Technical FAQs

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Many people define biometrics as “who you are”. At its most basic level, this is correct, but a more formal view is that biometrics is a science or technology that analyzes biological data. In the field of information technology biometrics refers to the ability to measure certain body characteristics such as your iris, voice, and facial pattern, all in an effort to verify your identity usually in order to allow you to gain physical or system access.

When we’re talking about a biometric solution we’re talking about all the components needed to successfully authenticate via biometrics, including cameras, microphones, or scanners, a stored biometric template, Computer Storage, software, algorithms, and of course the human biometric. It normally involves the process of training or storing your initial biometric template to use in comparison to future biometric authentication attempts.

Biometrics are gaining greater and greater acceptance in the marketplace. Governmental use has dominated in areas such as National Security, transportation etc. In terms of the private sector, more and more laptops are coming with biometric scanners and in many areas with highly sensitive data requiring a higher level of security, companies are seriously investigating biometric authentication.

The primary benefit is the increased security and fraud reduction; secondly, they are fast, accurate, easily deployed, and cost effective. They also reduce password administration costs especially related to a company’s helpdesk. In many cases, the increased productivity that is realized from the time saved can result in additional revenue. Finally, a person’s name and demographic information may change how to identify them, their biometrics never change.

Besides allowing you to access your locked devices and apps securely without having to key in an ID and Password, Biometric Recognition is a time saver and brings added convenience to the table. That convenience encourages people to lock their apps where otherwise they would not. This can be a critical decision if your device is lost or stolen.

So many people ask whether biometrics is secure. The key to biometric systems is that they are developed around the unique physical characteristics that each of us has. First of all, the probability of two people having the same biometric data is almost impossible. Secondly, you cannot duplicate or share a biometric with someone else. Additionally most biometric properties can only be lost in the case of serious accidents. Compare this to the alternative risks associated with IDs, passwords, or smart cards.

Our biometric solutions, if installed properly, will always allow for individuals to fall back to a default entry or re-enroll should the biometric become unrecognizable.

Persistent Proctor FAQs

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Historical test proctoring involved having a human being monitor an individual as they completed a test to prevent cheating. The purpose of Persistent Proctor is to provide a fully-automated, on-line, test proctoring solution that using biometrics and digital surveillance technologies in place of human proctors.

Persistent Proctor uses biometric facial recognition to allow access to the system and during the test proctoring process to continuously assess the identity of the test-taker during the test.  We refer to that as Persistent Authentication.

During Persistent Authentication, three types of what we refer to as anomalies can be found.

  • The test-taker is not the person who enrolled in the course.
  • There is more than one face showing up in the camera view.
  • There is no face in the camera view, which also detects persons continually looking askance.

All these anomalies are listed on a dashboard of results for the administrator to review shortly after testing completion.

Facial recognition success has a lot to do with two components:  lighting and the position of the face. 

To improve success, try to enroll in similar lighting conditions to those you will experience during testing.  During the capturing of the initial 8 images, try to look at each of the four corners of the monitor to improve results.

While testing, a small display monitor window will open in the bottom right corner of the screen. Facial recognition works best when the full face can be clearly seen in the display monitor.  Looking up, down, or to the side more than 15 degrees can cause facial recognition failure.

In addition to facial recognition anomalies, the Persistent Proctor dashboard displays a count of the number of websites visited.  In addition, some of the other things the dashboard will display include:

  • A video of the test taker with customizable playback speed.
  • A video of everything that displays on the test-taker screen with customizable playback speed.
  • The test-taker’s original enrollment image.
  • Any re-enrollment images.
  • An image of the test-taker’s photo ID.

Yes, you can re-enroll, but be aware that the images of the re-enrollment are recorded and can be compared to your original enrollment data.  Also, the administrator will receive notification of the re-enrollment.

Besides having a yellow caution symbol displaying on the dashboard, the administrator will receive an email any time a re-enrollment is done.

Initially, a test-taker is required to complete an enrollment process, which involves taking 8 “selfies” using an installed or tethered webcam.  They also are required to capture an image of a photo ID.  The process can be completed in under a minute.

Persistent Proctor can be used anytime, day or night, 24/7 any place where you have decent lighting, a laptop or desktop with a webcam, and a clear image of the test-taker without others appearing in the camera view.  Additionally, here is no need to take time off from work to travel to a remote testing center.

At this time, only a laptop, desktop, or Surface device may be used.  It is very difficult to continuously maintain the facial image in the camera view of smaller handheld devices.  This is essential to being able to receiving the full benefit of automation where we are replacing human proctors. 

On the test-taker side, Chrome and Firefox may be used with Persistent Proctor. 

The administrator dashboard can be accessed using any browser.

Persistent Proctor attempts to be as little a distraction as possible for the test-taker. It is only at the end of a proctoring session that results are sent to the dashboard for review.  During testing, no-one is allowed to view in real-time.

Persistent Proctor is a browser-based application.  It is not a download. The only exception is a very small “plugin” that is required.  Upon installation, the test-taker will be prompted to install the plugin, which only takes seconds.

There are three versions of Persistent Proctor:

  1. Our primary version integrates with many Learning Management System (LMSs), allowing test-taker information to automatically be populated into Persistent Proctor, avoiding having to reenter such information.
  2. Our stand-alone version does not need an LMS but allows the entry of exam links directly into the software.
  3. Our Application Programming Interface (API) version allows Persistent Proctor to be programatically tightly integrated into a third party’s solution.

A Learning Management System, or LMS for short, is software that is used to develop and host the courses and exams that many institutions provide.  One of our Persistent Proctor versions integrates with several LMSs, the advantage of which is that it allows test-taker, course, and exam information to automatically be populated into Persistent Proctor, avoiding having to reenter such information.