Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quality Control Australian Style

At the Kings Park, Perth Australia

I went to Perth Australia last month for a short break. I had little idea about what Australia is going to offer me but from my readings people review that Perth is one of the best cities in the world and Australia is one of the best vacation spots in the world. A pretty good reason to pay a visit, isn't it?

We took advantage of the AirAsia-X offer, my husband and I flew to Perth to wind down in October. No doubt Perth is a gorgeous city. It's clean, organized and breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful. I don't fancy hustle and bustle, and I love the fact that the city takes its time. The shops are closed at 530pm on weekdays except Friday and a lot of people actually doing exercise outdoor. I took my own sweet time and relaxing as much as I could while enjoying what the city has to offer.

Many people that i know have the idea that Perth is boring (*wink). Well, it depends on what you are looking for. I beg to differ. I even saw with my own eyes a lady happily drinking while driving on early Friday night. Well, she actually waved and shouted at us happily from the car, offering us her drink. Carry on, mate!!

Boab Tree, Perth Australia

What I admire the most about Australia is it's border control. Nobody is an exception and even it's very early in the morning, the officers were all fired up. Very professional, very efficient. With that kind of control, I think a very small percent of offenders can get pass through them. I thought it's only during entry, exit also the same thing. I forgot to take out a jar of honey from my luggage and it's gone.

Quality control steps should be as detailed as Australian Border Control. Every unit has to be checked thoroughly to make sure no error escapes. Are we at the level of Australian Border Control, perhaps not yet but my plan is to name the department Quality Control Australian Style. I will get to it in 2010. Promise!

Enjoying fresh crabs at Fremantle, Perth Australia

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Against All Odds

2009 is coming to an end. A pretty tough year in my book. The major disaster was the economy that decided to play pranks and left everybody exasperated. The value of money shrunk, reduced purchasing power and most probably would affect this fiscal year’s PNLs of most companies. The bad economy also had forced players to offer rock bottom dirt prices to opportunists, squeezing the already slim margin to almost flat.
Yet, against all odds, I think FingerTec has done a pretty great job in this year of ox.
Last Friday we had an internal meeting and for the first time were introduced to the prototype of Face ID. I’ve been in the business for almost a decade and I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’ve tried on iris when I was in New Delhi last year but this Face ID is a really cool machine. The gadget you thought was only available in movies.

The registration takes less than 2 minutes because the machine needs to get your face in 3 dimensions. Front, left, right, up and down. And, verification takes a split second, unless you cover your face or doing funny distorted facial expression, which trust me, a lot of users would attempt that in the first month of use.
Even when the room was dark, the machine spotted me. It’s truly awesome! The markets are going to be excited about Face ID just as I am and I reckon with the price that we are offering, the Face ID is going to do good in the market.
Another great product, which many customers are asking about, is Smart Keylock 8800. Yesterday I got the chance to experience the prototype that we are going to bring to India for the show, and again, I’m impressed. I’m not biased. I have seen and feel other products but this one is the ultimate. Registration and management of users can be done at this keylock itself through keypads and LCD. It has NO/NC feature, useful for visitor management. You can set the keylock at Normally Open if your office is accessible all day long or you can opt otherwise if you want every user who enters your room is verified before entry. The smart keylock has 2 latches. Motis on top and bar latch in the bottom, added security feature for installation on the front door or main doors of important rooms. The colors and finishing of this Keylock are sophisticated.

We are still doing some minor touch-ups on the Face ID to produce near-to- perfection machine. The release date is pushed back to end of December or early January 2010. The production of Keylock 8800 will start very soon.
Nonetheless, we accept pre-booking of Face ID and Keylock 8800 this month. No payment is required once you make a pre-booking (we will only request the payment prior to delivery).

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Friday, October 2, 2009

One FingerTec, One Malaysia

“Are you a Chinese?” a client asked. The answer is obvious to Malaysians but not for foreigners like most of our clients. There are a few traits to look for in determining the race of Malaysians. First, look at the skin color, if she is fairer, most probably she is a Chinese but don’t jump to conclusion. Now, look at the eyes, narrow small eyes, your prediction might be correct but not quite yet. Ask her to speak Chinese, if she can, most probably she is. The last is, simply ask her and you will get your answer. My point is, to the outsiders, it’s not that easy to tell us apart.

I’m a Malay Muslim. My father is half-Chinese and my mum was a Malay. Natt is a Malay Muslim as well but she is much fairer and she doesn’t wear a scarf. Tamy is a Chinese but she can speak Malay very well. My boss, Mr Teh is a Chinese, he has fair skin, narrow eyes, he can speak Chinese very well but he can also speak Malay and his mother also is very fluent in Malay language. Our finance manager is a sweet Chinese lad who loves to wear Malay traditional clothes in the office.

While the new Najib administration calls for One Malaysia concept, we have been One Malaysia since the day I joined this company 10 years ago. Regardless of races, we treat everybody with a lot of respects and love, and definitely no discrimination based on race. We discriminate based on their salaries, and you know I’m kidding.
How can I confidently say so? I’ve been given the opportunity to lead a capable team of international sales and marketing since 5 years ago, running the business side by side with my mentor, Mr Teh. He has never looked at me with race boundary. If he had, I wouldn’t stand a chance to go ahead. The same applies to my team, my beloved assistant Tamy is a Chinese and she’s capable in many aspects of the business. Next to Tamy is Natt who is a Malay. In short, race doesn’t matter.
I strongly believe that discrimination is nurtured. If in a family, parents taught their kids to find distinctions between races and use those differences to abhor each other, it’s just plain wrong. A human is a human regardless of races. We have to respect each other differences and to live in harmony. Races are still important but not to detest others but to find colorful lives in those variations. My daughter is 5 years old and her classmates are multiracial. She doesn’t understand the differences at all. For her, those are her friends, and we couldn’t agree more.
And it’s been the same in FingerTec family. I have so much respect for my mentor. To me amongst other talents that he has, he has a good heart. This is by no means indicating that he can be taken for granted. He is firm but he has a very good heart. And for those who think that I write this for personal benefits, you are correct. I have wanted to say this for a long time and today I feel the need to say it out loud, in writing. It’s for my own personal reason. I can argue with him in various subjects and he likes to make fun of certain things, but one thing I cannot deny is his good heart.
There are too much craziness in the world but there are also too much kindness to spread around. The truth of the matter is, we are all humans living in the same world, wishing for happiness til the day we die.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Facing Forward

The next move for us is face recognition technology. I’ve always known that FingerTec would diversify into other biometrics technology and I am excited to be informed that face is the choice. I’m all for face because I think face is the most non-intrusive product of biometrics. After almost a decade in fingerprint, why now?, some might ask. This is not at all an indication that fingerprint technology has fewer demands in the market; it’s just attested the increasing demands for stable and reliable biometrics technology from various sectors. Face has been in the market for quite sometimes but commercially viable products are scarce.

Shall we invite him to work in QC?

The challenge for the team and me is the marketing aspect of these products; positioning, pricing, competitiveness, marketing plan, and etc. It’s such a thrill to start all over again from ground zero with a set of new products, and I’m anxious to find out the reaction of our existing resellers about face technology. At the same time, I also have to gauge the impact of face technology introduction on our fingerprint products. Somehow I believe that face recognition could be in symbiosis with fingerprint products and tap into areas that are missed by the later. The major advantage of face recognition products is its contactless nature! No touching of things sounds so appealing to avoid transmission of anything from one stranger to another but more importantly, the feasibility of the product to user. Walk into an office, look at the machine and you are done.

Another benefit is its speed. When a door access or time attendance product can work effectively in high traffic environments, we have a hit. Contactless, fast and reliable, sounds perfect but the next challenge is the pricing and when talking about competitiveness, who are the competitions? From our market research, some are offering solutions for governments and if we are talking commercial products, only a handful and most of them are offering bulky machines. It shouldn’t make us exhale our relief yet, as there are a lot to be done. The products are scheduled to be out this year-end but between now and the launch, it’s not at all a long time.

To our resellers who are reading this, tell me your opinion about face products. If you are interested, perhaps you could start doing some market research in your area and feedback me your findings. That’d be helpful for us to strategize on our marketing plan.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FingerTec 101

I was surprised to be informed that the failure rate of FingerTec products is almost 50% at one of our customer’s site, which was a very rare complaint. Sensing that something might have gone wrong, we planned a visit only to find out that most of the failed users were so afraid to place their fingers on the machine until they trembled. And some did not place the fingers properly and some placed their fingers very briefly until the system couldn’t response in time.
Placing a finger on a scanner sounds so simple; a no brainer could do it, argue many. Dealers always focus on installation, integration, training and commissioning on the administration side of the system; often times do not pay enough attention on users of the system. As long as the system is up and running, the users have no choice but to use it. Correct?
Not necessarily.

What? Now they wanna use fingerprint system in zoos?

Biometrics, though becoming popular in the industry, is still an alien to many. Biometrics doesn’t make sense to regular people, to Joe and Jane, unless they have done a bit of research or they have the need to get to know biometrics. Unlike punch card, biometrics is a novelty subject. This subject requires explanation to the general public. Some thought that this product is a mobile phone and I’m not making this up!
What goes through users’ minds when it comes to putting their fingers on the scanner? Human mind is uniquely powerful; human emotions could vary from one extreme to another. Could the machine burn my finger? Of course it could not or it wouldn’t pass any safety tests. But, in my opinion, the question is relevant. Not everyone is having an IQ of 100 and more; a bigger portion of the population has an IQ of less than that, which makes the question a valid one.
Trying a new gadget or a machine prompts excitement, apprehension and inquisition. All sorts of questions pop out. Could the system save my fingerprint details and use it for other things? Though FingerTec’s system is using algorithm to translate the fingerprint minutiae into strings of code, which ONLY can be used for the purpose it is intended to, the question is a definitely not wrong. Particularly when it involves foreign workers, like the one at the site, which we visited. It might seem ridiculous but they have reasons to feel what they felt. Would they use my fingerprint for harmful purpose? What if I’m late 10 minutes, would they accumulate the short time and cut my salary? All these are valid questions and need to be clarified.

New thing requires an introduction. And the same goes to the introduction of FingerTec to new users. Apart from performing the most effective enrollments to ensure successful verification, administration needs to EDUCATE users on how to use fingerprint machines, the facts and the fictions. Knowledge makes acceptance quicker and easier, and it also makes operation smoother. When people are in the know, everything becomes easier.
Hi-Tech Human Touch.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, June 22, 2009

Twittering Business

It’s amazing how people are craving for attention these days. Even rock stars cannot escape the current waves. I personally am following Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert (from afar that is). People all around the world want the world to know every little move that they make. “Just had a shower… putting on talcum under my arms..feels good”, “Looking at a cute chick passing by my lawn”, “Need to get my ear checked, I didn’t sound like Mariah Carey.” These are the type of ‘news’ people are spreading around and hoping to get a little tiny bit of attention from strangers from around the world.

At the same time, we bluntly tell other people, I’m interested to busybody about you, and thus, I am your follower/groupie. This is how the world is, now. Stalker might find their 'hobbies' easier. Post your whereabouts, post your picture, post your activities, post your worry, post every little tiny thought that you have online so people who are following (yes, you need followers) will know exactly how you run your daily life. Interesting… It’s unheard of in our forefather’s eras. If not, the world would be a different place. “Plan to coup d'état French tomorrow” Napoleon would Tweet. “Bye bye Anne Boleyn,” Henry VIII update would be on the day of execution.
A famous little robin bird named Twitter brings about this 'crazy' phenomenon.
Now everybody twitters. Regular guys, celebrities, politicians, comedians, doctors, lawyers, etc. Type in max 104 characters and send the message to let people know about you. “Having lamb shank with a hot date!”, “The post office is not opened yet. Bored waiting…” Basically type anything that floats your boat and make the world a more interesting place to stay.

Conan O' Brien guessing a word in celebrity's tweet post in 'beat that tweet'
Twitterville, full of twitpeeps, needs some businesses too. Dell made use of Twitter to rake sales from its 600,000 followers according to a report. Conan O’Brien has a segment called TwitterTracker in the Tonight’s Show, making fun of celebrities’ blabbering. Lindsay Lohan twitted her own topless photo to gain cheap publicity and E! has used the twitpost repeatedly to garner viewers.
Why is Twitter important in business? Apart from the entertainment value it has, customers can get updated instantly and therefore, get the best deals or the freshest news straight from the source.
We welcome our customers to become our followers in Twitter. Follow us @FingerTec at

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Biometrics Hazard: A Damaging Perception

Not so long ago, life began imitating movies. Tom Cruise opened doors with his eyes in Mission Impossible. Leo accessed the Situation Room with his palm in The West Wing. Retinal scan was used numerous times in Barb Wire. Voice recognitions are also featured in several movies. And geek watched those movies. Soon after, similar products were developed for government and commercial use. Following the development, commercial biometrics products were introduced to the market and since then, many companies sprouting the industry with biometrics technology ranging from fingerprint to voice to palm to face recognition to vein and etc. Unique body parts have been used in identity recognition and keys have becoming old news.

Everything was good and people welcome the futuristic invention until one day somebody’s mind starting to have a schizophrenic moment. What if the machine has radiation? Could I get cancer? What if somebody before me has an infectious disease, would I get it too if I touched the machine after him? Would I be prone to blindness if the machine read my eyes everyday? Could I miscarry if I used this machine?

It all started as an idea or a perception and after sometimes (plus words of unreliable mouths), the perception becomes ‘facts’ and worry seeps in. One user actually linked her miscarriage to the frequent use of biometrics machine, which was only installed at her office for a month. It’s human nature to put the blame to someone or something else; that’s understandable but to blame it on a machine is not the smart move at all. Another worker made up a story that biometrics machine could cause tumor and it scared the rest of the colleagues. It’s either that or they found a way to escape from using accurate time attendance machine that actually requires them to come to work punctually every day.
As a consumer, we have to be smart. Of course, health issue is not to be taken lightly. Nonetheless, to simply claim that a product is causing some serious diseases like cancer without any proofs is damaging to the business and the employing company.
When talking about contact with the scanner, we have to ask ourselves, how many times do we have contact with any surface daily? Toilet, desk, doors, people, keyboards, so on and so forth. The scanner surface is so small and the usage is not that frequent if it is used for time clocking. You need to contact the scanner more if it’s a door access, assuming that you go in and out of the office very often. Other than that, touching or contact with the scanner is minimal as compared to the other ‘unofficial’ contact daily. Another thing fact is, the light used in the scanner is only LED light and it does not emit radiation. Therefore, to irresponsibly claim that biometrics products are hazardous for human is simply preposterous.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

There is a huge difference between a fact and a perception. Perception does not necessarily become fact unless it’s supported by proofs. When we think that something is dangerous, it doesn’t make our perception right. This is a fact, “Biometrics have been used for 25 years with no health hazards and it’s non-invasive to human.” It’s simply because after 25 years, there’s no health case reported linking biometrics products to fatal diseases. Unless there’s an actual case or study to confirm danger of frequent biometrics products, we maintain that fingerprint products are safe for human use.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dare To Be Simple

We Make Things Easy!
IFSEC UK 2009 at the NEC Birmingham was massive. Being one of the largest security shows in the world; it definitely attracted many bigger players from around the world to partake. Earlier this year when Norbain pulled out, the news sent panic attacks to other participants who had confirmed their participations. Went against the grain, FingerTec booked after the news, taking advantage of the lower price offered during the economic downturn, hoping to secure European market. The shrinking of space in IFSEC this year was the evidence that the economy is limping. Nonetheless, not all players were pessimistic; those who carried on with the show, still made it a success for the industry.

Shall We Put On Heavy Make Up or Shall We Go Fresh & Bare?
I don’t have issues with companies with big budgets spending it on booth’s cosmetics. The better the booth’s make up, the better impression it conveys to visitors with an objective to secure more serious buyers. I believe that before any of them investing a lot of money for their booth’s cosmetics, they first have invested in research to confirm effectiveness of their proposed design. And perhaps it’s not a waste to spend some dough on feng shui’s masters as well.
FingerTec however, chose simplicity. Many were puzzled with our decision to be simple in exhibitions. “You should display more products”, one said. “You should have more technical posters,” the other suggested. “You should at least have an LCD TV installed,” another told. “Perhaps you could have two beautiful girls wearing less dress to greet your customers.” Thank you for all the suggestions but somehow we went with simple.

Thorough explanation on the brand value by the MD himself
In fact, we have a standard operating procedure “SOP” on how to make up our booth. First step, second, third and done! I’m joking though; we have like nine steps instead. Never in our intention to not taking any shows seriously. We take pride in all our participations. We simply need to be simple because we want to be consistent; we want to keep our value intact. We make things easy, remember?

Visitors Have Expectations
I also believe that if you were a buyer looking for a fingerprint system, you wouldn’t miss my booth. If you were not looking for a fingerprint system, you are not my target customers. At this junction, FingerTec is looking for small to medium sized enterprises to distribute our products and market our brand in their respective regions. And being simple at a show will not intimidate anybody. The important thing for us is to have a chance to explain to people who show interest, the concept of our marketing, and the value of our brands. Once we are done with our presentation, usually we will secure the orders through the third or fourth email communications.

IFSEC – A Gateway to Europe
It’s important to be in IFSEC. The presence of the brand is not only good for the UK market but also for other European countries. We have great potential clients from Switzerland, the Nederland, France, Czech Republic, Latvia, Spain, just to name a few. We secured sales from Denmark and from some companies in the UK. All in all IFSEC was a good show despite all the challenges and the simplicity of the booth.

With Dr Riyadh and wife from Iraq

With Prince and Theodora from Nigeria

Me, Mandy, Bob and Mr Teh
We also had the opportunity to meet our valued partners from around the world at IFSEC. We would like to convey our thank you to Bob Marshall from Video Marques, our reseller since 2007 for your kind hospitality. We thank Mr Faisal Kan, Managing Director of IPTEC, for keeping faith in FingerTec products. Thank you to Dr Riyadh and the wife for stopping by and for the special treat from Iraq. And last but not least, thank you to Ms Theodora and Mr Prince from Rapid Vigil from Nigeria for taking the time to visit our booth.

Strolling the city of Birmingham after work
Will you be seeing us again in Birmingham next year? A definite YES and please don’t expect any fancy booth because we dare to be simple in a massive show but rest assure that we will always find ways to improve on our simplicity to attract lot more customers, and no, we are not going to hire girls with less dress. I can see Bob is making sad face..

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, May 4, 2009

Asian Culture in Business

We might not be as casual as Google or having a cool boss like Richard Branson (sorry boss, you are not into daredevil activities) but we do have our own culture, which makes FingerTec the best place to work, at least in my opinion. When I started working some 12 years ago, people told me that if you like the toilet, you will work long in that company. Guess what? I have been working at FingerTec close to nine years. Current renovation of the toilet foresees my career in FingerTec for another 10.
Truth be told, Asians have a lot of qualities desired by Westerners. We are warm people, the women are obedient as compared to the same gender from the West perhaps most of our men too :-), we are (kind of) busy body where we like to know what happen to others and prefer to help if they need help and we have the ‘it’s okay’ attitude in many circumstances. In other words, we don’t really sweat small stuff. When the same attitudes are applied to the workplace, we can only make our customers happy.
I recalled one customer who bought cartons of FingerTec products and on top of that order he asked us to source for him a baby stroller. While most of ‘professional’ companies would not even consider, we included the said stroller along with his consignment. It didn’t make us less professional, only a little closer to the heart of our client. When a customer wants us to separate his order into cartons of different items instead of the readily packed products, we obeyed. A bit more tasks on our side but it’s okay. At the end of the day, the objective is to make our customers happy. When a customer asked for a favor to get for his son a birthday present that can be sourced at a better price in Malaysia, we said we try and we did.

The management also borrows the motto of Google, “Don’t be evil” to stress the importance of being nice, not only to clients but also to colleagues and competitors. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, some said. And I couldn’t agree more. An evil staff can influence other staff to be slackers, an evil staff can damage the image of a brand and an evil staff can spill the beans to competitors without having any remorse.
We do have some problems and crisis to attend to along the way but we don’t sweat small stuff, we help as much as we could and we don’t act evil. That is the best recipe to get us through the days.
Recently, the company employs an internal auditor to make our work more systematic. Not that we don’t have systems but his job is to make our current systems more methodical. He is astounded by our flexibility and right now is trying his very best to make us “professional”.
But the question is, how business do we want to be when it comes to dealing with our clients? A few things to be noted are, we are not lenient when payment is concerned; we are kiasu* (check footnote) Asians. We don’t want to be taken for granted just because we love to assist; we are sensitive people. We hate false promises; so do other people around the world. The challenge for us is to offer a business that is professionally conducted but accommodating to the needs of our clients.
And we believe FingerTec can because we always want to make things easy and we try to solve it all for you, our valued customers.
I will be in IFSEC next week. See you in Birmingham at Hall 4E, Booth 152.
*Kiasu - Hokkien adjective literally meaning, "afraid of losing".

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Change of System or A System of Change

Change is not as easy as it sounds. To change, one needs to have a desire to change and he has to work towards the change. Unwelcome change would definitely face resistance; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a huge or a baby-step change.

To change a clocking system from a normal card system to a fingerprint system is not a mere change of system, it’s a change of attitude.
Card system has ‘flexibility’ in the sense that you don’t have to always be you. Your buddy can act as you and nobody knows. Just give your card and maybe your password to him and you are ‘present’, you are there.

But for a fingerprint system, there’s no exception. The machine doesn’t accept your buddy’s fingerprint to claim it’s yours. It’s not so ‘user-friendly’ in that sense. So, the pressure is on for those who are not punctual or I would like call them “time-cheater”.

Therefore, to change a clocking system to a fingerprint system would face a certain degree of resistance from the time-cheater. It might cause uneasiness to some but at the same time it can also causing havoc and starting damaging rumors and false claims about the fingerprint system just to NOT using it.

Fingerprint Causing Cancer?
So does chocolate. So does deodorant. So does talcum. So does your enemy. That, if you believed everything you read was true. Believe doesn’t make things become true. I believe that my cat can talk, and she actually calls me ‘mommy’.

In an effort to tarnish the credibility of fingerprint system so that they can continue to slacken in their time discipline at the office, some irresponsible parties have claimed that fingerprint system is causing cancer.

A fingerprint system doesn’t radiate any kind of ray except LED light, which has been proven to be harmless to human. And FingerTec systems are CE and FCC certified, again to prove that the products are safe to be used by human beings.
But again, we don’t have to defend ourselves from the false claims by these lazy people because at the end of the day, their intentions were truly selfish.

FingerTec System Causing A Change In Attitude

When you-are-you concept was introduced more than 5 years ago, identity verification was taken to another level by biometrics. The presence of fingerprint verification data is important to prove presence in attendance system and to access certain spaces. Nobody can say he came but no data recorded or claimed that he was not there when his fingerprint data was present.

If this wouldn’t cause you to change attitude towards better time management, what would?

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, March 2, 2009

Because Complexity Never Made Anyone Feel Good

Even definition of complexity is very difficult to define. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary version 2000, complexity / noun 1 [U] the state of being informed of many parts; the state of being difficult to understand 2 (complexities) [pl.] the features of a problem or situation that are difficult to understand. The word complexity originated from Latin word complexus, which signifies entwined, twisted together.

I was introduced to the term fingerprint technology the same year that I bought the dictionary and the year I joined FingerTec Worldwide. Complex and alien words such as algorithm, minutiae points, biometrics, capacitance, and bifurcation were added to my vocabulary.

Minutiae or the points of interest in a fingerprint have 3 significant features. First is known as a ridge, basically a line on a fingerprint. It’s important to determine where these lines end, referred to as ridge endings. Second, if a ridge split, the feature is known as bifurcation, and ridges split in many places and at random. The third important feature on minutiae is a dot or a short ridge.

Combinations of these minutia features make up the uniqueness of fingerprints. And this is just the beginning of a fingerprint story. When algorithm, a set of finite mathematical formula becomes a crucial factor in its technology, the complexity of fingerprint technology intensified. Capacitance has passive and active, optical vs ultrasonic, ultrasonic has to use piezoelectric transducers, etc. While the topic of fingerprint technology might excite scientists and engineers, it is definitely not a cup of tea for the common technologically challenge people who are more interested in merely using the technology and to the business people who are more focused on how they could make money out of this technology.

The solid algorithm for fingerprint technology cannot be compromised in anyway in any kinds of fingerprint technology neither for criminal identification nor for commercial fingerprint. That’s default. However, the complexity of the technology shouldn’t be imposed on customers during the marketing of fingerprint technology products.

We tried that in the first few years of FingerTec business. Talking to customers like we were highly qualified scientists trying to sell them high-technology time machine. We explained to customers how the technology works, how the matching is done, even taught them about fingerprint through magnifying glass.
The question is, do customers interested to know how technology works? Let me give you an example. You pick up a mobile, you dial a legitimate number and it connects you to a recipient. You can hear his voice and you can talk for long until the battery or the credit finishes, whichever comes earlier. But did the salesman who sold you the mobile phone tell you how your voice could be transferred from one phone to the exact person you called? Did he explain to you the components that capture the signal emitted by your mobile? That’s what I’m getting at. Consumers do not need to know the details of the technology.

What matter to them are, the technology should solve their problems, the technology should come affordable and the technology should not come with a set of new problems to worsen their constant headache.

People despise complexity. The only complex that people like, and I’m talking about common people is shopping complex, and that’s maybe only true for women. That’s the reason why Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef is so popular. That explains why For Dummies and The Complete Idiot’s Guide To titles flooded bookstores around the world. And also why many people fail math and science.

In any marketing activities, which target customers, boost on system’s simplicity, instill the idea of “we solves it all” for you instead of we sell you inventive high technology products which are new and perhaps you are the only one in the world who has it. Customers need to be convinced about efficiency of the system. They don’t need to know how the plane flies but what matters to them is the plane gets them to the destination. They don’t need to know how capable the pilot is because that’s the responsibility of the airlines.

Don’t get intimidated by brands, which boast on their high technologies, it doesn’t really matter to the consumers. Get to the heart of the customers, telling them we care. Like LG says it, Life’s Good with LG. Like Nokia who keeps on connecting people. At FingerTec, we solves it all.
And in attempts not to burden them with explanation about the technology, we shouldn’t burden them with substandard quality of products and services. In short, we have to be true to our marketing promise of making things easy for customers.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We Invented Time Machine

Time is precious. I learnt this later in life when I found myself having not enough time to spend at my own leisure. The brutal fact is, everybody gets 24-hours a day. No one in this world gets more, neither Britney Spears nor Courtney Love. You can’t pray to God and ask for an extra 3 hours in the first week of next month. You just don’t get more. Period. And, it’s totally up to an individual to use hours he gets in his life to make it worthwhile. But at the same time, why did some people achieve more and others did less? Interesting.

Who discovered time?
Time wasn’t an issue in the older days; clocks were merely accessories. Time becomes important when each hour equals dollars and cents. Time becomes vital when companies decided to be calculative; when words like productivity, discipline, and man-hours meant something. In the older days people who did not use the time wisely were just referred to as lazy.

People Did Invent Time Machine
To actually time people, a punch card machine was introduced. Every staff was given a card to time his working hour. There was even a song made about punch card sung by the late Sudirman, which went like this in my translated version. “People were hustling and bustling to get into the office on time. Punch card! You gotta be hurry! Punch card! You gotta be hurry!” I was in primary school at that time and though I didn’t really understand what was a punch card, the melody was catchy. I’m not pulling your leg! A SONG was made about punch card!
When I was serving a government agency 12 years back, my days went in slow motions. They were like Keanu Reeve’s Matrix moments every day except when I had to catch a bus for a ride home. Work finished at 430pm but at 3pm everybody was restless to leave the office. At 4pm, there were some fellows already lined up in front of the punch card machine to make sure a constant 430 for a month on the card.

I could have used some of those times now, if possible, to do some of the things I needed done.

Implementations of the punch card were good until one fine day a ‘brilliant’ employee had an idea to ask his colleague to punch the card for him while he went to watch a movie with his girlfriend. “Buddy-punching” term was created, the meaning spread around and everybody was relieved to discover that the system had flaw. And that was when the resellers of punch card knew that their days were numbered.

Well, not exactly like 10,9, 8, 7, 6 kinda count down. It took the people in the industry years to still be doing cards like proximity and smart card, but when biometrics technique like fingerprint was introduced for office automation, the real thing has arrived. Sorry-dear-friend, I-can’t-help- to-punch-your-time-no-more scenario plagues the offices.

Unfortunately, no song was made this time.

I got a bad news from a friend in USA recently. She told me that its either a pay cut or a job cut for her. She doesn’t really mind a pay cut but what about if the worst happened. In difficult times like this, purse strings are pulled tightly; every cent going out and coming in counts, and everybody realizes he has a Dutch in him.
And Time Machine Becomes SophisticatedIn times like this, an employee wishes she could have practiced more discipline. In times like this, an employer wishes he/she some kind of indicator about how a fellow staff uses his time.

Fingerprint system for time attendance is not about benefiting employer only; it works to the best of both sides. Automated reports generated by fingerprint readers counted hours more honestly than before. Employee has honest records to show his performance and employer has honest records of his employees. And honesty is STILL the best policy!

Time matters. When work hours equal pay and when hours work equals performance, time is a necessity. And by writing this, I spent many minutes of my time not watching my favorite American Idol. Thank God for reruns.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What’s Name Got To Do With It?

(Photo taken from

Whoever says that choosing a brand name for a product is not THAT crucial to the business needs a brain check. I’m serious. As I was watching Australian Open a week ago I kept seeing the logo of Nike, which was correct all the time. The name is simple yet unique, hard to copy. The closest I can think of is Hike or and it still doesn’t sound close to Nike. My father used to have a pair of Abibas sandal and I thought that was hilarious. Virgin is another example of a good name; applicable to various industries and at the same time oozes innocence, truth, and pure vibe to even saying the brand name. A name creates energy around your products, it basically determines the destiny of your products, it has the power to move or to remove your products from the market.

FingerTec came about in 2000. To some people in the industry, it’s not deep but at the same time they are kicking themselves in the head for not thinking of that name earlier. It’s a good name for what we do. Finger Technology – FingerTec; it could be a generic name for fingerprint system like Colgate for toothpaste and Google for the Search Engine. When I was in India, my reseller informed ma that someone was using FingerTec name to sell his other brand’s fingerprint system. My dealer made a call to his office. “Hi Sir! Are you selling FingerTec?” in which the culprit replied him nonchalantly, “Yes, we are Sir. FingerTec we have many and we sell at a very reasonable price.” “But Sir, we are the exclusive distributor of FingerTec in India and we didn’t know you exist” “Don’t get me wrong, I am selling Finger technology, FingerTec! My brand name is XXX. Are you interested?” “But Sir, your advertisement mentioned FingerTec instead of your brand!” “I mean finger technology! Finger technology! FingerTec! &*^%*”

Apple is an extremely good name. For those who made fun of Gywneth have to first see the history of an apple. It’s innocently inviting yet dangerously cursed in the story of Adam and Eve, the same plot retold in the Sleeping Beauty, an alluring products with dangerously huge potentials in the computer and electronic market when it comes to Apple, the brand. Apple is indeed a good name!

FingerTec for fingerprint product is a match made in heaven. However, there’s also a hurdle when it comes to diversification. The name FingerTec is a little bit off for iris technology, palm, voice, cards and cameras for example. So, shall we name our new product line Pomegranate or Papaya?

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hopeful 2009

The economy hasn’t made any sign of recovery at the time I’m writing this article. America, while it is hopeful with the change who leads the nation, still is lingered with doubts on the future of the country in terms of economy. Russia is blanketed with questions on how they would recover the credit crunch crisis that leaves many hardworking citizens unemployed. Britain is broke and so are many other countries. Tensions and conflicts continue to worsen around the world, fueled by India-Pakistan crisis which has escalated to a new level of warning following the attacks in Mumbai; Bangkok’s politic remains unpredictable despite democratic selection of the Prime Minister, attacks in Gaza divides the world. It’s indeed melodramatic to keep on singing the poignant tunes. Nonetheless, to remain in business, a certain level of optimism must be preserved. How’s the world faring for us in 2009, I would like to offer my perspective.

Close to Home, Closer to the Heart

South East Asia is a small, yet very relevant region to FingerTec. Credit crunch crisis might have affected some countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore more severely than the rest due to plummeting of local currencies against the US Dollar; however demands for security products remain positive from the consumer market, as security is still the major concern of businesses. For example, In Malaysia, tax incentive is proposed for security control equipments in 2009, encouraging businesses to put focus on security at the workplace. As promising the market sounds, resellers have to take most of the beatings, managing cash flow to keep the company going, constant haggling for cheaper price with suppliers, at the same time facing the risk of customer pull out at any attempts to increase retail price.

FingerTec has to remain hopeful in the South East Asia with carefully strategize marketing plan in Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest markets of FingerTec in this region. On January 15, FingerTec Worldwide in collaboration with CV Retailindo Tech will organize TA100 DIY product launching in Jakarta, targeting smaller offices, which prefer hardware without software complexity. The new founded partnership with Silver Seas rekindles FingerTec’s hope in Vietnam which had been kept in view in the last two years. India is a constant struggle with pricing in order for us to remain relevant in the market that is filled with cheaper goods and mediocre support. Compax is fighting for a space for FingerTec in this tough and price sensitive market.

Don’t Make War, Make Money

The love hate relationship between the Middle East and the West doesn’t affect us that much or at all. We hails the Middle East for all different reasons, the business is abundance from this part of the world for FingerTec. Grey marketing remains one of the biggest challenges because apparently the middle easterners are friendlier with their neighboring countries and business moves freely between them across borders, and the fact remains that they know about one another pretty well. Exclusivity in distributorship while on the one hand comforting to both agreed parties, on the other it could spell insignificant tie if parallel importers remained a problem in this region. FingerTec will be showcased in Comex, Mashahad Iran by our partner Toos Anis this January and concurrently we will stage a joint exhibition with Seven Seas, our partner in Dubai at the Intersec, Dubai. FingerTec has made progress in Bangladesh and Pakistan with appointments of new exclusive resellers comprising of Mushko and General Automation that are experienced in the field. FingerTec in Jordan is thriving with assistance from Euro Jordan and we are doing good Kuwait with the push from ITDelta. Rebuilding of Iraq spells good business for FingerTec and requests keep coming from the Middle East for FingerTec due to our localization strategy. Our marketing materials pay attention to the sensitivity of Middle Eastern people; we introduce the picture of a covered Muslim woman instead of the sleeveless FingerTec girl. Mr Benacer Douadi ( is making contact with the Arabs using Arabic language and he speaks French with people from North Africa. Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa have done a great job in making FingerTec popular in their respective countries, and with the support from FingerTec, we could do so much more in 2009 in terms of showcasing the products to a larger audience through exhibitions, advertisements and strategic position of FingerTec products in Africa.
All is Not Lost with Extra Efforts and Plenty of Hope

FingerTec is still finding its way to capture the market of the USA, Europe and Russia. All of them are badly hit by the economic downturn. America & Russia are having no money to spend and everything in Europe is getting pricier; still our hopes are not dampened. In March, our team will fly to Moscow for MIPS 2009 hoping to get some business from this Putin country, in May we will participate in IFSEC UK and in July we will head to Miami to attend America’s Fire and Security Show. Mr Batyr Komurzoev (, FingerTec in charge person of the CIS countries realizes that his tasks are not a walk in the park. Extra efforts are required to connect with the right partner while strategizing on the brand presence over the Internet, in Russian.

Ha sido un buen año, gracias a Dios

FingerTec had salsa and samba in Latin America in 2008 and the music gets saucier in 2009. Mexico and El Salvador maintain positions as two of our largest players in Latin American continent. Sales in Ecuador, Venezuela, Angola, Nicaragua, Peru, Argentina is picking up and requests from other countries are being closely monitored. Spanish language localization has been proven effective and Ms Regielou Rolloque ( is busy building rapport between FingerTec and the clients from the continent. GM Robotic of Mexico will participate in Expo Seguridad México 2009, which will showcase FingerTec in April. Our team will head to Brasil for Exposec 2009 in Sao Paulo, looking for opportunity in the largest country in South America.

And, me and the team are all geared up for the challenge of 2009.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ