Not all tech will play out says Sunway Education Group
DIGITIZATION is difficult, that’s a fact nobody is going to really debate.
Some companies working hard to digitize their businesses, while others are hopping onto the bandwagon without putting too much thought into what technologies they need to invest in.
In Malaysia, the Sunway Education Group has a significant technology budget as well as the technical know-how about what suits them best.
The Group’s Director of IT Services Tony Lee told Tech Wire Asia about how technology is permeating its campus operations.
The university started using facial recognition technology at its Sunway Campus Library in January 2019. Spanning across three levels, the campus facility serves more than 25,000 students in its 72,000-square-foot floor area.
The use of facial recognition will replace smart card access to authenticating students’ identities for library access.
Unlike other biometric options, Lee highlighted that facial recognition technology is non-invasive and non-contact, fast, and accurate. This allows the authenticating process to be automated without any interruption.
In true education fashion, the IT Services team is regularly experimenting which tech plays out, and which doesn’t. This is to create a digitally-relevant experience for both students and staff, especially to improve the teaching and learning experience.
“We have been keeping track of facial recognition and other biometric technologies, and there are viable use-cases especially in the education environment.”
Facial recognition technology emerged as the right fit for authenticating at large volumes.
With so many buzzwords surrounding tech, it’s easy to forget that not everything will play out amid the hype.
“The point is, we are constantly sieving fact from fiction, and testing and experimenting what works [for us],” Lee reiterates.
Technology is a one-size-fits-all solution only when its user knows how to connect the parts together.
How does facial recognition play out on-campus?
The library was chosen for the pilot of this new technology as it is the central congregating point on-campus.
The implementation will tackle two major challenges – accessibility and security.
Now, instead of fumbling for one’s smart card, students can just walk through the lanes and access will be granted.
More often than not, students’ hands are full. The facial recognition technology will give students convenience like never before and prevent wait times for library access.
As the Sunway Campus Library is open till late in the night, security is high on the priority list.
Facial recognition is unique to each person. So, deploying the technology to authenticate students’ identity will be an added security feature for the library.
Before, whoever that has a smart card has access to the library floors. This exposes students to vulnerability, especially when the liability is misplaced or lost.
The use of facial recognition will ensure that access is only granted to bona fide students.
To sum it up, facial recognition technology can make an enclosed environment better and safer for its users.
Lee pinpoints that the biggest obstacle was integrating the new system with a matured, time-tested process that has many moving parts. Sunway’s team of innovative IT personnel as well as forward-thinking librarians, however, sorted out the initial hurdles.
Like all shifts, there are challenges. All the more reason why companies should not dive headfirst into the next technology they can get their hands on. It all boils down to what solution a specific technology offers that is compatible with an organization’s operational needs.
Ultimately, it isn’t about deploying tech that makes a company attain digital maturity. It is more about a company’s relentless pursuit of solving problems via technology.
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