AN Irish software firm has brought the traditional school attendance register into the computer age.
Two schools have already adopted the latest face-recognition technology to monitor attendance and timekeeping among thousands of pupils, and other schools are planning to introduce the system from September.
Students simply look at a device when they arrive at school and, within seconds, they are scanned, identified and their attendance is registered.
It saves hours of teachers' time recording attendance and 'lates', and provides an at-a-glance record of who's in and who's out.
It also makes it easy to track poor attendance or lateness patterns, which would allow for early intervention to nip a problem in the bud.
And it overcomes the so-called 'buddy punching' problem, where a student can make a false registration by swiping in someone else's card.
Templeogue College in south Dublin has become the first school here to use the system to track attendance and timekeeping among its 700 pupils.
It has also been installed in Ardscoil Ris, Limerick, in recent weeks and a number of other schools are planning to use it from September.
The Anseo Enterprise system has been created by the Co Kerry software company, Ivertec, specialising in educational products and costs an average of about €15 per pupil.
Face-recognition software is now widely used as an ID system, but this is the first time it has been adopted by schools in this country.
VISA launching ‘digital wallet’ for U.S. banksNEW YORK (Reuters) - Visa Inc, the world's largest credit and debit card processing network, is building a digital wallet that people can use to pay for things online or with their phones instead of with traditional cards.
The network said on Wednesday it is working with several large U.S. and international banks to develop the wallet. Its partners include US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Regions Financial, BB&T Corp, Toronto Dominion's TD Bank and the U.S. arm of Barclays PLC.
The "digital wallet" will store the banks' customers' credit and debit card account information, both for Visa cards and other cards. People can use the wallet to pay for things online or in stores, Visa said.
The network will also have to convince merchants to put a new "one-click" button on their websites, so that potential customers can use their Visa digital wallets to buy things by clicking the button instead of by manually entering all of their account information every time they want to make an online purchase.
Banks, mobile phone operators and networks like Visa are all trying to gain a foothold in the small but high-potential market for U.S. mobile payments. Last week Isis, a separate mobile payments venture run by three of the top four U.S. carriers, said it had modified its initial goals and was now open to working with Visa and MasterCard as it introduces its own mobile wallet.
Jim McCarthy, Visa's head of global products, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that mobile payments in the United States "will more easily take off" from people using their smartphones' browsers to buy things online.
But Visa and its rivals, including MasterCard Inc, American Express Co and Discover Financial Services, are also trying to figure out ways for people to buy things with their phones in physical stores. McCarthy said that a previous, separate Visa pilot to test smartphone payments with Bank of America Corp and other large U.S. banks will be commercially available this summer.
Visa will roll out the digital wallet in the United States and Canada in fall of 2011. McCarthy would not discuss revenue projections