Last Week, I was talking to a large government client who wanted to use a fingerprint SDK developed by a fingerprint scanner manufacturer. Based on their project requirements I advised them against it. They came to me saying that the manufacturer is willing to provide them the API free of cost and it works with the fingerprint scanner they want to use. Why should they go for a paid biometric SDK when the free one does the job. Fair enough. Our goal is to ensure that the client gets the best possible Biometric tools at the best possible price. Wherever we can save money for the client without compromising on quality we would be eager to do that.
This is a very good question and it brings us to our today’s blog. Should you go for a SDK provided by fingerprint scanner manufacturers?
Fingerprint SDK developed by scanner manufacturers
These are usually available at a very low cost. The main selling factor for these SDKs is the price. Most of them do not have any license cost. For example the Suprema SDK will cost you a one time fee of about $550. Sounds very lucrative right?
Drawbacks of using these SDKs
Limited fingerprint scanners support
The manufacturer APIs only work with Manufacturer’s fingerprint scanners. For example the Futronic SDK will only work with fingerprint scanners manufactured by Futronic. Let’s say that today you are happy with these scanners and services provided by the manufacturer and you decide to go for a manufacturer SDK. After few years if you want to use some other scanner example Secugen Hamster Plus. You are stuck! You would have to rewrite your application using either a 3rd party SDK or Secugen’s SDK.
Template stored in Proprietary format
Can there be anything worst than this. Yes!! Most Manufacturer’s SDKs store fingerprint Templates in a proprietary format. These proprietary templates will not work with any other fingerprint algorithm. Hence the biometric database that you have created will be of no use and you will have to re-register all the users again.
Speed & Accuracy
Another major drawback of manufacturer’s fingerprint Software Development Kit is the speed and Accuracy of their algorithm. The fingerprint sdk developed by the fingerprint scanner manufacturers are slow and not very accurate. Hence the Equal error rate, false acceptance rate & false rejection rates are high. It is not suitable for 1: N fingerprint matching.
Lack of Sample code
Not only do these fingerprint SDKs do not come with enough sample code but they also do not support too many programming languages. Hence system integrators end up spending lots of amount of time, money and resources in developing and maintaining their code.