Going Back To School
Given these harsh economic times, and the possible near collapse of the Euro and the American economy, the jobs picture becomes even bleaker. Although the statistical employment rate is at around 9% or so, it is actually believed to be much higher than that, like in the 20% range or so. This number reflects people who have even given up looking for a job, or are still looking full time, or working part time and looking part time, etc. So, what is one to do in these dire times? Well, the natural tendency is to go back to school. Heck, back in the recession of the early 90’s (when I graduated from college), I was even contemplating going back to school. But times were much different back then that they are right now.
The number of people going back to school is staggering, and thus the slots are becoming even tighter. Undergrad is tough, but I am sure that grad school is even much worse than that, especially with regards to funding and scholarships. So, forget the traditional brick and mortar method, there is the online option. I mean what could be better, get the degree from the comforts of your own home? Well, there is a catch to this, and that is: In cyberspace, who do you know is who?
Here is an answer: “Aware, Inc., a global provider of biometrics and medical imaging software, today announced that it has supplied Cambridge Assessment, the University of Cambridge’s international exams group, with a biometric verification solution based on its COTS Biometric Services Platform (BioSP™) and user interface development services. The advanced solution forms the basis of ‘Identica’, which is part of Cambridge Assessment’s exam fraud prevention services . . . the Identica system enables exam proctors to easily capture ISO-compliant facial images of candidates. These images are then made available to organizations wishing to verify that the candidate presenting a certificate is the candidate who took the test . . . the system can be easily upgraded to support additional biometric modalities, including fingerprints.” (SOURCE: http://www.findbiometrics.com/industry-news/i/9403/).
Honestly speaking, the use of Biometrics for online education and confirming the identity of the online student is really nothing too new. I have written about it before, but it is one of those applications which is on the “cusp of exploding”. Meaning, it is still an emerging app, and has a lot of room for potential growth and market share, especially for the Biometric Vendors out there. But, this application described here is a bit different in two aspects.
First, it appears to me that this is much more of a centralized approach of collecting Biometric Templates, versus to what I have described in the past, in which local authentication was the norm, meaning, everything was done at the testing center.
Second, the apps I have written about before used primarily fingerprint recognition, and even iris recognition (and perhaps even a combination of the two) for positive identification of a student. This is the first time I have seen facial recognition being used, and to a certain degree it even surprises me, given that the face is subject to drastic change over time (in particular massive weight loss and weight gain). But as mentioned, this system will probably be adaptable to other forms of Biometric Technologies, which even include fingerprint recognition.
And, finally, in terms of differences this Biometrics solution is even compliant to international standards, which previous postings and apps did not even mention. Over time, meaning by the end of this year, it is expected that this Biometrics solution will be deployed and implemented in some 130+ countries. I don’t know if you know or not, but the University of Cambridge is currently ranked as the #1 university in the world.
So, given this prestige, this educational institution could prove to be the fine example other universities and colleges (even businesses and corporations) around the world could follow with regards to the use of Biometrics, especially here in the United States. And I am sure this will be a great boon as well as marketing tool to the Vendor who created this solution: Aware, Inc.