Back to school basics for a successful year of finger identification

Each year our customers send in lots of useful techniques and steps they do to ensure a successful year of use of our IDconnect™ finger identification product.   Like any tool you use in your school, some maintenance, some refresher, some practice using the tool makes a world of difference.   With the finger identification system this also extends to you students that actually make it operate.   Here is a list of steps to consider doing, most were relayed to us by current successful customers of the system.    


1.       Look over hardware for damage or excessive wear.  The finger reader itself needs to be completely clean and in great functioning order.  Clean thoroughly, especially the surface where the finger is placed, the edges around the service for dirt or grime.  Compressed air can be used to clean these units.   Look also for frayed cables or loose USB connections.   Loose USB connections can be a computer issue, changing usb ports may correct this.

2.       Replace any old hardware, we offer discounted replacement readers and feedback lights for those under support agreement.  Also each year new advancements in hardware are tested and made available that could dramatically improve your system.   We are proud of the many customers that are still using their original transparent blue reader, but it might be time to consider and upgrade.

3.       Update software.  From time to time we release a new version of our software.   Each year our development team spends a lot of time looking at ways to improve our products software weaknesses, add new customer suggested options and improvements.  If your support agreement is current these updates are yours for free, make sure you contact support well in advance of fall startup to receive the latest software available.

4.       Completely optimize your database.  First make sure all graduating kids and staff that have moved on are eliminated from your database.   This is easy with our software’s synchronize ability.  Once that is complete there are software procedure’s our support staff can help you with to ensure your  database is as clean and efficient as it was the first year you implemented.    It is a good idea to take a solid backup before and after this step. 

5.       Look over the layout of your point of sale area, for efficiency.   Over the course of a year things get changed, the finger reader gets moved to a less than desirable position for students to efficiently place their finger.  Most sites recommend putting the reader and the feedback light right next to each other and perhaps on a pedestal of some sort so the smallest patron is reaching up to it, and the tallest can easily lay their finger flat.  Some attention to detail on layout and convenience for the patrons to efficiently place their finger in a comfortable flat placement can be huge towards achieving the goal of one finger placement per patron per use.  A towel of some sort near the reader, will encourage patrons with extremely wet fingers to wipe them.

6.       Refresher training for those performing enrollment is highly recommended.  Their efforts at enrolling two fingers perfectly for every patron, makes a world of difference when those same fingers attempt to match.   The system has setting for quality it is trying to follow to help this, but a human visual understanding of  good high quality enrollment compared to a mediocre enrollment that gets above the software’s quality thresholds, can make a huge long term effect on the speed and accuracy of the system. 

7.       Set up a clearing house test of everyone in the school.   This approach is skipped by many schools, but we feel if it is done, it is worth the time spent at it.   This also refreshes the patron’s abilities to use the system.   Here is what some sites do.  A class or grade at a time are brought to the lunch room, most times sites do this starting at the highest grade and working their way back to the lowest grade.   The older patrons usually need less effort and give enrollment people some time to practice.   Having just bioconnect running have each student walk up, place their finger once and if matched, try the other index finger.  If both match they are done.   If they don’t immediately match, have them stand aside until everyone has had a chance. Make sure you test them at all the points of sale they potentially will go to.   It is good practice and reminds them how they have to place their finger correctly if they want this to work quickly and accurately.   Those that did not match on one single finger placement should be brought back up.  Have them try again, noticing if they are not matching because of poor placement.  If placement is good, and not matching, just simply re-enroll both of their fingers with the same high quality enrollment you will be doing for all new students.  Often time’s new students go through the motions as if their finger should work, even if they have never been enrolled.  Remember new students parent letters should also have gone out, so none of them think you are fingerprinting.   Once fully re-enrolled they can test and be on their way with the rest of the group. Though re-enrollment percentage is really small, if a finger was not enrolled perfectly or if a student is growing anything but proportionally a finger that once looked up perfectly, now might be hard to use.  Good high quality re-enrollment fixes this right away. 

8.       Practice, many of the pre-k and even up to 1st grade schools sometimes set up extra client machines so well enrolled kids can step up and practice getting a green light from our feedback light.   We have been told that having the smaller kids practice is much easier and much more effective than having them have to remember a pin number. Practice can occur without as much pressure as when they absolutely have to be matched in a lunch line or library.   So consider options for practice for your smaller patrons.   Our system is licensed to the amount of readers you have purchased, but you can install our client software in many more locations, like the kindergarten class rooms, then walk the reader down to them during none lunch times for practice.