Biometric Technology – Ready for Mainstream?

Facial, iris and hand recognition; fingerprint scanning and other physical and behavioral characteristics--we’ve all been exposed to the principles of biometric technology at some point, whether watching it in a James Bond film or deploying it at...


Rooted in government sector
In the last several years, the market has evolved to support multiple biometrics. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 201), Real ID, Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC™) and ePassport are just some of the components of biometric technology that the government supports and provides, making it the key driving force behind biometrics today. 

For the commercial sector, the leading application continues to be physical access.

“Biometric time and attendance solutions result in a strong return on investment (ROI) and are steadily increasing in market share,” said Seaborn. “Logical access is growing as well, being pushed by embedded technologies coming standard in more mobile devices. The next frontier is the business application layer and embedding value-added biometric functionality into business and consumer processes.”

Biometrics is also offered as a convenient solution for accessing personal data from laptops and mobile phones.

“The use of portable, mobile identification devices that incorporate finger, iris and other biometrics has opened up a new application for use in the field,” said Lisa Cradit, vice president of Communications, L-1 Identity Solutions, Stamford, Conn.

In Japan, consumers use biometrics on a daily basis. Technological integration increases use of biometrics in a number of different purposes and applications.

“Mobile devices have come a long way over the last few years,” said Conniff. “First responders see a huge need for biometrics in such applications as gate access and at border crossings.”
Other applications such as accessing your banking information through a mobile phone are also being used in markets such as Asia, according to Yarde.

“In the Asia market, the cell phone system was very different compared to the U.S.,” said Yarde. “In Asia, the cell phone market is driven by the manufacturers. They add new features and they drive the business. In the U.S., it’s the carriers that drive the market more so then the manufacturers.”

With leading manufacturers continuing to develop solutions in the biometric technology sector, industry experts seem confident that the commercial market has long been ready for the solutions that they provide.

“The question is not whether the commercial sector is ready for the increase in security and accuracy promised by biometric solutions,” said Seaborn. “The real question is whether biometrics solutions are performing at the level required to meet the needs of the commercial sector.”