Rethinking biometrics in the IoT industry

Biometric technology is the future of IoT security

This is a guest post by Eva Na, CMO at Tuya Smart.

Biometrics offer one answer to the fundamental question of device security — how do you ensure a user is who they claim to be?

The idea of biometric technology is not new and has advanced significantly when combined with Internet of Things (IoT) products and applications. With 5G technology soon being affordable and available, many IoT developers and entrepreneurs alike are already experimenting with biometric enhancements for the next generation of products.

At the recent AI+IoT Business Conference co-hosted by Tuya Smart, a leading IoT global platform together with Asia Pacific Intelligent Business Alliance (AIBA), many of these industry leaders from Google, Lenovo, Gree, TCL, Zigbee Alliance and more shared their thoughts for the IoT implementation outlook in various industries. Here are some takeaways that will impact the IoT and biometrics industry in the near future.

Biometrics will be the technology that secures our digital identity in an increasingly connected world

IoT is best served by a set of secure data points; it relies on the integrity of the data sent and received. Those data points share vital information and make important connections that establish relationships and recommendations. Those recommendations often contain sensitive user data–this is where the security of biometrics becomes most important and a key player in strong security for connected devices and retained data.

With biometric technology, a device’s security system can identify a person based on unique personal characteristics that hackers can’t easily replicate. Traditionally, markers include individual fingerprints, the shape and color of an iris, or specific aspects associated with a person’s voice, like timbre, pitch, or language spoken. The obvious benefit is that owners can’t lose biometric markers, and hackers can’t steal them.

However, in our increasingly connected world, our digital identity is more important to us than ever. New advances in biometrics provides a higher security threshold for the next generation of IoT devices, by applying advanced features such as behavioral biometrics and tracking systems – such as typing or spending habits – and combining it with data analytics and AI to ensure that your identity is not compromised. Jeff Immelt, former CEO and Chairman of GE, current chairman of Tuya US and its strategic committee board, said during a USA Today interview “With every advancement in technology, the people who want to do bad things get more sophisticated as well, but the good guys are keeping pace.”

Biometrics becomes even more essential on the edge

Given that our digital identities are at stake, IoT devices are now expected to handle more computing within the device itself, which is also known as edge computing. The COVID-19 situation can be a blessing in disguise for the IoT industry as more people find themselves staying at home and realising the benefits and conveniences of IoT devices.

During one of the global roundtables hosted by Immelt, he commented after the talk with executives from Lenovo, Havells, Merkury, and Status, that “I think the good news for smart homes is everybody is sitting at home and finally they figure out how all these devices work. Basically now, more consumers are aware of the technologies.” According to IoT Magazine,  IoT spending is predicted to increase to $2.5 million a minute, with 1 million new IoT devices being sold every hour by 2021.

These opportunities present huge challenges and also great promise for companies. As consumer behaviours change, biometric technology will help us to identify consumers, for example such as different members of the same household, in order to provide personalised services to each individual. IoT products are also getting more complex, able to handle financial transactions, messaging and more, and will require some form of security protocols to communicate with other devices outside their ecosystems.

How will biometric technology evolve and what does it mean for users?

At the AI+IoT Business Conference, industry leaders agreed that the future seems bright. The next-generation biometrics market was valued at USD 16.36 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 93.88 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 35.53 percent during the forecast period (2020-2025). Consumers and companies will benefit from more consistent industry standards, especially when complex computing is put to the test at the edge.

The IoT world has been coming out stronger during this lockdown and the interest and importance given to the subject are on the rise. As IoT devices increasingly become the norm at home and in the workplace, biometric technology can be an answer to keeping our digital identities safe.

We are also observing great increase in various verticals that are incorporating biometrics in their business, like smart hotel, smart apartment, smart community, they are evolving with the integration of smart security as a necessity, from various AI facial recognition pad, IP cameras, motion sensors, fingerprint door locks, etc.

AI-powered mechanics and operations have already made it easier to manage various spaces with lower risks and this trend of turning to AI powered biometrics is bound to increase in the coming years. The question now that lies ahead of us as an industry is: How are we going to define it for the next generations to come?

About the author

Eva Na is CMO at Tuya Smart and Head of AI Capital Alliance. She is also Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Intelligent Business Alliance (AIBA), the Former Director of Youzan Marketing & PR Dept, a founding member of the AliCloud team, and a Business School Netherlands Ph.D. Candidate.

DISCLAIMER: Biometric Update’s Industry Insights are submitted content. The views expressed in this post are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Biometric Update.

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