Biometric Technology and the Next Generation

Welcome to the fourth and final post in our series on ‘Emerging Use Cases’, where David Orme, SVP of Sales and Marketing at IDEX Biometrics, discusses biometric technology and the next generation.

The next generation of biometrics will be in the area of biometric access control technologies, where using keys and passwords will become a thing of the past.

What is Biometric Technology?

When we talk about biometrics, we are referring to technologies that can uniquely identify us by a physical or biological trait. While you might think this technology is in its infancy, the technology sector is already advanced. Soon, all of us will be using our fingers, facial images and even the veins in our palms to gain access to information and services.

Biometrics: The Next Generation

We have already started to witness large-scale rollouts of biometric technologies in the banking and public sectors. Schools are already using finger-activated payment systems, and the banking sector is in the process of rolling out fingerprint payment cards so that they can dispense with the PIN and its security limitations.

The security sector is also widely adopting biometric access systems due to their highly secure nature and workplaces are an ideal environment to adopt biometric access systems.

It doesn’t just stop at fingerprint technology; as we watch the biometric industry speed through different phases, we will start to witness even more changes known as behaviometrics. Systems will not only be able to identify us through our physical traits; they will be able to identify us through our emotional and regular behavior patterns, too. This could include the way we type on the keyboard or our body temperatures and heart rates. If you use a fitness watch or other fitness device, you will already be familiar with the level of sophistication in these systems.

Securing the future

The idea of behaviometrics being used to identify us has been used before. It was employed in the 19th century, with telegraph operators being identified by their typing style, long before the advent of computers.

According to an article by Barclays Bank, Google patented keystroke dynamics software into its services back in 2007 due to the interest in this technology. The article goes on to state that Google’s Trust API technology would remove the need for passwords in the future simply by the analysis of a person’s typing speed, how they swipe their screen, their voice patterns, and even how they walk.

While these emerging new biometric methods and technologies are attention-grabbing, two-factor authentication to combine these with another stable biometric feature is vital to make the authentication process completely protected.

Across all of the biometric signals, fingerprints are considered to be the most secure and stable, but with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the process of fingerprint capture needs to be considered. Coronavirus is believed to survive on many hard surfaces for at least 72 hours, thus making it riskier to use touch screens or PIN pads (1). As a result, in order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, there are two principal options. You can either go for cards with a fingerprint sensor embedded where the cardholder retains the card at all times, pre-empting transmission through handling, or employ facial biometric recognition.

It is clear that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come. It is highly likely that one of the ramifications will be an increased focus upon and adoption of low- or no-contact biometric solutions to everyday transactions and activities.

The biometric industry is evolving at a dramatic pace and is ready to deliver the required solutions.

The previous post in our series on ‘Emerging Use Cases’ looked at why a digital display can replace the 3-Digit CVV Number.