Biometrics: vast scope of practical applications and prospects

Daria Bulatovych
1 June 2018

As our company has extensive expertise in Biometrics and 2017 became a turning point in the global adoption of this technology, we cannot put this topic aside. In this article, we are going to introduce some of the most widespread present applications of Biometrics.

There is an increase in the acceptance of the technology in various fields as banking, airports, law enforcement, healthcare, etc. and the necessity for Biometrics in the days of the data breach is evident.

As almost 10 billion records have been stolen since 2013 according to Gemalto Breach Level Index, a matter of personal authentication remains one of high priority.

On the other hand, a new research shows that the society really doesn’t mind accepting the utilizing of biometric identification methods. Having surveyed 1000 individuals, on May 10th 2018 the Center for Identity at the University of Texas stated it investigated that public is comparatively positive about the technology. Nearly 68% of respondents were quite comfortable with giving biometric information to an organization. However, their comfort level varied depending on the type of information given. Individuals tended to have the most positive attitude to fingerprint scans as 58% of interviewed were very comfortable with them.

Before viewing the variety of biometric solutions in different industries, let’s figure out what Biometrics actually is. Basically, this term becomes clear if you break it down. “Bio” means biological while “metric” is measurement. Accordingly, Biometrics is biological measurement. The technology enables a person to be identified and authenticated through a complex of recognizable and verifiable characteristics, which is always unique. This data includes all of the biometric traits such as fingerprints, palm prints, voice, facial measurements, iris, and even the gait of the person.

What are the applications of biometric technology?

Biometrics is being employed in a wide range of industries and as we understand that it is impossible to view all of them within the compass of this article, let’s see at least some of the most prevalent fields where biometric solutions are being used.

Banking

Biometrics is being increasingly adopted by banks around the world to authenticate clients using banking services.

As most users of banking services expect a friction-less access to them and passwords fail to meet these expectations, Biometrics can be a tool to solve the problem.

Visa, a famous global payments technology company, for example, laid out a ‘Future of Security Roadmap’ where Biometrics underlies validating electronic payments.

The organization is cooperating with the FIDO Alliance that improves the roadmap with the help of fingerprint and iris scanners, voice and facial recognition. The security roadmap has been previously launched in Australia and is planned to be extended to other countries.

The consumer device cardholder verification method (CDCVM) supports the biometric technology enabling account holders to validate transactions themselves through their phone or another device according to the roadmap.

Visa has also recently started conducting pilot experiments of cards having a built-in fingerprint reader. A user puts their finger on the sensor either by inserting the card’s chip into a reader or holding it over a payment terminal without the need of entering a PIN.

Visa was not the first credit card company to deploy Biometrics. In 2017 Mastercard started testing a fingerprint payment card at Pick n Pay supermarkets in South Africa.

On 23 January 2018 Mastercard announced that their cardholders would be identified through fingerprints or facial recognition when they make purchases by April 2019.

Financial institutions in general

Employees of banks, credit unions, and other financial establishments have always had a problem to memorize a lot of various passwords they need to work. Luckily, the solution is found at last.

For instance, Verifast, a product from Fiserv is a biometric authentication technology utilizing palm scanning.

Its technology is well-known as “palm vein scanning.” An individual places their palm above an infrared light, illuminating the veins in their hand – vein patterns are unique to the individual. As soon as the pattern has been linked to the client’s identity, the apparatus scans and confirms the client’s identity in a matter of seconds during follow-up visits.

Whilst vein patterns typically have five million scannable reference points and are stable throughout everyone’s life, the system is highly reliable. Moreover, the scanning is not hampered in case of hand cream use.

We also would like to mention biometric door entry systems. Their benefit is in giving access to people who are allowed to enter restricted areas in the workplace. As Biometrics enables security to be completely comfortable, the demand for this kind of door entry systems is constantly growing.

Law enforcement agencies

Being extremely effective for security purposes, biometric technology is widely adopted by the police. Most often they utilize fingerprints, iris, walk, facial and voice recognition.

The swift implementation of Biometrics has significantly changed the global police and security field.

One of the recent examples of the utilization of Biometrics by the police is an automated multi-modal biometric identification system (AMBIS). This new system is intended to detect a crime by the use of the found fingerprint, palm print and iris scan information of criminals as well as random finger/palm prints taken from scenes of the crime. Maharashtra police will be the first police force in India to implement the system.

Healthcare

According to Global Healthcare Biometrics Market Forecast 2018-2028, The Global Healthcare Biometrics market was valued at $1.63 billion last year. This number is predicted to increase to $5.02 billion in 2023 and it is anticipated to reach $14.65 billion in 2028. The Compound Annual Growth Rate for the US Healthcare Biometrics market from 2018-2028 is predicted to be 22.3%.

Biometrics is being used in some fields including identifying patients, authentication for access to healthcare information, and remote care- where biometric sensors can provide important patient information without the necessity for in-person clinical evaluation. National identity cards for ID health insurance programs are typically widespread in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

These biometric ID cards help utilize fingerprints to identify the cardholder before providing them with an access to government or medical services – to avoid fraud.

In Gabon, for instance, it has been chosen that the identification of insured patients will be implemented by the introduction of an individual health insurance number. The smart health insurance card also contains civil information, a snapshot of the cardholder and two fingerprints.

The card is utilized in medical institutions and pharmacies to verify social security rights while protecting the privacy of personal information. Verification takes place by the use of terminals equipped with fingerprint sensors.

Perspectives

Several major projects having been implemented by the use of Biometrics, all of which proves the demand and actuality of this technology. In addition to the above-mentioned examples, the EU entry/exit system delivers the package of measures including biometrical fingerprints and facial recognition. The new Entry-Exit System is planned to be operational in 2020.

Furthermore, the public is adopting biometrical solutions on their own initiative.

For instance, thousands of people in Sweden are having biometrical microchips implanted under their skin in order to avoid permanent carrying key cards, IDs, and even transport tickets.

Around 3,000 individuals in Sweden have gone through the procedure since 2015 when it was first conducted, Agence France-Presse reported.

Undoubtedly, Biometrics has a lot of potentials to replace present authentication technology. However, there are a lot of steps to be taken and some additional security layers should appear for better commercial viability. The technology should only be utilized for authentication or authorization, and not both together. It is noted that utilizing only one Biometric, without a pin or other verification methods, is ineffective. The policies and technologies have to be improved to guarantee that a fingerprint or face ID alone cannot endanger the integrity of the system and that security policies for storage, encryption, and even biometric rotation (like password rotation) can be successfully implemented.

Finally, in conclusion, we would like to add that our company has been working on providing biometrics solutions for our clients for many years.
Get in touch with us right away if you are considering the biometric technology adoption.

The End

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