

Having duplicate data can taint the result and analysis of collated data, hence the need to ensure that each captured data is unique and has no duplicate. This enabling feature comes in handy to scan through databases and fish out duplicate data within configured capture rules.

 

SDKs and APIs

It becomes even easier to adopt these contactless biometric acquisition and authentication technologies as most of the verification services are packaged as Software Development Kits (SDKs) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that can be integrated into already existing systems. With these, organizations will not be burdened to overhaul already existing processes and can continue using their solution with additional verification services and features that will allow the solution to perform various biometric authentication.


Are you interested in a solution to acquire and authenticate biometric identity data in a safe, touch-free environment? Or would you rather a verification and authentication SDK to integrate with your existing solution? We have exactly what you need!

Contact us today for more details at info@seamfix.com

 

Written by Ivharue Ofe (Content Writer and Marketing Communications Executive, Seamfix)

Coronavirus in Nigeria: Big Data Exposing How the People Feel About it All.

by Seamfix

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, we carried out a nationwide survey in the month of March, using our Data Capture and Analytics Platform, BioRegistra. This we did to gather the opinions of Nigerians regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and how well the country is prepared for it.

Below is the result of the survey:

Awareness about the virus

We asked the audience if they are aware of the pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID 19)? It was encouraging when 100% of the audience selected the option ‘Yes, I am’.

Other options were ‘Maybe. I still think it’s fake news’ and ‘No. I have no idea what that is’.

Coronavirus in Nigeria

This time, we asked our audience if they believe the news that there is Coronavirus in Nigeria. 86.8% of the respondents believe that there is coronavirus in Nigeria. 10.5% say they are not completely sold on the news as something sounds fishy. The remaining 2.6% do not believe and think it’s all propaganda … Yikes!

Fear of the outcome

Does the idea that the virus is near scare you? We know fear doesn’t help, but it’s one emotion that will be predominant this period. Our data shows that 73.7% of the audience are scared to their bones that the virus is in Nigeria. 21.1% of them are only slightly bothered, while 5.2% are not shaken as they still doubt the news. For the 5.2%, it might be their strong belief in the idiom that ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’, or just pure unbelief in the face of alarming evidence.

Nigeria’s readiness to fight

The fight is tough, even for more advanced countries with their vast knowledge and know-how, especially because of past successful dealings with pandemics. So what about Nigeria, how equipped are we to deal with this virus?

42.1% (the majority) of our audience think Nigeria is not equipped to fight the virus alone. 7.9% believe Nigeria is doomed! And 13.3% will prefer to watch and see. For the positives: 5.3% believe Nigeria has all it takes to combat the virus alone, while 31.6% believe we can do even better with external help.

Willingness to get tested and quarantined

One effective way to truly flatten the curve will be to test more and get positive people into quarantine. So let’s say there were more test kits, will Nigerians be willing to comply?

6.5% of our audience are indeed willing to get tested for the virus and quarantined if necessary. 26.3% will get tested but would rather self-isolate… which is still another good measure. However, it is disconcerting that the rest of the respondents, which is the majority, believe they cannot have the virus either because of their strong immune system or that God will forbid it.

It is important to note that there is an option that says ‘No. I don’t trust the health system’, but none of the audience went for that option

The future: A Coronavirus-free Nigeria

Now, this is a future we all look forward to and hope will be sooner than later. We asked our audience what/who they think will be responsible for a Coronavirus-free Nigeria, and this is what we got:

57.9% of the audience believe team effort from government and citizens will help combat the virus. 10.5% agree that it will be good measures by health officials. 23.7% can bet that the virus will disappear as a result of fasting and prayers. Another 23.7% believe it will be because of our strong immunity. And yet again, another 23.7% believe it will be our hot weather. There is a whopping 5.3% who believe the country’s good luck and blessings will do it all. Finally, 2.6% are hopeful the virus will disappear on its own.

Few more weeks, and we’ll know who’s right for sure.

Classic symptoms of Coronavirus

We asked the audience to select amongst the following options, what the classic symptoms of COVID-19 are: Cough, Catarrh, Body pains, Bleeding, Fever, Convulsion, Sore throat, Itchy eyes, Rashes, and All of the above.

We found out that 73.7% of the audience are well aware of the classic symptoms of Coronavirus (cough, fever, sore throat, body pains, difficulty breathing). However, amongst them, some believe there are additional symptoms like itchy eyes, catarrh, bleeding, rashes and even convulsion.

Preventing the spread of the virus

And finally, we wanted to know to what extent our audience is aware of the measures they should take to flatten the curve in Nigeria. In the mix of proven measures, we also added the popular myths. The result below shows the percentage of people that believe the following measures:

Practice social distancing -100%
Avoid shaking hands -100%
Stay at home if you’re sick -100%
Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers -100%
Ban gatherings of all kind. Everyone should stay indoors -100%
Eat lots of garlic -87%
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables -87%
Gargle with saltwater -84%
Drink and bathe with hot water -80%
Believe, hope, and pray -52%

Recommendations

Nigerians need to be better educated and sensitized about the presence of the virus in the country, its dangers, and the measures to take to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus.

Every local media channel should be in the faces and ears of the people with top-of-the-mind awareness messages about the virus. These messages should provoke thoughts and not fear as that is the last thing we need right now.


You too can lend your voice and help us gather even more data. Here is the LINK to the survey. You can also set up your own survey for free using our solution. Click HERE to begin.

Remember to obey the laws of social distancing, stay safe, and follow only reliable news as reported by NCDC.

COVID-19: What’s Happening to the Self-isolated Individuals?

by Seamfix

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, countries are putting a mandate on Social Distancing, Self-isolation and Quarantine.

What do these terms mean and how do they apply?

If you sometimes misuse the terms, you’re not alone!

Social distancing is a measure taken by healthy people — to actively keep away from crowded places and maintain a physical distance between other people to avoid getting infected.

Self-isolation is a measure taken to contain the infection transmission chain — by people who suspect they have the virus because they meet one or two stipulated criterion to suggest possible exposure, and thus are asked to stay away from other people and watch out for any symptoms for a period of 14days (which is considered the incubation period for COVID-19).

Quarantine involves keeping people who have tested positive to the virus in a place, like an isolation centre, and managing their symptoms until they become asymptomatic.

With the overwhelming effect of the virus on the healthcare system, it becomes easier to relegate one group of people among the three; the self-isolated individuals. They are in their houses or anywhere else, staying away from people and watching out for symptoms or a lack of it. These individuals will have to actively self-monitor which might include regularly checking temperature and watching out for signs of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath.

What’s happening with the self-isolated individuals?

We can only know when they call!

People under self-isolation or self-quarantine are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people within their homes and communities until their Public Health Authority advises that they are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others. As test kits become more available, self-isolated individuals may also be directed to a place where they can get tested.

These individuals can only leave their houses for absolutely necessary reasons, such as to seek medical care. If they develop symptoms midway, they are advised to call a doctor, or the National Center for Disease Control to find out what to do. Some with mild cases may be directed to stay home and treat their symptoms as they surface with over-the-counter drugs. However, those with more serious symptoms, or who fit into the higher-risk groups, may be directed to seek immediate medical care.

However, talking about the overwhelmed healthcare system right now; is it really possible for the health providers to take every one of these calls from these individuals and treat as urgent even if it’s just from a scared self-isolated person having a panic attack that presents as COVID-19 symptoms?

No, it isn’t!

Is there a better way to monitor self-isolated individuals?

Yes, there is!

Most of these people in self-isolation are scared and on top of that, have to fight with the feeling of being alone, which is what accounts for the unstable mental health of such individuals. There should be a provision for Remote Monitoring of Self-isolated Individuals so that they can enjoy the benefits of routine checkups by Healthcare providers within their proximity. This is one way to attain proper management of self-isolated individuals, including quick emergency response.

What can technology do to help?

A lot!

For one, a Data Capture and Management System built on technology can simplify remote surveillance and management of self-isolated individuals nationwide, by giving NCDC and Healthcare providers firsthand knowledge of how all self-isolated individuals in their database are feeling at the moment and who needs immediate help.

Does Seamfix have a working solution already?

Yes, we do!

We are pleased to support efforts made by the agency in the fight against Coronavirus by offering a ready-to-use Digital Data Capture and Management Solution to serve as a tool for NCDC and healthcare givers to remotely monitor people in voluntary self-isolation across the country.

The solution has form building capabilities and customizable web-form templates that can be used for two purposes:

1) For admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to enrol self-isolated individuals by collecting necessary details such as name, age, address, medical history etc.

2) A Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet to be used by the self-isolated individual to record their symptoms or lack of it, every day until the isolation period is over. The Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet can be shared as a link to individuals anywhere in the country.

Also, it is a mobile solution that works on Android and Windows devices which means, self-isolated individuals can fill the forms using their smartphones or mobile devices, and the admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) can use their already existing devices to monitor the data. This rules out any need for new hardware devices.

The platform comes fitted with a built-in intuitive dashboard, like this, for the admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to see all inputted records in real-time for the purpose of monitoring and to know when they would need to jump in and administer further care.

It works offline which means it can be used in areas where there is poor internet connectivity. Self-isolated individuals can still record their symptoms or lack of it even when their devices are offline. The data will be stored on the device and will sync to the admins’ (NCDC and Healthcare givers) dashboard once the devices detect the internet. However, for the purpose of real-time monitoring and immediate response, the internet is paramount.

Even more, this system can serve as a data field to mine insights to better understand the virus: including the behavioural pattern of the virus in people of different demographic and psychographic groups, the peak time for specific symptom emergence in different cases, even the effect of over-the-counter drugs in curtailing the symptoms. All of these data can go into good use for the proper management of self-isolated individuals.

What is the process flow for this solution?

  1. The solution offers a ready-to-use Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet or an easy-to-use form builder that will allow admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to customize the available Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet if they see fit.
  2. It will create a link for the published forms, which can be customized, and shared. These forms can also be embedded in the NCDC or designated hospitals’ websites, shared on social media or sent via email to anyone within the country.
  3. Self-isolated individuals can access the Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet on a smartphone or mobile device on which they can input their symptoms or lack of it every day until the isolation period is over (usually 14days).
  4. The admin dashboard is already set up to churn the data provided by the self-isolated individuals into real-time readable insights.
  5. The solution has full geotagging capabilities that will be necessary to pinpoint the location of all self-isolated individuals on a digital map. Since the data is also location-based, it becomes easy to flag when isolated individuals have moved from their designated locations.
  6. We take GDPR and NDPR seriously by ensuring complete data security at every stage of the data’s lifecycle (at-rest or in-transit), including tight Access Management and Control.

What are some benefits of using the Seamfix self-isolation monitoring tool?

  • To boost remote surveillance of suspected COVID-19 cases.
  • To enable prompt detection of symptomatic persons with COVID-19.
  • To foster effective response to self-isolated individuals and rapid diagnosis.
  • To serve as a platform for efficient COVID-19 suspected case management.
  • To also serve as a starting point for contact tracing and identification of transmission chains.
  • To act as a standard data warehouse for future references and a reliable source for communication.
  • To help clear up bed spaces in the hospital as these patients can be properly taken care of remotely.

Self-isolation is better for everyone when there’s an attentive digital nurse nearby! Ready to get on board?

Together we can work to slow the spread of the virus. #StaySafe

Coronavirus: 4 Tech-driven Approaches to Flatten The Curve

by Seamfix

The world was hit hard by the emergence of the Coronavirus, popularly called COVID-19 or COV-19. As the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate amidst strict measures, it is about time we asked ourselves, ‘what more can technology do to reduce the spread of the virus? No matter how little.’ 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has continually underlined the importance of ‘flattening the curve’, calling on countries across the world to impose public health measures in this regard. The curve refers to the projected number of people that will be infected by the virus and flattening that would mean slowing the rate of person to person infection.

Technology is doing a lot already in the global fight against the pandemic, still, we believe there is more to be done. For one, a Digital Data Capture and Management System can beef up surveillance and detect cases promptly; thus providing an effective response for suspect isolation and management, contact tracing, identification of transmission chains, rapid diagnosis, vaccine monitoring, and so much more.

Looking at patterns from previously successful combat tactics in cases of epidemics, here are 4 ways we propose a Digital Data Capture and Management System will work to flatten the curve and combat the spread of Coronavirus:

 

Digital Data Capture and Documentation at Entry and Exit Points

 

 

This is already an ongoing, strict process at gated estates, apartment buildings and office blocks, where visitors input their textual proof of identity in a logbook before they enter and after they leave. However, only a few can boast of doing this the digital way, the rest still use paper-based visitors logbooks. During this period of the Coronavirus pandemic where surface touch should be avoided, it must be a taboo to allow people to pick up the pen to write or touch the logbook in any way. This, therefore, begs for a digitized system that allows only one handler.

The scenario of a digitized logbook will go this way: A designated security guard posted at the entry/exit gate uses a data capture solution already downloaded on a smartphone to capture the details of visitors from a reasonable distance. Details could be textual such as name, address, phone number, house destination and so on; and also a live image capture of the visitor. The data will immediately be moved to a back-end system monitored by a designated admin. This will create a standard digital database, with unlimited space, that can date back to months, tracking who goes in, out, and where in case there is a need for that information in the future. 

 

Contact Tracing

 

 

Contact tracing is a core surveillance activity during this period. This involves the identification of persons, their routes and timelines, to know who they came in contact with and when. Right now, contact tracing involves governments appealing to people to turn themselves in if they had made contact with confirmed cases.

To do this effectively, there must be proper prior documentation. Paper-based contact tracing, besides encouraging surface touch, is sure to include erroneous data collection and promises a tiresome process of retracing. 

A Digital Data Capture and Management System, however,  has the benefit to improve data completeness, timely capture storage, accuracy, and data organization. This will allow for the rapid identification of the movement pattern of people who become symptomatic and the transmission chain in that particular location. This will also improve data exchange, as the data can be easily downloaded and exported to government bodies like the NCDC for proper tracking and for the purpose of informing people in the transmission chain to self-isolate and get tested.

 

Clinical Trials Documentation

 

 

To effectively and efficiently carry out a nation-wide clinical trial,  a Data Capture and Management System is a necessity. This system will allow for a digital and more mobile approach to clinical trials using web-based forms to facilitate the quick reporting of data and trends, and thus, quick decision making. Clinical staff can record daily reports, collect location-based results, export data for analysis, and visually document hypothesis. 

This system will also create a centralized cloud-based healthcare data network to document volunteers, experiments, observations, causes and effects, vaccine monitoring and real-time analysis of implemented measures and administered trial drugs during clinical research.

It will also create a data-sharing system, where data can be shared, in real-time, between hospitals and larger bodies like the NCDC for proper documentation, following strict data privacy and pre-set access control policies. The digital approach will mitigate against data quality oversight as data anomalies will be discovered faster. 

 

Remote Monitoring of Self-isolated Individuals

 

 

The flexibility of a Digital Data Capture and Management System can allow for remote monitoring of individuals in self-isolation. This routine checkup will begin when an individual is asked or chooses to self-isolate for any reason. Healthcare providers will share a link to a monitoring form which the individual can access on a smartphone or any mobile device. In this form, the individual can input their symptoms or lack of it every day until the isolation period is over (usually 14days).

This data is visible to the admins (heath providers or NCDC) on an intuitive dashboard so they can monitor the individuals closely and know when to jump in. The data is also location-based so it is easy to flag when isolated individuals have moved from their designated locations.

 

 

Conclusively, having given the 4 ways we know technology can help to flatten the curve, we are proposing that every country right now gets started with a Data Capture and Management System that has demonstrated the potential to improve the quality of data collection, surveillance, analysis, and secure data transport.

 

It is important to note that Coronavirus is rapidly evolving. Stay informed, maintain clean hand and respiratory hygiene, self-isolate if you’re unsure, report yourself if your symptoms are suggestive, don’t panic and stay safe.

What You Need To Know: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

by Seamfix

The world health organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus (Covid-19) a global pandemic, and along with the rest of the world, we’ve been concerned about the rapid spread of the virus and its effect on the country as a whole.

 

What really is coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illnesses.

 

As COVID-19 makes its way across the globe and with everything happening, a lot of people might find it very hard to make critical decisions and perhaps have a lot of questions going through their minds- who to invent the vaccine, when this pandemic will end, where to run to? why it’s taken so long to evacuate affected countries and what to do today about the current situation. I call these the 5w’s of Covid-19. These questions and even more are yet unanswered. 

At Seamfix, we are closely monitoring the situation and will like to share our response and preventive measures put in place to ensure the safety of our clients, employees and overall business.

Here are our safety plans for YOU and US

  1. Non-stop Service and Product Delivery: We will work tirelessly to ensure that all our products and services function as usual without any inconvenience or delay. We are best positioned to continue delivering high-quality services and experiences.
     
  2. Available Customer Service: Feel free to contact us via email and phone call. Kindly note that our Customer Success Team will only be available to pick up chats and phone calls at the usual time (8 am – 5 pm).
     
  3. Business Continuity: You can trust that business will go on seamlessly. We assure you that Seamfix has effective contingency plans for future emergencies, just like this.
     
  4. Postponed Activities: We have deferred all our business travels and upcoming events in affected countries for the time being.
     
  5. Remote Work Schedules: As a precautionary measure, we have incorporated remote and flexible work schedules into our daily work routine. This we did to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors.
     
  6. Healthy Work Environment: We have done a lot in this regard;
  • We are enforcing frequent hand washing habits or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers which we have installed in strategic locations.
  • Employees are mandated to stay home when they feel unwell or self-isolate for 14 days if they have been to a country with high confirmed cases. 
  • We carry out regular temperature checks using sensors at all entry points. Anyone with heightened temperature will be given immediate medical attention.
  • We are ensuring crowd control and social distancing in our various outlets. 

 

Here’s what you should do

  1. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  2. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Practice respiratory hygiene and also, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. 
  5. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider.

 

We understand these are challenging and sometimes frightening times but we encourage everyone to promote preparedness, positivity and erase potential panic. 

 

We believe we will fight through this!