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Host of colleges adopt facial recognition, temperature scanning biometric system

A group of colleges and universities are turning to a new, automated temperature screening technology that leverages facial recognition biometrics to ensure facility access for students who pass a daily health check. The combination biometric system is called PopEntry+ and a few institutions see potential for it to help ensure a safer return to campus life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

PopEntry+ is the flagship offering from Cali Group company, PopID. The facial recognition system has seen use in the enterprise and corporate sectors to better ensure healthy workplaces, but its utility seems to make it a valid fit for higher education as well. PopID is calling its solution the “Return to Learn” platform to distinguish it from the commercial counterpart.

The system uses a combination of facial recognition technology and automated temperature screening via a thermal camera to provide biometric access control for facilities. Users first create a PopID account via a secure web portal on their mobile device, after which they have their face scanned and temperature taken by a device fixed near a building’s entrance.

If individuals who are scanned by biometric reader are shown to have a fever, the system can contact the relevant authorities and notify them of the situation. Once the student or faculty member is cleared, they will receive a text message asking them to again confirm their health status.

The current roster of campuses to implement the biometric system includes the University of Mississippi, Bismarck State College, Lane College, Lock Haven University, University of Redlands, and Metropolitan College Kansas City.

The facial recognition component of the system has the ability to enable building entry to individuals who have the required access permissions. The hands-free device is capable of unlocking doors when recognizing students or faculty, can be adapted to suit a number of different locations, and can also optionally integrate PopID’s PopPay facial payment system.

At Ole Miss, the largest of the universities to implement the system, PopEntry+ is being implemented in an athletics environment.

“Like other college athletic programs around the country, Ole Miss puts the health and safety of its student-athletes and staff above all else,” says Keith Carter, Athletic Director for the University of Mississippi. “We are pleased to add PopID’s technology to the steps we are taking to ensure their safety on and off the field.”

Once students, faculty, administrators, and athletic staff scan their faces into the system, they simply stand in front of the fixed device to be recognized and have their temperatures taken instantly.

The process is completed hands-free, with or without masks. If an individual is shown to not have a fever, they will receive a text message confirming their daily health status and will be allowed entry to the necessary campus facilities.

The company says the combined biometric temperature screening system can be deployed at a number of on-campus locations including library turnstiles, dining halls, auditoriums and stadiums.

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