Modern communications technology brings people from different corners of the globe together at the touch of a fingertip. Another high-tech tool that relies on such "human touch" is biometric verification, which includes fingerprinting as a means of recording a person's unique characteristics to use for future identification.
"Of all information technology products, the biometrics market is expanding the fastest," says Eric See, managing director, Founder Globaltech Limited, a major IT specialist in fingerprinting security and digital rights management.
"Fingerprint technology has grown into maturity and production costs have been reduced to reasonable levels, so we are optimistic about its market potential and prospects," Mr See adds.
Fingerprint technology can achieve an accuracy rate of more than 99 per cent and due to rapid development and surging market demand, products can now be purchased at reasonable prices. This makes it affordable for companies and many individuals.
Since there is a wide range of applications, biometrics has opened up lucrative business opportunities. Meanwhile, the high level of reliability means that it can be widely deployed for identity verification as in gate-access controls and internet security.
According to a recent survey, the security product market is growing by nearly 20 per cent a year. "Our focus is on developing the business sector. We have positioned ourselves as our customers' security guard, offering security ranging from physical entry controls to the online world, protecting their assets from potential hazards," Mr See states.
Founded in 1986 with investment from Peking University in Beijing, Founder Group positioned itself as a total solutions provider for media systems integration, serving print and electronic media clients. After enjoying stable sales for numerous years, the company shifted its focus to biometric technology research, taking on commercial ventures.
Now a major innovative technology corporation with nearly 30,000 employees in Asia and beyond, Founder has developed its own fingerprint time-attendance products and access-control systems. Among its popular offerings are its online fingerprint identification system and internet security software for personal computers.
Mr See believes that the company's strength lies in the simplicity of its products. "Our user-friendly interfaces make high-technology products accessible to lay people. The products are as easy to install as any other plug-and-play devices, such as fax machines."
Unlike traditional clocking-in and time cards, biometric time-attendance systems rule out dishonest behaviour and resultant losses to companies. It also reduces tedious administrative work for accounting departments that traditionally had to collect time cards and calculate workers' compensation based on hours worked.
"Our customers are mainly the purchasing or human resources departments of small- and medium-sized enterprises. For them, simplicity is a crucial factor when they make the decision to buy," Mr See remarks.
Biometric verification offers much higher security protection than password systems, since it makes it extremely difficult for intruders to assess confidential documents or virtual data.
Founder is currently looking at ways to extend its technology to door security for top executive corporate offices and residential households. Mr See also believes biometric identifying products have great potential to act as multimedia tools to convey private messages to specified users.
Founder's fingerprint technology is now available in more than 80 regions and in 14 languages. Mr See attributes this success to the company's close academic links with tertiary institutions.
"We have proven that academic achievements in laboratories can be used to manufacture products that are commercially available," he says.
Founder's research and development center is situated in Beijing. Thanks to its links to Peking University, many of the university's graduates are keen to join the company, so it is never a problem to recruit researchers.
Headquartered in Malaysia, Founder's Hong Kong office is responsible for finance, sales and marketing. There is room for expansion in Hong Kong's fingerprint business, Mr See emphasises. "Many companies in countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa adopted fingerprint technology in their offices years ahead of Hong Kong. Numerous corporate offices and government departments in mainland China are also using the system."
Founder's Hong Kong office is currently recruiting professionals in sales and marketing. New recruits will be offered training, covering product knowledge and sales techniques. Interested candidates should have relevant tertiary qualifications and new graduates are welcome to apply.
A background in technology would be an advantage, Mr See notes. "Candidates should be outgoing and presentable. In addition to having the basic technology know-how, they should also be able to communicate effectively with our customers in layman's terms."