In 2013, Shell was in search for a biometric solution that would help them easily transition from a card based access control system to one with biometrics. The new solution and pilot project would need to accommodate all the deployment challenges associated with a highly industrial environment of an oil refinery.
Multiple Challenges in Deploying Biometric Access Control System
As the case for any live deployment of Biometric Access Control System, there were challenges faced at the onset of determining the best biometric product for the oil refinery at Shell Nigeria due to challenges such as:
- Harsh Environmental Conditions: The site is a working oil refinery with over 80,000 workers going through 53 access points and where the environmental conditions are less than ideal.
- Duplicate Biometric Record Validation: The site also has a very specific requirement of “duplicate biometric record validation” during the enrollment process to resolve the frequent problem of previously terminated employees returning and gaining a new user ID from local site Admin(s).
- Complex Integration: The site had existing systems in place that needed to be integrated along with the new biometric devices, namely (a) an access control panel installation with a legacy database and (b) a mobile handheld system utilized at access points to the refinery.
Given the three main challenges, it was identified that the project would require engineering customizations to the mainstream release of Invixium’s embedded firmware and application software IXM WEB.
Working with iTECO Nigeria Limited (a subsidiary of TELNET), the System Integrator commissioned to deploy and manage the Shell Nigeria project, Invixium was able to architect a proposal tailored to the exact specifications of the Shell Nigeria project based on Invixium’s unique offering of Engineering Services for Custom Solutions.
The Best Biometric Access Control System Built for Your Harshest Environments
Invixium’s IXM SENSE FPL3 with Lumidigm Multi-spectral Imaging sensor and rugged design was selected as the best option for Shell which has many workers with low quality fingerprints that are difficult to read. The IXM SENSE devices are used for dual factor authentication of fingerprint plus HID Prox cards configured with Corporate 1000 Wiegand format.
The Blueprint for a Complex Solution
In addition to a customized version of firmware and IXM WEB, the deployment required integration with the existing Tyco C-CURE control panel via the Wiegand output lines. During the authentication process, specifically for the event of “User Not Found”, the Wiegand output from the IXM SENSE provides the access card data in “Pass through” mode to the Tyco panel without further validation. The panel executes the final decision to open the door for card users that are outside of the local database.
For the enrollment process, a “duplicate checking” feature was added whereby a search is performed on a live fingerprint presented to the IXM SENSE against the master server database to determine if the biometric credential is unique or not. In the case of a “duplicate” match, IXM WEB provides a report with a list of the most relevant matching fingerprints. The site administrator performing the enrollment may select various options when presented with a “duplicate” match alert including (a) Stop enrollment, (b) Re-enroll or (c) Ignore and Save enrollment to database.
The timely response from Invixium’s Customer Experience and Technical Support teams allowed iTECO and ultimately Shell to build confidence that their project would receive adequate attention to resolve any issues throughout the initial installation and continued maintenance of the deployment. The deployment in Nigeria is a pilot project for Shell, with the potential for replication at other Shell locations worldwide.
“We found that Invixium was the most flexible with regards to design and flexibility to allow customizations,” states Iwuchukwu Clement C, Head of Business Solutions (R&D) Unit at iTECO. “The best part about the IXM SENSE was the cost and playful design which was great in comparison to fingerprint readers in its class. My client was visibly excited by the attention paid to aesthetics.”
“The traditional approach to one-size-fits-all is going obsolete,” says Shiraz Kapadia, CEO & President of Invixium. “We take pride in being able to customize our products; an added value that Invixium brings to partners and customers like iTECO and Shell. We are the only biometric manufacturer with an R&D infrastructure designed to engineer solutions to meet the specific needs of any project.”