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Biometrics mean business

Whether it is palm-vein technology, facial-recognition systems or fingerprint identification, there are a growing number of ways biometrics technology is helping the business world move in a new direction

Biometrics tackle these challenges by delivering a faster, easier and more secure authentication process, in sync with other trends such as the rise of mobile banking. According to Goode Intelligence, over one billion users will access banking services through biometric systems by 2017 and by 2020 biometrics will be the most used identity authorisation method to access bank services.

Why biometrics?

Biometrics relate to individual physical characteristics that make a person unique. As a form of identification, biometrics can never be forgotten, lost or copied like a card or password, and have been widely accepted as a fast, accurate and dependable way of confirming a person is who they say they are.

Once a technology featured in science fiction films like Minority Report, biometrics are coming into their own as consumers and businesses alike realise the benefits they bring.

Biometrics Opportunities

The development and uptake of biometrics have not been uniform across the different types of biometric technology available. Finger vein, hand geometry, facial, voice, iris and signature recognition have all had varying degrees of success in the various regions. Europe has been particularly open to trailing facial recognition, which has evolved to become far more sophisticated in recent years. For example, a German University has recently developed a facial recognition tool that uses thermal signature. On the other hand, 80% of Japanese people already use vein recognition at ATMs to withdraw money.

Banks in Europe and the UK are increasingly considering biometrics for security – Barclays is introducing finger vein authentication for UK customers later this year. For this, they are using Hitachi’s finger vein authentication technology which reads the pattern of the vein inside the finger, rather than external characteristics, making it tough to replicate. It is so difficult to capture the data without the sophisticated technology that the chance of cloning is extremely slim – particularly in comparison to the traditional card or password methods of authentication.

Benefits beyond banking

The benefits of biometrics apply to all businesses, not just within the finance sector. Biometric identity management technologies play a significant role in the Retail sector such as security and “shrinkage”, timekeeping, finance approval and door entry systems.

From PoS payment authentication by phone to technology that can identify known shoplifters on entry, biometrics is creating a more seamless experience for both brand and customer.

In 450 Tesco petrol stations across the UK, digital screens integrate with audience measurement technology to determine a shopper’s gender and age, among other demographics. Allowing the tailoring of real-time in-store marketing campaigns.

Types of Biometric Readers

Biometrics methods used for personal authentication utilise such features as the face, the voice, the hand shape, the fingerprints, and the iris. Each method has unique characteristics and can be categorised regarding usability and security as shown in Fig. 1.

The main parameters for assessing usability are evaluated by the following factors:

* simplicity for the user
* the feeling of resistance
* the speed of authentication
* the level of false-rejection rate

And the main parameters for assessing security can be summed up as follows:

* the difficulty of getting biological data
* the difficulty of forgery
* low level of false-acceptance rate

ISG Technology and Biometrics

ISG Technology is currently working with several major vendors installing biometric readers in the Retail environment. Solutions include an upgrade of timekeeping systems to fingerprint readers in over 1,300 locations. Also, we are installing security systems for clothing storage which require fingerprint or finger vein recognition. Including the full integration of the Wi-Fi systems using wired and wireless communications and the Network Environment. Based on the evaluation of the projects, we believe all are proving to be self-funding and provide a high ROI.

For more details on ISG Technology capabilities, please contact us.

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