Why the next generation will embrace biometrics such as facial recognition technology

November 26, 2013 - 

Do you still need to be convinced that biometrics will be the next disruptive change in most people’s lives?

Disruptive in the sense that you will not be able to avoid it!  The new generation of smartphones will all have some form of biometric security in future — whether it is Apple’s new iPhone 5S and a fingerprint scanner leading the way to other manufacturers releasing new advanced devices with the same or using voice recognition or facial recognition via a camera.  According to a recent study, some 3.4 billion of us will be using biometrics on mobile devices by 2018.

Take gamers for example!  Something I know about.  Usually the gaming industry is a good toe test into understanding how market trends are moving.  Both the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox 1 game consoles use facial recognition in order to identify the user.  Once the user has registered, both platforms recognise the user’s face immediately when the console is opened. With the new iPhone, Facebook using facial recognition in order to tag friends and the latest games consoles, public acceptance is already extremely wide spread with people from the ages of 16-25.  This age group is the future biometric consumers.

Therefore using biometric technology in the areas such as mobile banking, retail, telecoms and other ecommerce sectors is not going to be as daunting as some may think.  The next generation is likely to be more accommodating and familiar with the applications.  However the main areas of concern are the intellectual property rights of the individual including data protection and the commercial use of this data as well as the potential for hackers to obtain and use such data improperly.  People should be aware that almost everything we do online nowadays is now out there and recent breaches where, for example, 152m Adobe’s user accounts were compromised, will not help confidence in using new technology to protect us.  In fact, some industry security experts have gone so far as to say that nearly everyone has been affected in one way or another – whether it’s your computer or bank account hacked, sensitive login/password breached or transaction details intercepted.  With so much data available – it’s only a matter of time before all of us will feel the impact.  A scary thought!  We now know through recent unauthorised leaks that many States and organisations are gathering huge amounts of data about us.  Just how are we going to protect our privacy and personal information when commercial operators are way behind defending against the latest threats and data breaches.  Sophisticated malware can even fool your anti-virus software.  Professional hackers and fraudsters continue to have the edge and some say are light years ahead of the game!

So while biometric technology has a cool side in the way it is being used for gaming and other leisure activities – can it really help to protect us from identity theft and breaches in security?   This is going to be the main issue for using this technology and gaining consumer trust, whether it is iris, fingerprint, palm, voice and facial recognition, or a combination of all of these.  Facial recognition is fun in the gaming sense but securing a bank account or other online entities where transaction details are exposed – both consumers and commercial operators must do more to have better security measures in place, particularly with the lack of protection on mobile devices, and also get used to the idea that biometrics are here to stay.  There has to be a strong framework that ensures biometric data is adequately protected when it is captured and stored.  Therefore better standardisation, compliance and reassurance are going to be required across the whole of the biometrics industry, predominantly because the general consensus is that over the next few years biometric technology will replace user log-ins and passwords to verify users.

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About Steve Cook

Steve is Director of Sales EMEA for Daon and has been working in the biometrics industry for over three years. He has a long track record in the online and mobile video gaming and gambling markets with over 20 years’ experience. As General Manager at Sega Europe for 8 years he developed a unique understanding of the industry and was one of the first people involved when gaming moved online. In 2001, Steve developed his own business consultancy company providing European strategic sales, business development and marketing services to fintech start-ups. Today, Steve is firmly established in the biometrics industry having previously worked for Facebanx.