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Proof of Presence: Primer on Bar Codes, QR Codes and Secure - NFC

If you’ve ever had to use bar codes or QR codes for proof of presence applications, you will know that they can be easily copied which completely undermines their usefulness for this type of activity. Proof of presence applications include security patrols, the regular maintenance of health and safety equipment and safeguarding assets as well as lone-workers.

Copying a barcode/QR code is just as simple as taking a photo of the code which can be stored and then replicated for use later. When this happens there is no way of knowing whether proof of presence report is authentic or not. Proof of presence disciplines are often focussed on the protection of colleagues, contractors and customers so false readings are not a matter to be taken lightly. A service engineer for example could submit a proof of service report using a previously photographed barcode or QR code and their client would have no way of knowing if it was a genuine service visit or not. If the bogus service visit had been intended to maintain elevators, fire safety equipment or ventilation systems then people’s safety is put at significant risk.

Alongside these systems, a similar problem exists with standard NFC tags, which can also be copied with a little bit of knowledge. Without giving away the trick here, simply google “replicate NFC” to learn how to defeat standard NFC.

This lack of certainty is a huge headache for senior business leaders/managers that all rely on absolute proof of presence data in order to sign-off on their health and safety obligations on behalf of colleague’s contractors and customers. Put simply, barcode/QR code/standard NFC systems simply do not give senior business leaders/managers the reassurance that the health and safety processes they oversee are compliant.

MyTAG software, in conjunction with Secure - NFC Tags, resolves this problem. When Secure - NFC Tag is tapped with an NFC enabled mobile device, MyTAG sends a unique code to the server, verifying that the tag is genuine, at the same time providing an authenticated notification on the smartphones, tablets or P.C’s of system users. An additional layer of security is also provided by geo-tracking the mobile device, validating that the tag was tapped it was in the expected location.

Secure - NFC Tags can therefore be used to absolutely prove the presence of a person at a specific location at given time. By tapping a tag, users can also access documents and respond to live audit questionnaires as well as submit real-time incident reports and photos. The MyTAG system allows the Secure - NFC Tags to become a valuable source of information for service engineers, auditors and security personnel, as well as allowing for two-way communication from the tag location to helpdesks, colleagues and clients.

Part Two of this Blog Series discusses using Secure - NFC for Trusted HID Cards. Read here.

Mike George, Director and Founder: MyTag

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