Bio-Metrica CEO discusses multi-factor biometric identification systems

January 28, 2016 - 

Altamonte Springs, Florida-based Bio-Metrica is a first-tier manufacturer, software developer and system integrator of turnkey and custom biometric identification solutions to government, law enforcement, and enterprises worldwide.

The company provides advanced biometric solutions to customers in a range of industry sectors, including government, law enforcement, healthcare, finance, education, retail, and manufacturing.

Additionally, Bio-Metrica helps customers during the installation and configuration, maintenance and upgrade of the biometric system, customizing the solution based on their specific project requirements.

Last month, Bio-Metrica released a cloud version of its BII multi-factor authentication biometric identity framework, which ensures rapid deployment times and can control system performance by rapidly scaling up or down a BII installation within a few hours.

BiometricUpdate.com had the opportunity to talk to Bio-Metrica founder and CEO Ronny Yacobi, who discussed the advantages of using a multi-factor authentication framework, key trends in the biometrics market and the main challenges creating a Mobile Biometrics Unit (MBU) for the registration of pensioners for the Ghana Social Security National Trust.

Can you discuss one of the key projects implemented in 2015, and what Bio-Metrica provided the client?

Ronny Yacobi: Bio-Metrica, LLC was chosen to create a new Mobile Biometric Unit (MBU) for the registration of pensioners for the Ghana Social Security National Trust (SSNIT). The main purpose of the biometric system was to reduce the amount of “ghost” pensioners on the roles, hence SSNIT required all members accessing benefits be biometrically enrolled nationwide. The challenges included a requirement for a rugged, mobile biometric system, which could collect biometric data from pensioners located throughout the nation. They could be either in cities or in far flung villages with very little in the way of transportation infrastructure or even power. It was also required to be portable and be easy to transport between locations. The system needed to be able to generate high quality biometric data as well as capture the image and signature of the person being enrolled.

Identifying documents presented as proof of identity need to be scanned and a printed receipt would also be provided as evidence of enrollment. The entire process would need to be completed within a 24-month period. In order to meet the demands of the tropical environment of Ghana, a system was designed in order to operate within the humidity and temperature extremes of that environment. The MBU (Mobile Biometric Unit) was designed with a weatherproof and waterproof case, a robust laptop PC, a fingerprint scanner, high resolution web camera with LED light, signature pad, printer/scanner combination to collect registration data. All components were then set within a custom-designed foam insert along with a battery-based auxiliary power system, which could maintain system operation for over 10 hours of sustained activity. An included GSM cellular modem allows the MBU to communicate information while operating in different locations. Proper documentation was also created for training and operations of the system. As a result, with the MBU, the SSINT is able to enroll pensioners throughout Ghana and currently the system is operational in its second year.

What advantages are there to using a multi-factor authentication framework?

There are many advantages for using a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) framework such as using multiple biometric modalities in one process can easily surpass the highest accuracy (FAR/FRR) achieved by one modality. This way, with a combination of common biometric devices instead of one expensive device, a very accurate and cost effective system can be deployed. Performance wise, system overall response time for 1:N searches can be improved by two phase process (manual / automatic): preconfigured Shortlist using one biometric modality and 1:N out of this short list. Another important advantage is a better fraud mitigation and increased security using MFA with some or all the identification questions (“something you know, Something you have, Something you are”) in one process; an MFA framework provides much better investigation tools for experts. Disadvantages for MFA approach are longer enrollment process, and depending on the chosen system to deploy, longer pre-identification process.

What benefits does Bio-Metrica’s CloudBII have over traditional deployments?

The benefits of CloudBII over any traditional deployment include rapid deployment times of only a few hours, the ability to dynamically control system performance (response times) by rapidly scaling up or down a BII installation in a matter of hours using additional BII Agent machines or by changing the configuration of existing instance resources (more processing power, available RAM, additional networking channels etc.). There’s no need for IT infrastructure deployment (servers, administrative systems, networking equipment, A/C, etc.) or a need for local support personnel to maintain the local servers. Finally, there would not be a need for massive investment into installation and configuration efforts since it will be all done remotely, with 99.999% uptime reliability provided by the cloud provider of choice. CloudBII can also be deployed as a SaaS installation, saving further costs for an organization.

In your opinion, has there been one single biometric modality that has seen a greater adoption rate than other modalities over the past year?

Different biometric modalities are required for different types of applications. Law enforcement systems, will continue to require fingerprints as well as palm as their main biometric modalities; large civil applications use MFAs with single or any combination of fingerprints, facial, voice and iris modalities; Biometric facial recognition seems to be a more acceptable for applications that use mobile devices, especially combined with second method of authentication, as cameras with higher quality and image resolution exist in more and more devices

What are some key trends you have seen developing in the biometrics market in the last year?

Interesting trends in the biometric market includes a greater acceptance of biometrics in North America, paved by the mobile devices manufacturers and especially a mainstream company such as Apple that introduced the fingerprint access control in its devices. It seems as the public that once feared biometric fingerprints out of privacy concerns, while relating it to government control, got used to the advantages of biometrics and largely accept it these days. It helps introduce other civil biometric based system in different fields. There is a higher demand for biometric based systems in Africa for different large implementations for law enforcement AFIS and other identification systems as well as large government systems such as voter registration system, national ID, and border control systems; commercial implementations in Africa includes biometric solutions for the African financial industry where there are interesting local challenges that can perfectly be resolved using proper biometric system.

Can you discuss any projects Bio-Metrica is developing for 2016?

Bio-Metrica plans to continue to provide worldwide national and enterprise level solutions, while focusing on the developing nations. We have several future projects which will be implemented during 2016. In addition, we plan to introduce a new set of HTML5 based applications for government and enterprise customers, all based on the MFA BII and CloudBII. These web-based applications will be available on different form factors and operating systems on a per license/SaaS business models.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.