The New York City Law Department solved its time and attendance problem by installing HandReaders from Recognition Systems. The newly installed HandReaders also provide more effective access control.
The New York City Law Department employs over 1,500 people at ten different locations. This includes hundreds of attorneys constantly coming and going - taking depositions, heading to court and often working late on nights and weekends.

With so many people coming and going at several different locations, the New York City Law Department needed a comprehensive security system with many functions. It needed something to help monitor time and attendance, since the payroll process was becoming expensive and labor intensive. In addition, it needed a solution that would allow employees easy access to the buildings during and after hours, all while providing a sense of security.

All Swiped Out

"We used to use slide cards for security ingress and egress, but there were several issues to contend with," says Malachy Higgins, director of administration, New York City Law Department, Manhattan, N.Y. "But that arrangement was inconvenient and expensive because the cards were often lost or damaged. Card administration was time- consuming. There was too much maintenance to contend with."

Another issue was tracking time and attendance. As mentioned earlier, cards could easily be shared, which allows for employees to swipe cards for each other.

"We used to have people use swipe cards to gain entrance to their offices and then sign in. With so many employees, it was hard to verify who was working when," says Higgins. "Having people sign in created a lot of paperwork."

All in the Hands

The New York City Law Department took matters into its own hands, so to speak, and found a better way of doing things. The solution: HandReaders from Recognition Systems, Inc. (RSI).

"The HandReader provides a more reliable solution," says Higgins.

RSI's HandReader allows only authorized persons to enter a building, without the hassle of a card or key. The HandReader also improves payroll accuracy and simplicity by eliminating "buddy punching" and centralizing computer- data storage.

Initially, the HandReaders were installed as part of the local area network (LAN) at each location. Now, all nine locations are part of a wide area network (WAN). This makes it easier to monitor who is going where, when.

Problem Solved

With any technology, user comfort is an important aspect. Higgins notes that employees were surprisingly comfortable with the Hand-Readers.

"We met with the Unions before the installation to explain what the technology was and how it would work," he says. "The employees seemed to adjust quickly."

Since everyone's handprint is unique, all employees had to be registered individually. This proved to be a benefit, as well, because it became a training method of sorts. While being registered, someone would personally show each employee how to use the HandReader, so it became easy to use in a short period of time.

"Initially, we decided to get the Hand -Readers to monitor time and attendance," says Higgins. "However, we soon realized we could use them to control building access as well. The HandReaders are a convenient, cost-effective solution. They've made our facilities much more secure. Access cards can be shared, but with this system, only an authorized person can enter a facility."