Unisys study finds law enforcement will lead incorporation of biometrics into wearables

August 24, 2016 - 

Unisys Corporation has published new research that reveals that law enforcement is expected to lead the incorporation of biometrics into wearable technology.

However, as the adoption of biometrics becomes a mainstream practice, privacy concerns regarding the security of biometric data stored in the cloud must be addressed, according to the study.

Unisys conducted the survey of 54 biometrics professionals at the Biometrics Institute Asia Pacific Conference in Sydney from May 24 to 26.

The study finds that 63 percent of respondents believe that enabling law enforcement and security officers to identify known or suspected criminals or terrorists is the most appropriate opportunity to incorporate biometrics into wearable technology.

In addition, the study finds that 19 percent of respondents believe that consumers using smart watches to authenticate payments is the best opportunity to incorporate biometrics into wearable technology, and only 14 percent of respondents said that using biometrics to control access to data captured by wearable devices would provide the most appropriate opportunity to incorporate biometrics into wearable technology.

“While biometrics have become cheaper, more accurate, and easier to use, the lack of revolutionary change in capture technology has constrained both the types of applications that employ biometrics and types of biometrics used in those applications,” said John Kendall, director border and national security programs at Unisys. “But the emergence of wearable technologies has the potential to turn the application of biometrics on its head.

“Body worn cameras that clip onto uniforms like a badge, are already being used by law enforcement agencies globally to identify persons of interest by matching against a watchlist and notifying the wearer via a smartphone or discreet Bluetooth earpiece.”

The survey’s respondents believe that facial recognition is the most appropriate biometric modality for wearable technology, followed by voice identification.

Meanwhile, 52 percent said wristbands are the wearable formats best suited for biometrics, followed by watches (19 percent) and lapel badges (15 percent), the study said.

Finally, the study finds that 79 percent of respondents believe that privacy concerns regarding access to biometric information stored on the cloud is the most significant obstacle to incorporating biometrics into wearable technology.

Previously reported, Unisys Corporation’s client Nationwide Building Society recently won the Retail Banking Security Innovation of the Year award for a behavioral biometrics prototype it developed with Unisys and BehavioSec to enhance security and user experience for mobile banking customers.

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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.