Employers are on Cloud Nine After Adopting ZKTeco’s CirrusDCS

Organizations now expect connectivity and flexibility from their enterprise hardware and software systems. Hardware devices must connect seamlessly and offer flexible configuration options with simple scalability.

ZKTeco’s CirrusDCS middleware solution was built with these needs in mind. CirrusDCS allows your organization to connect your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution with timeclock devices that can be installed wherever your organization requires. Whether you have a single timeclock or your organization has a global footprint with hundreds of timeclocks in multiple time zones, CirrusDCS is able to seamlessly connect your systems.

Your Employees Connected from Anywhere

Preconfigured ZKTeco timeclock devices can be installed anywhere there is an internet connection and a power source. Once the device is powered-up, the CirrusDCS middleware can instantly connect with your organization’s ERP solution. There is no additional software to download or on-site configuration required, saving your organization time and money.

Critical employee information including name, badge number, employee ID, and demographics data, such as preferred language, can flow from your ERP solution to the timeclock via the CirrusDCS. As employees record punches on the timeclock device, the CirrusDCS validates the punch data and securely transfers the punch data directly to the central ERP solution. CirrusDCS simplifies the time and attendance process, reducing administrative costs and payroll errors.

Built on the market-leading AWS platform and in compliance with all leading security certifications and requirements, CirrusDCS keeps your organization and employee data secure at all times. CirrusDCS is the flexible, secure, streamlined, cloud-based middleware your organization needs to meet the demands of today’s workplace.

Remote, Centralized Management

The CirrusDCS middleware can be managed remotely via an easy-to-use web portal, simplifying your organization’s time keeping infrastructure. This means that a single person in one location can managing, maintain, update and configure time clocks remotely.

Employee Self-Service

CirrusDCS offers employees a streamlined, all-in-one time and labor data collection portal via bidirectional data flow between an organization’s ERP solution and timeclock devices. The allows employees to punch in and out and also view their work schedules and submit requests for schedule changes, request time off or view their leave/ time-off accrual information. The CirrusDCS enables organizations to utilize an ERP solution’s rounding rules to simplify the time punch process and reduce compliance issues. Finally, configurable employee attestation solutions are a powerful way to meet compliance requirements. Custom questionnaires on the time clocks capture your employee’s confirmation for meal and rest breaks, hours worked, timecard approval, injuries and more when they clock out for the day and the CirrusDCS transfers this data directly into your ERP solution.

ZKTeco is Your Partner

ZKTeco provides your organization with support during the installation and use of the CirrusDCS and timeclock devices. CirrusDCS and ZKTeco’s flexible and configurable timeclock devices are designed to meet the flexibility needs required in today’s workplace and ZKTeco is your partner in designing a system specifically for your organization. We stand ready to build the right employee time keeping solution to meet those needs.

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How Rounding Rules Can Save Your Organization Time and Money

Employee shift differential and overtime expenses are challenging for organizations of all sizes to anticipate or identify because the differentials do not jump off the page. Rather, it is that accumulation of punch time differentials that cause the biggest problems and cost the organization the most money. Using time rounding rules can help organizations prevent unexpected expenses and headaches.

Avoid Clock Creep

Shifts might have designated end times, but often an employee’s work may not. It is common in many organizations for an employee to clock out after their shift has ended, which tacks on time to their time worked. This may only be a few minutes each day, but cumulatively, this can add up to meaningful amounts of time that require paying overtime or trigger other requirements. This “clock creep” can be costly for businesses and result in unexpected budget impact.

Integrating ZKTeco’s Ultima device with your organization’s Human Capital Management system (HCM) can help to avoid clock creep by using rounding rules for time punches falling outside of the employee’s scheduled shift. For example, if an employee’s shift ends at 5:00PM, but she clocks out at 5:03, Ultima’s rounding rule function will record the punch out time as 5:00 if there is a rounding rule that records time in fifteen minute increments and defaults back to the prior quarter hour. Ultima will then push the rounded time to the HCM.

Rounding rules can be applied individually to all punch types. These rules are also customizable to a specific organization’s policies and labor law requirements.

Simplify Payroll and HR Processes

Rounding rules help Human Resources (HR) teams avoid the time-intensive work required to verify punch times to avoid clock creep. This results in more efficient payroll processes. This also enables HR professionals to identify real issues, such as unapproved or excessive overtime, which may require attention. By surfacing real time punch issues, HR professionals will be better equipped to remedy issues and avoid significant budget issues down the line.

Further, because the review process will be less intensive, HR can enlist people managers to help identify punch time anomalies and work with their team members to resolve the issue.

Simple Solutions to Avoid Complex Problems

Implementing rounding rules can help an organization better manage their employees time and avoiding unexpected or unintentional budget or employment law compliance issues. Clock creep impacts businesses of all sizes and of all types. Utilizing the Ultima timeclock’s rounding rules function, in combination with your HCM’s shift scheduling process, can help to avoid clock creep and headaches and issues that come with it.

Posted by Editor in Future, New Normal

Say Goodbye Paper Visitor Logs and Protect Your Facility

Say Goodbye Paper Visitor Logs and Protect Your Facility - Visitor Check-in Made Easy

We are proud to announce the addition of a visitor management module to our market-leading Ultima device. This new module allows visitors to sign-into your facility with the same Ultima device that your employees use to record their time punches. By integrating visitor management into the Ultima timeclock device, organizations can leverage Ultima’s many technical features and user-friendly interface in a new and business-critical way.

A Simple Process for Visitors and Facility Administrators

The Ultima device is simple for visitors to use, providing easy to follow prompts, guiding them through the check-in process without the need for assistance. Here is an example of a typical visitor’s check-in experience:

  • The visitor will check-in on the Ultima device by providing personal information and will indicate the person the visitor is there to see.
  • Next, the visitor will be asked a series of attestation questions. This attestation feature can be used to ask COVID-19-related questions and to gather information required by state and local health authorities.
  • The Ultima device will then record the visitor’s body temperature using Ultima’s built-in thermal camera and, if enabled, take a still-image snapshot of the visitor for identification purposes.
  • When the visitor check-in process is completed, a Red Flag alert will be sent to up to three personnel within your organization if the visitor’s attestation responses or body temperature reading indicate that there is an issue and the visitor should not be allowed into the facility (e.g., the visitor has a fever or indicates a recent potential exposure to COVID-19)

Many Useful Features, One Powerful Device

As this example illustrates, the visitor module is easy to use. But because every business has different requirements, the module is designed with many customizable features.

Thermal Module: Ultima’s thermal module will read a visitor’s body temperature and indicate whether that temperate is within an acceptable temperature range. If the visitor’s temperature falls outside of that range, a warning will be triggered. This module works with Ultima’s mask recognition functionality, which does not require removing a face mask.

Attestation Questions: The visitor module can be configured to ask visitors attestation questions to gather critical wellness information or other information from visitors to your facility. All of this information can be stored for future reference, (e.g., for contract tracing) or passed on to a third party system (e.g., an Amazon S3 bucket).

Photographs for Security: Ultima is equipped with a camera which can be used to capture a visitor’s image for security purposes. The visitor’s image is linked to other data collected during the check-in process and can be stored for future reference and identification purposes.

Notifications: Ultima can be configured to send a Red Flag warning notification to three individuals within the organization based on how a visitor answers attestation questions or if a body temperature reading indicates a visitor has a fever. This notification can be customized to include the visitor’s answers to the attestation questions, temperature data, and photograph, providing facility managers with critical information in real time.

Data Storage: Ultima can store visitor records, including attestation question answers and temperature data. Because temperature information may be considered health information under HIPPA, the visitor module can also be configured to provide a temperature reading for compliance purposes, but not store the visitor’s temperature information.

Configuration Menus: With all of these available features, Ultima’s administrative menus are designed to make configuration easy. Administrators can choose from many optional features in an easy-to-navigate set of menus to customize their solution, as needed

By integrating visitor management into the Ultima device, organizations can simplify and streamline workforce data management and visitor management into one versatile device and leverage Ultima’s many technical, integration, and installation options. Visitor management has become more complicated and business-critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speak with a ZKTeco representative today about how the Ultima visitor management system can work for your organization.

Posted by Editor in Future, New Normal

Making Connections – Timeclock Devices Every IT Professional Will Love

Choosing a timeclock device for your business can be complicated. Between devices features, connectivity capabilities, software integration, security, installation options, there is a lot to consider. For IT professionals, identifying a timeclock device that easily integrates into your existing network is a high priority. ZKTeco’s Ultima Series time and attendance terminals are designed to provide all the features your users need with the technical elements required to safely and easily integrate with your existing systems.

Here, there, everywhere

The Ultima devices offer a number of connectivity and power options that make installation in your business easy and requires minimal preparation. All devices run ZKTeco’s SaaS CirrusDCS middleware hosted service to collect employee punch data. To connect to the CirrusDCS, devices must be on your business’s internet network. To provide connection options, all Ultima devices are equipped with both an ethernet port compatible that work with Cat5 or Cat6 ethernet cables and WiFi capabilities and can be used effectively with either connection method.

Location, Location, Location

Powering your timeclock device and connecting to the business’s IT networks are oftentimes the most important considerations in determining the location for installing the device in your facility. In addition to internet connectivity options, Ultima devices are PoE-capable, providing another option for powering your device. If your business uses a PoE switch, connecting the Ultima device will require just one hard wire connection, keeping installation simple and allowing for flexibility with where you site the device.

Securing Employee Data

Data security and privacy are a top concern when handling employee data, especially when handling employee biometric data. Employee time punch data remains secure as it moves from the timeclock device through the CirrusDCS to WorkDay or whatever third-party software your business runs. The Ultima timeclock is compliant with all data safety and security protocols, so you never need to worry about the safety of your employees’ data.

Connect from Anywhere

The Ultima timeclock device is designed with maximum flexibility in mind and this is true with the device’s Android-based operating system, CirrusDCS. The CirrusDCS middleware SaaS application can connect to any third-party workforce management software through the CirrusDCS API. This means that your business can install the Ultima device anywhere in the world and still connect seamlessly with your workforce management system. Many customers utilize Ultima’s flexibility and connectivity options to manage their teams across the globe.

The Ultima timeclock device has the features and flexibility your business needs and can help simplify the timeclock procurement process. Ultima has the features your business needs and the technical options your IT team requires. Whether you are a small business with one location, medical facility with a complex IT network, or a large business with facilities in multiple countries, ZKTeco’s Ultima timeclock is the custom solution you need to help you manage your employees.

Posted by Editor in Future

Attestation for Risk Management

Workplace and employment laws place a heavy burden on employers. The risk posed by non-compliance with ever-changing laws and regulations governing wages and hours, workplace safety, healthcare and more, is significant. Beyond laws and regulations, employers often must abide by employee or union contracts and other internal employment requirements. Violating these laws, regulations, or contracts can result in penalties from the government or union and also law suits from your employees.

Manage internal compliance by using your organization’s time and attendance system attestation module. The attestation module allows employers to ask employees questions and can be used in any number of different ways. For example, employers may ask questions to verify the information in the employee’s time card, inquire about issues that may have occurred during the employee’s work day, and confirm an employee’s health.

These questions are asked in real-time and logged with essential time-stamp information. The contemporaneous attestation can be a vital piece of information that can help your business manage risk through identifying issues early and providing your management team time to remedy the problem. Since every employee must interact with the time and attendance device, this is a way to gather information from all employees on a consistent basis.

Case Study:

Here is a short example of how attestation can use a simple question to avoid a potential violation:

An employee returns from the lunch break and uses the ZKTeco Ultima device to punch back in. As the employee punches in, a question pops up asking

“Did your supervisor ask you to come back early from your break?”.

This seems to be a pretty innocuous question but there are important implications related to how many hours the employee is working, required breaks, etc.

If the employee selects “Yes, I was asked by my supervisor to return early”, the entry will be flagged and the CirrusDCS administrator or the employee’s supervisor will be able to audit the punch and attestation and determine what remedy should be applied, e.g., provide the employee with overtime.

Implementing an Attestation Questionnaire

ZKTeco’s Ultima timeclock device makes it easy to add attestation questions to your organization’s timekeeping process. The attestation module is dynamic, offering independent attestation for one-off questions or dependent attestation that asks a series of question. This module can meet any organization’s requirements. For those organizations not using the Ultima timeclock but using the CirrusDCS hosted service, attestation questions can be pushed to time clock devices through the hosted services.

Attestation and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The attestation module is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers must now ask employees to confirm that they feel well and other health-related questions before entering the workplace every day. For users of the Ultima device, this question can be built into the time punch process. This data can be critical should there be an outbreak requiring contact tracing.

Attestation and Your Organization

Use attestation questions and time and attendance software to help your organization control the risks associated with managing employees. Integrating the attestation questions into a timeclock device, like ZKTeco’s Ultima, will streamline the attestation process and provide your supervisors with the key real-time data needed to avoid running up against laws or other employer obligations.

Posted by Editor in Future

Know your Badges – What type of badge is right for you?

Using badges or cards with your workforce time and attendance management system make tracking employee time fast and easy.
With many types of badges available to choose from, there is a good-fit solution available for every employer. Do you know your badges? Let us look at some of these many options.

Know your type of badge reader:

Proximity readers require employees to wave their badge in front of the timeclock device. The badge emits a radio signal that the timeclock uses to identify the employee and record the punch. Proximity badges do not require inserting the badge into a device and can be a component of a contactless time and attendance solution. Proximity badges can come in the form of a card, a key fob, or tags, offering lots of options.

Magnetic Swipe badge readers work like swiping a credit card. The magnetic strip on the card stores data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. The magnetic stripe card, sometimes called swipe card or magstripe, is read when it is swiped past a magnetic reading head. Employees swipe their badge card through a magnetic stripe card reader to record their time punch. Swipe badge readers can be ideal for businesses that use employee badge cards already.

Barcode readers use an optical scanner to decode a font that transforms a numeric or alpha-numeric code into a lined or pixelated image. Bar codes are easily copied which is a security risk on their own, but they can add an extra element of security to ID badges when used in combination with other badge technologies.

MIFARE technologies are built into contactless smart cards and proximity cards and offer a higher level of data security than more common badges. The brand name covers proprietary solutions based upon various levels of the ISO/IEC 14443 Type A 13.56 MHz contactless smart card standard. MIFARE cards can store data, such as employee data in a highly secure manner.

Know your cards and credentials:

HID is a vendor that provides the industry's broadest range of card-based credentials for all types of readers. HID offers credential cards, tags, and key fobs providing useful options. HID offers a credential solution that can fit almost any use case.

Know your swipe options:

ZKTeco’s Ultima timeclock device is equipped with UltiCard which enables the device to read most card and badges*. Ultima devices include a proximity reader which supports 125/134.2 kHz and 13.56 MHz credentials. If your organization requires different types of badges or if you decide to switch badge types at a future time, UltiCard will allow you to use the same timeclock device regardless of the type of card you choose. Supports card types & protocols low frequency (includes 134.2KHz) supports card types & protocols high frequency. The UltiCard Plus Module can be purchased already upgraded to the Enhanced Feature Set 1 and Enhanced Feature Set 2 ZKTeco partners also have the option to purchase the UltiCard Plus Module at the time of their order, but then use their trained technical team to upgrade to either Enhanced Feature Set option prior to shipping to their end users – providing flexibility to meet last minute or unanticipated requirements

Know what is right for your organization:

ZKTeco has unmatched expertise in helping customer identify the best-fit badge solutions for their organization. With so many options and considerations, you don’t need to know all the badge options before you decide on an option. Call on the experts at ZKTeco before implementing a badge or card-based time and attendance solution.

* If your organization has a card you would like to use with the clocks you must send us examples to decode and test before guaranteeing it will work with the clock selection.

ULTICARD Datasheet

Posted by Editor in Future