Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Year, Renewed Excitements

(Note: This is my keynote speech for the Company’s Annual Dinner on 2nd January, 2010)
2009 is a bittersweet year for many. Just as the outbreak of H1N1 sent shocks to the human race all over the world, the economics turmoil hit, wounding many nations and businesses.

Even though we feel the effects of the merciless disasters, FingerTec had no time to grieve; we continue marching according to the planned activities. New products, R2i, i-Kadex, DigiPay, TA100T are launched this year, and Smart Keylock 8800, FaceID and TCMS Web Version are due to be released just around the corner.

On top of that we have some new products in our pipeline for 2010 too. But all in all, with the growing maturity of all the technologies from the hardware to the software, it sparks a new direction, a new diversification to our present business model.

It is a new business model based on Cloud Computing Technology, along with the debut of TCMS V2 Web version in 2010, and the built-in Web Server technology in our terminals.

I agree that there is no guarantee for success in any new business venture, but the mere idea of it has renewed my excitement. It is worth a try, a very serious try.

Our sales team should renew their excitements too this year with a new mission burdened on their shoulders. The mission is to guide the distributors through and through by using the new FingerTec Distributor Business Guidebook as the “Going In” strategy, besides the much-awaited new products led by face recognition technology and Cloud Computing Technology.

And in 2010, in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary celebration of FingerTec, I proudly present to you the 10th Anniversary Celebration logo, which bores a spirited tagline: A Milestone For The Next Leap. It marks our passed glories as a profound milestone, reminding us to be prepared for greater challenges in the next leap. Things without challenge lack excitements, don’t you agree?

In this New Year, with the renewal of our excitements, I also urge you to revisit our company’s motto, Think and Reinventing. Indeed, that’s the very fundamental principle that I want to stay permanent with us without a slightest change. On the contrary, it could be further enhanced.

I quote a few paragraphs from my previous comprehension article for this motto I wrote a few years back as a punch line to refresh your mind.

Think & Reinventing

The more you can think, the more valuable you are. Especially when we are now living in the Information Age. Information Age generates myriad of data everyday, data would turn into garbage if we skip the thinking process. Knowledge would be derived from data if we add thinking substance into it; and wisdom could further be derived from knowledge if more thinking process and analysis are involved.

I like this proverb that goes "Nothing can't be achieved, only when it's beyond your imagination." In fact, any good execution should be the result of good thinking and comprehension.

Thinking will lead to improvement in your daily work; improvement will lead to reinvention of jobs, of products, of services, of administration, of marketing and of everything.

Reinvention spirit should stay in our blood to give us more boosts and push everyday, to continually find out what can be done to improve our life, our work and our environment. Once identified, find a way, make a change, see the result, review the performance, and repeat the process all over again. I value creativity, but I value reinvention more.

Many Small Steps; eventually would lead us to a Big Leap.

I wish you all the best in the coming new year.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, December 7, 2009

FingerTec Distributor Business Guidebook

The whole company just came back from an all expenses paid trip to Shanghai. After a wind down, I am planning to spend most of my time in this last month of 2009 to write FingerTec Distributor Business Guidebook.

Company trip to Shanghai

What is a brand good for if it is just a logo affixed on a product? I always ponder about this, and I would not hesitate to do more for FingerTec. The Guidebook is in fact a round up of practical branding efforts we have done all these years and to extend it in an organized way for an easier adoption by our distributors. The main objectives are to help them increase sales, to improve cash flow and to reduce support costs in a more efficient way, I must say.

The Enlightenment
The idea had dawned on me on the last day I wrapped up my India trip, on the way to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. I saw our effortless methods in strengthening Malaysia’s market and our global strategies in penetrating the international market can be combined and fine-tuned to further benefit our worldwide distributors, besides using our plentiful readily available branding materials.

The Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree for 49 days to find his Enlightenment, but he spent the rest of his life teaching the theory of Karma, which spawn from the Enlightenment. I foresaw we would face a similar challenge. It is not merely the writing of the Guidebook, but if there is a gap between a distributor’s daily operation and the Guidebook, how should we convince the distributors to change their business conducts that they had accustomed to, even if they agreed to do it the FingerTec way.

Buddha and the Enlightenment

Patching up the flaws
I always detect flaws in some of our partners’ FingerTec business operations that deter their growths. When I was invited to give a talk, I would share my view (of course, a broad one without too much details) with them on how to tap on FingerTec resources for better business expansion, but it’s normally ended up in futile because old operation habits diehard. This time, a detailed Guidebook with follow-up monitoring system may yield a more constructive result.

Our first 5-year plan started in 2001 was more focused on technological research and development, which laid a strong groundwork for FingerTec products to soar. The second 5-year plan with a global marketing strategy was to spread our wings to as many countries as possible in the world. For this, I summed it up as a “Going Out” strategy, having our products currently presence in over 100 countries.

From Going-Out to Going-In

From Going-Out to Going-In

I had made up my mind long ago that the next 5-year plan should be a continuation of “Going Out”, which naturally succeeded by “Going In” strategy. But this strategy is bothering me every now and then, because it seems to me that we need to have a string of different sub-action plans in order to deal with different local partners, or to set up operation offices abroad to ensure the success of the plan. And I also realized that if we followed this costly conventional path, we will eventually loss in a maze of disorientation in our future plan.

For 2010, also the 10th Anniversary of FingerTec, this is the next 5-year milestone I set for FingerTec, to unite the Diaspora FingerTec partners around the world and to unleash FingerTec branding power through emphasizing the uniformity of strategy that extended from practical branding to business operation.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stood Out In Mumbai

Since we were the only Malaysian exhibitor surrounded by an ocean of Chinese companies in China Sourcing Fair in Mumbai, the foremost questions we anticipated were, “What are the major differences between FingerTec products and China products?” and “Why should we Indian buy from your company while we are indulged by loads of cheaper China products?”

In fact, we received no such question at all. While thousands of Chinese exhibitors simply transformed the Exhibition Hall a China Town, FingerTec, among a handful of other countries’ booths available, stood out easily with local Indians handling inquiries.

I’m still obliged to answer the questions though. I think some of our partners may like to know since they’re often competing with some China products. I don’t see the necessity to handover detailed comparison list here, but discerning some basics should be sufficient.

With our partner, Compax Industrial System took care of the booth, I had ample time to roam the Exhibition Hall. In summary, the Chinese Sourcing Fair is all about a fleet of Chinese companies that couldn’t wait to part with their products from their manufacturing plant in exchange with cash. It seemed to me they’re more incline to deal with the seeable tangible products, all the invisible intangible added values such as system, software, service, branding, solution, are normally the least of their concerns.

Bhooshan & Imran, Compax handling crowds

Visit Compax office in Pune after the Trade Show

I agree that the intangible value might be less important for electronic components and consumer products, which constitute the larger part of the Sourcing Fair, but it’s hard to believe that security products which supposedly be more holistic in solution; software, the main driver of most security hardware, is also taken lightly by most Chinese players.

Without any doubt, low price is one of the best strategies. But for security and office automation products, it should be more than that because quality and reliability must be second to none. A question for users, do you want to enjoy (the price) first and suffer later? That’s why our partner for seven-year, Compax never turned to sell Biometrics products from China, although repeatedly approached and offered with attractively low price products. However, they did use the price lists from the Chinese competitors to negotiate with us.

In reality, FingerTec sales grew exponentially in India for the past few years. The more pricey Korean products also are in demand in India market. To me, this is a good sign. It proves that the Indian market starts to take other elements besides price into their consideration.

IFSEC India had just ended two weeks ago in Delhi; and now come the China Sourcing Fair in Mumbai. With huge crowds drawn to our booths in the two most populace cities in India, it should keep Compax busy for the coming months.

This is the promo trailer song of 3 Idiots which bombards the MTV channel in India now. The actress, Kareena Kapoor, wow, is so beautiful.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Confirmed. It's me.

Ever come across any face recognition system? Since FingerTec FaceID 2 reader is due to be released only in January, I would like to recommend Picasa 3.0 if you want to experience face recognition system. Picasa 3.0 is a photo album management system provided by Google, free of charge.

Picasa 3.0 with face recognition tool

Thanks to Google’s acquisition of Neven Vision, a company that specialized in matching facial detail with readily available images in a centralized database, three years ago. The technology was then being transferred to Picasa 3.0. The technology helps to identify all faces in your pool of photos in groupings based on their similarities, which you can opt to tag them later. Picasa will automatically suggest the tags that suit to the faces the next time you upload new photos to your computer.

But Picasa may also capture the face of a lovely angel statue standing next to you and suggest that she is your girlfriend (you can pray for the statue to come to life, if you want to); or identify Mr. Obama in a poster and group him with one of your colored friends. Or some stranger’s faces might just pop up from nowhere when your picture was taken with a group of passersby. With all these limitations, you still need to edit your photos by removing or regrouping all the errors to finally get the tags right. Still, despite all, it’s pretty much a useful tool.

How about FingerTec® FaceID reader, can it differentiate statue, poster or photo from a real face? That’s the major difference between 2D and 2D+3D (FingerTec® FaceID) facial recognition technology. FaceID will easily identify a pictured face as negative unless it is a waxwork that looks very real, or perhaps a twin. For Picasa face recognition, it searches the entire stack of your 2D photos; but for FingerTec FaceID, you have to enroll before performing identification for time attendance or access control, which lessens the burden of fuzzy logic search.

FingerTec FaceID 2

Biometrics recognition system is getting closer to our everyday’s life. Another application that has been quietly adopted without most people being aware is biometric signature recognition system in banking industry. When you sign a check, some banks have already transferred the recognition job from visual inspection by an officer to a biometric signature recognition system. The system will measure and analyze the physical activity of signing, your strokes order, the pressure applied and the speed.

Below is a joke that I would like to share with you.

“Could you please identify yourself, madam,” a bank teller expects an old woman to produce her identity card when withdrawing a large amount of cash from her savings account.

Indeed, the bewildered old woman slowly opened her handbag, took out a small mirror, looked into it for a while before raising her head, “Confirmed. It’s me.”

That’s the same humor phrase that we use in our brochure and poster for FingerTec FaceID 2 reader.

In fact, who can identify you better than you could? But the fact remains that most of us are nobody or merely a stranger to others; hence we have to rely on a medium to provide an unambiguous and undisputable identification. What else better than a biometric recognition machine to identify a human? And among the Biometrics products, what else better than FingerTec brand as a perfect choice? 

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Most Expensive Fingerprint

Quiz: How much is the worth of the most expensive fingerprint in the world?

Answer: Approximately US$ 150 million. The fingerprint belonged to Leonardo da Vinci.

da Vinci’s fingerprint (as arrow pointed)

Deliberation: A portrait previously thought to be the work of a German, recently is identified as the work of Leonardo da Vinci, based on a fingerprint left on the top left corner of the portrait. According to an analysis by Paris laboratory Lumiere Technology and forensic art expert, it matches a fingerprint from Leonardo’s “St. Jerome” in the Vatican. This piece of artwork, named La Bella Principessa, was auctioned in 1997 for US$19,000, but now could be worth more than US$ 150 million.

The Morale of the story: If you’re not a thief, and you think you matter, do feel free to leave your fingerprints on anything you touch especially FingerTec machine. You wouldn’t know how much it worth after some times. (Hey! Stop daydreaming, come and collect your paycheck!) :)

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Practical Branding

Yes, I need to talk about again. In recent 100 Best Global Brands chosen by Business Week (September 28th issue), Amazon is ranked 43, rising 13 spots from the previous year. If compared to top of the list brands like Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE and Nokia in sequence, Amazon is still far behind. Why the interest in when the stock is not my concern? and Bezos, the boss

Because the world’s best known companies typically spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on advertising and marketing to build their brands. But it’s not the case for The giant online retailer has created one of the world’s strongest brands by eschewing conventional tactics. Business Week quotes, instead of shelling out big bucks for lavish trade shows and TV and magazine ads, Amazon pours money into technology for its website distribution capability, and good deals on shipping. The result: a smooth shopping experience that burnishes the company name.

“It is pretty unprecedented that their brand has ascended so quickly without large marketing budget,” says Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at brand consultant Landor Associates. “It’s not about splaying their logo everywhere. They are all about ease of use.”

And Amazon declined to take part in providing their success branding-story to Business Week. I suspect if branding ever existed in Amazon’s dictionary. “By investing back in the user experience, you get high loyalty and repeat usage,” says Sebastian Thomas, head of U.S. technology research for RCM Capital Management, and investment firm with a stake in the company.

So, what shall we call such a “no-branding” branding strategy?

I fancy Practical Branding.

Practical branding? This is the first time I heard of it. Please elaborate.” This is the very first question an official from Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation had asked me after I wrapped up my presentation for our application for Brand Promotion Grant last year.

C.I.F. Shipping for FingerTec

When I explained, it bore certain similarities to

Our tagline says it all. With FingerTec, everything is easy. We allocate our budget to improve details of our system to provide good customer experience, regardless whether you are a reseller or end-customer. The budget poured to provide better quality products and more user-friendly software to minimize technical problems. The money went to our websites that are equipped with all types of tool and material for users and partners to refer to and download. The expenditure allows us to keep fine-tuning our support system that built on platform to efficiently handle all kinds of inquiries. And, ……
Our latest marketing and support kit that compiled everything useful in one CD, is expected to bring an ear-to-ear smile from our resellers.

Big smile, all-in-one marketing and support CD

All these efforts encircled around users and resellers, to smoothen their experience in using with our products and in dealing with us. Just like, they don’t claim how good they are through advertising dollars, but the brand speaks for itself through users’ experience.

So, can I claim the origin of “Practical branding” term?

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, September 28, 2009

Learning And Earning

(We have recently launched a “Learning and Earning” campaign within our organization with an objective to improve our existing system by enhancing learning process. This article also serves as a conceptual guide in emphasizing the importance of Learning in today’s world.)

I like to share this little meaningful story about Albert Einstein (no point to investigate the trueness) with you.

It goes with an undergraduate who sat for a Physics exam, stared down at his exam paper in disbelief.

"Wow! These questions are almost identical to last year’s," he exclaimed in excitement.

Albert Einstein, the examiner, also the one who set the questions, replied with a faint smile, “Well, they are. However, I can assure you that the answers would be totally different from the last year’s.”

Learning is the only way for us to nourish our minds and to acquire knowledge. Especially during the Information Age, Learning is no longer confined to school, but it has been upgraded to “Lifelong Learning”, in order to cope with the fast-changing world.

In fact, for the past several thousands years of Agricultural Age, to earn a living, a child just need to learn from his own father for the skills of breeding livestock and laboring at the farmland, started from age of 7 to 12.

When the Industrial Revolution later arrived in early 19th Century, a proper education system was introduced, and learning process as the purpose of making a living was taken over by the education institutions, the study age was extended averagely from 5 to 24. One good thing of learning in Industrial Age was, whatever knowledge students had pursuit in school generally applied in their profession throughout their whole career.

But in this Information Age, which started when computer enters our life, knowledge renews in light-speed, students find what they have learned in their sophomore was obsolete even before they’ve graduated. That’s why voluntary and self-motivated Lifelong Learning, also known as LLL, is more essential these days.

Learning? Easy job.

There is an interesting topic I picked up from The Economist (September 12-18th issue), you can use it to motivate your children, if they ever show the lack of interest towards study. :)

The topic bore similar title Learning and Earning, says in America the lifetime gross earnings of male graduates are, on average, nearly USD$370,000 higher than those of non-graduates. It pays well to study: across the OECD countries, The Economist quotes, a man can expect to make an additional USD$186,500 in his lifetime if he has a degree.

The article, in broader perspective, indicates how Learning would improve our living standard in general.

In Malaysia, we do have some resellers who are only willing to sell FingerTec products; but unwilling to learn the technical knowhow of the machines; and have to split their profit with freelance installers. After awhile, when their business contacts ran dry, they’ll see their business slowly wither too.

Give up learning; you’re literally given up your future.

To me, learning shouldn’t narrow-mindedly go with single motive which to improve earning only; in a broader aspect, it is a self-enrichment process to improve wisdom, which is a greater intangible asset to one-self. Wealth without wisdom can often end in disaster.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Permission Marketing

One might think a notion of forced marriage has vanished, and marriage is supposed to be union of loves, after acquaintances and long enough get together. Still, some parents might trade their children marriages to climb the social ladder; or in some parts of the world with feudalism diehards, forced marriage is still a common practice.

FingerTec however leaves the marriage open, very modern, bold choice of a relationship. For the uninitiated, open marriage is a relationship in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital relationships without this being regarded as infidelity.

When our partner, Hisham Aki, the boss of Technology Line in Egypt, told me that he would place our products in mid range, sandwiched between Korean fingerprint product on top, and China product at the bottom, I had no problem with his idea. I told him teasingly, “While your religion doesn’t prohibit polygamy, who am I?”

Hisham Aki at a trade show in Cairo

That was when I first met him in Cairo in 2006. After a year or so, during which he brought his beautiful wife to visit us in Malaysia, he told me that he had dropped the other brands and now focus on FingerTec. “To reduce all the unnecessary troubles”, he said, looking at his wife.

The same went with our South Africa partner. They were selling China products too for a year, and decided to shift the focus on FingerTec only. My point is, why should we deny them fair assessment when they yet to know who would make a better partner? Flirt around before you commit to anything. I am confident of my product and if you decided to go with other brands, it’s your lost. And so far, majority of our partners stay.

In the business world, having two willing parties are more important than forced (faked) loyalty. If our customers fall in love with our rival’s products and decided to drop us, we let them go, no hard feelings. After all, it is just business. But FingerTec will always learn our lessons if that ever to occur in our business. This is the free world that we live in. To prevail, we have to keep improving ourselves in all aspects, not only to keep our existing customers but also to lure the new ones.

We practice the same in our marketing activities such as emailing. Instead of flooding customers and target potentials with irritated spam mails, we opt to send monthly eNewsletter; keeps them informed on our latest developments. Some of our competitors are stalking us through our newsletters and Tweets. We have no problem, the more the merrier. If they’re ready to take the leap, they’re more than welcome to join us.

Permission Marketing, a book by Seth Godin

Seth Godin, a marketing guru, proclaimed in his book Permission Marketing, “Rather than simply interrupting a television show with a commercial or barging into consumer’s life with an unannounced phone call or letter, tomorrow’s marketer will first try to gain the consumer’s consent to participate in the selling process. Perhaps the consumer will give his permission because he is volunteering to learn more about a particular product or class of products.”

Forced marriages have the high probability to produce unhappy couples, and nobody should be forced to be loyal; it has to come naturally. In FingerTec, we believe in “love at first sight”. Why? Because it happens to our customers quite frequently, when they first set their eyes on us!

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Friday, September 4, 2009

Learn From History

A Feng Shui master friend of mine, who immigrated to Singapore since three years ago, told me it is easier to make money in Singapore.

“When I spoke of their pasts, they were impressed on how accurate I was. So they would start to believe in everything I said about their future,” he continued, “but this does not always work for Malaysians.”

I intrigued to inquire a big WHY? He explained, “The Singapore government plans everything for their citizens, they share almost the same past, present and future, which in short, the same fate; that’s why their future is so predictable.”

A practically smart geomancer, I concluded.

Yes, everyone would like to be certain about their future, even for a corporate, to move forward, they have to figure out what lies ahead. In order to get to the right path, the quickest way is to seek advice from a crystal ball. :-)

Crystal ball says you will strike lottery

In fact, to get a clear picture of a future, the more you need to understand is the past. Not only for an individual, it also applies to a company at industry level, a government at country and world level. In my opinion, everyone needs to study the world history to better understand our present world.

If you are a bit lazy, you can take a shortcut and skip the history before AD1500. Apparently, the modern world has come to be what it is only the short compass of the last 5 hundred years, when the European power, Spain, Portugal, France and Britain started to sail out from the continents with their fleets to explore the unknown world, eagerly expanding their colonized empire. That should be the first wave of globalization, and it changed everything that it used to be.

Sail into the unknown

It ended up with why Brazilians speak Portuguese, and the rest of Latin Americans speak Spanish, and some Africans like Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians also speak French, besides Arabic as their national language.

So, when we decided to take FingerTec to the world market, we’re not like the complacent Japanese who export their products in pure Japanese language, or like most of the other businesses when go global would think English should be sufficient to concur the world. When the Arabians greet you with “Assalamualaikum” and Latin Americans “Hola” you, English is quickly shrunk to an incomprehensible piece of crumpled brochure in their hands.

A variety of local-enough languages remain as our promise to the world, and we also introduce a mini United Nations convoy in sales and support departments: Regielou Rolloque, a Pinay with an excellent command of Spanish and her native Tagalog; Benacer Douadi, an Algerian who speaks Arabic and French; Batyr Komurzoev, a Russian who Привет you if you are from CIS countries, Tamy Phoon and Bee Lay for Chinese language, and Norana and Nattalina for Malay and Indonesian, all of them can speak and write good English too. To deal with us, you would be a happier customer.

FingerTec mini 'United Nations' convoy for sales & supports

To penetrate a country, we have to understand their pasts, and know their present. The Economists, Business Week, Asia Week and A&S International are readily available in the office for their reading pleasures, and of course Wikipedia, Google, are at the tips of their fingers. It’s imperative that they have information about other countries and cultures in order to work closely with numerous customers for profitable future.

The first wave of globalization (colonization) had begun with force, and ended up with retaliation from the colonized natives. When a product tries to go global in today’s ‘more officially’ declared globalization age, I saw the same mistake is made but in a different form for some companies.

This time around, some China biometrics companies, bombarding their so-called target potentials with repeated ‘force’ emails to promote their low-price products, I’m sure they will get rebuke very soon. One of their typical emails, with a broken English goes like “I am so and so, thinks for your time, I got your company's information from Internet and know your business is around the security products…” And they will keep irritate you with the same email once every few days, ignoring the hints that without a reply, there is no interest.

In FingerTec, we learned from history, in a smarter way, and avoid repeating the same mistakes and adopts permission marketing as our basic marketing concept. And we keep receiving emails from our potential customers who would want to become our partners.
I will discuss our permission marketing approach in my next article.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Change: The Only Constant

Mr. Loo, the owner of LKF Tech Services, who came to collect his order of FingerTec products from our office last Wednesday bumped into me and told me he knew me for almost 20 years, even though our very first FingerTec model AC601 was only launched 9 years ago. FingerTec is definitely NOT the link. He explained that back then he was a sales person selling EasyData brand PC to Password Computer (M) Sdn Bhd, the first IT company which I had joined.

“No wonder you look familiar,” I said. We later relishing the days when the first IBM compatible PC, XT 8088 and later AT 80286 were still able to provide 30% profit margin for resellers; we sighed at the fact that the existing PC had long been a commodity market, regardless of the efforts, sellers could only get to squeeze a ‘nano-profit’, a term that Stan Shih, Founder of Acer used to quote.

IBM XT 8088 PC

That’s the ruthless fact of fast changing IT industry. Dare to take a short break; you would be swept away to nowhere instantly. Products become obsolete in no time, some brands demised in history only after a short glory.

Let’s take a look at mobile phone industry as an example. It started from a bulky ‘tumbler’ design to a sleek gadget; from black & white to color screen; from single telecommunication function to multi-purpose; from a dummy device to smart phone; from diversified to a converging technology. By the end of 2006, there were 2.68 billion mobile phone subscribers, outnumbered 1.27 billion fixed-line telephone subscribers by more than two folds. Fixed line spent more than a century to reach the figure, but mobile phone only took less than two decades, with significant generation change in technology every few years.

Water tumbler?

When Internet technology arrived in the mid 1990s, the changes were more tremendous and thorough. IT development had produced hundreds of thousands of millionaires, but many of them later striped bare when they failed to cope with the technology turnaround. We witness the rise and fall happened much faster here than in any other industries.

When I first started PUC Founder in 1995, project-based Electronic Publishing System for newspapers market was still our core business. The business declined sharply due to the newspaper industry itself had to struggle against the trend of online publishing.

With our ongoing efforts to pursue Change, FingerTec fingerprint products currently outpaced electronic publishing system as main contributor to our revenue, brought us much prosperous presence and future; just like Mr. Loo, from a sales person, he has prospered to have his own business, now with a project in hand to install over 60 units of FingerTec R2 & TA100 models in multiple sites for a public listed company.

We believe in Change, the only constant determination to bring us to a brighter future.
And our determination leads us to face recognition technology, The Next Big Thing. Before we unveil the state-of-the-art products by yearend, grab some ideas about our combination of 2D & 3D Face Recognition Algorithm from the Technology White Paper.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Privacy Issue, Again

It all started after a staff from a furniture installer was dismissed. He filed a complaint to the authority, saying his dismissal was the result of his refusal to enroll his fingerprint for time and attendance.

The news was fast-spread by the Hong Kong media on 14 July after Privacy Commissioner Roderick Woo Bun issued a statement to the press and commented, “Fingerprints are sensitive personal data, given their uniqueness and unchangeable nature, employers should carry out a serious and cautious assessment before collecting such data.”

The news came just two weeks after the successful launching of FingerTec model R2i and Q2i in Hong Kong; I can imagine the frustration of Founder Hong Kong’s staff when the news hit the media. What a pity!

Launching of model Q2i, Elvis Law is second from the left

I wish I was there at the launching

The following two weeks, they’re in full combatant mode. Phones kept ringing. “One project that needs 20 units is put on hold,” a reseller informed. “Do you have less intrusive solution besides fingerprint?” another inquired. Journalists called for clarifications from Elvis Law, now a reputable fingerprint solution figure in Hong Kong, a ‘title’ that I used to tease him.

“The most shocking call was from a high-ranking officer from Criminal Investigation Section,” Elvis told me during my trip to Hong Kong last week. Indeed, what this person was asking for is some support documents about minutiae points in fingerprint technology, which prevent reforming original fingerprint for a crime purpose, and he plans to use the fact to fight the Privacy Commissioner on his exaggerated statement.

“Hmmm, ‘buddy punching’ to cheat employers is also a crime, according to the officer,” he cracked into a triumphant smile.

When something bad happened, the good sometimes follows. To curb ‘buddy-punching’, some initially was unaware that employers have started to explore the idea. Sales has increased for FingerTec Mifare card models where fingerprint is stored in individual card but not in the system, escaped the accusation of inappropriate collecting of personal data.
And, the issue has sparked some debates over the Internet and newspapers. It seemed the pros beat the cons. The most distinctive critic is that the lawmaker is always lagging behind in technology advancement.

The truth is; so far there is no reported case of any commercial-based fingerprints being reused in crimes. Do you hear any? The technology intelligently prohibits it from happening. J In commercial fingerprint algorithm, once the fingerprint template is produced, it’s no way to turn it around.

The technology has changed the world, reshaped the way we live and think and act. To me, no worry, the laggards shall follow, one day.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ