"Best New Product" MorphoAccess VP Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Mar 31, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Safran Morpho's MorphoAccess VP was voted best in show in the SIA New Product Showcase at ISC West 2012. This reader offers better accuracy and security by using dual-technology biometrics, but is this reality, or hype? In this note, we overview the cost and features of the MorphoAccess VP, and compare to other biometric readers.

Overview

For those unfamiliar, Morpho is owned by French conglomerate Safran, formerly SAGEM. They also acquired biometrics provider L-1 (formerly Bioscrypt) in 2011. Morpho and L-1/Bioscrypt are some of the most widely used biometric providers, and together likely hold the largest market share.

The MorphoAccess VP biometric terminal has the following specifications:

  • Dual-mode fingerprint and finger vein biometrics.
  • Supports up to 5,000 users in one-to-many operation, and MIFARE and DESfire cards in one-to-one mode. HID iCLASS will be offered in the future.
  • 1-1.5 second read time.
  • IP65 rating and 14º-122º F temperature range, suitable for outdoor use.
  • Wiegand or relay outputs, with RS-485, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi connectivity options. Power is via 12 VDC or PoE.
  • Compatible with other MorphoAccess readers in the network, but not L-1/Bioscrypt readers, which use a separate enrollment/management software.

The MorphoAccess VP has an MSRP of $2,500, with the enrollment reader an additional $1,100. Both are available now.

Here is their marketing video:

Dual-Mode Biometrics

Since the MorphoAccess VP uses both fingerprint and finger veins, accuracy and security are improved. This is intended to greatly reduce false acceptance rates and help to guard against spoofing. Fingerprint biometrics have proven relatively simple and inexpensive to defeat, so users with security concerns may prefer this dual-mode biometric.

Additionally, once both fingerprint and finger vein are enrolled, templates are shared with all readers in the network. This means that templates are sent to all other MorphoAccess readers in the network, so less expensive fingerprint-only readers may be used in areas which don't require higher-security dual-mode readers.

Competitive Options

There are few, if any competitive biometric readers which use both fingerpint and finger vein. Compared to fingerprint-only readers, the VP has two key disadvantages:

  • Price: Fingerprint-only readers, such as Morpho's J-Series sell online for $800-1,000, depending on configuration. Based on existing products' online pricing and MSRP, the MorphoAccess VP will likely have an estimated street price of $1,700-2,000, about double that of fingerprint-only devices.
  • Speed: Fingerprint readers typically authenticate in about 0.5-0.8 seconds. Compared to this, the VP spec is twice as long to verify a user. This may be an issue in areas such as employee entrances, which see substantial traffic at certain times of the day.

Despite these issues, users who have experienced issues with fingerprint accuracy, or those with increased security demands, such as critical infrastructure or data centers, the VP may be attractive.

Impact

The MorphoAccess VP is likely to have modest impact on the industry. Those with existing MorphoAccess readers are most likely to be interested. Users of other biometric readers may find the changeover cost too great. Those who have avoided biometrics thus far are unlikely to be swayed, as cost and read time are bigger issues using this reader than other biometric technologies.

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