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Beyond faces: embracing choice and inclusivity in biometric authentication

Beyond faces: embracing choice and inclusivity in biometric authentication
 

By Sabrina Gross, Regional Director of Strategic Partners,  Veridas

Biometric authentication is increasingly shifting from breakthrough technology to a commonplace tool as its use becomes more standard and readily available. From checking a mobile banking app to logging into a work computer, many of us routinely use biometrics every day without a second thought.

As the technology becomes more widespread, its key to success hinges on its ability to be inclusive. There have been previously reported instances where biometrics have faulted the user, whether due to discrimination or deficiencies within the biometric product itself. While these situations are far from the norm, fluctuating opinions and agendas can cause these instances to take flight. By addressing these scenarios to work through the nuances of this technology, biometrics customers can best prepare an approach their users will happily and comfortably choose to implement.

The choice is yours

Among a plethora of biometric authentication methods, facial biometrics is one the most popular options and a norm today in some sectors. Almost every bank or healthcare application now requires users to authenticate their identities using facial recognition.

While facial biometrics have elevated security and introduced a quicker way for identity verification, it may not be the preferred method for every user and thus, should not be an enforced requirement.

Challenges while accessing an application can cause skepticism or discomfort where it may not be due. This discomfort creates a friction point for users, making them more likely to abandon a transaction or process.

To best care for user preferences, discomforts, privacy concerns and even religious conflicts, organizations have begun relying on multiple biometric verification options as a well-rounded way to best meet the needs of customers.

How can voice biometrics help in authentication processes?

Voice biometrics offers a unique blend of convenience and security, standing out as a highly accessible means of authentication. Unlike facial or fingerprint recognition, voice biometrics doesn’t require specialized hardware; a basic microphone, a standard feature in most devices, will suffice. Even just a landline will do!

So, users no longer need the latest smartphone to verify their identity. This makes it a more inclusive option for those who may not have access to high-end technology.

Moreover, using voice for identification is a relatively hassle-free process. The user does not need to position their camera at a certain angle or worry about the lighting. They simply have to say a phrase into the microphone.

Voice biometrics, however, can have its own limitations. It might not be the best option for those with speech impairments, for example. It also might be difficult to verify an individual when there is too much noise in the background, which can tamper with the authentication process.

Nonetheless, biometric authentication is much more than using human features for verification processes. The key is to understand which biometric authentication method works best in each situation.

Why inclusivity is essential to biometric authentication

The core idea isn’t just about championing voice biometrics but promoting the freedom to choose from various authentication methods. This is particularly vital for public services catering to a diverse crowd with different needs, whether in bustling cities or remote rural areas.

The key is inclusivity. The aim is to have a system where those who are uncomfortable sharing facial data or those without internet access can still authenticate their identity effortlessly. Voice might be preferred for some, but options should be plentiful — no one should feel cornered into a single method.

It’s also crucial to maintain the traditional route of in-person verification. For instance, if someone prefers to walk into a bank for transactions, that choice should be preserved. People’s needs and circumstances change; authentication methods must be flexible enough to adapt to these changes.

Ultimately, it’s about giving people the power to choose how they wish to verify their identity. This aligns well with the UK government’s vision for an inclusive digital future where no one is left behind.

Key factors in adopting biometric authentication solutions

When adopting biometric technology, organizations face unique challenges that require thoughtful planning and selection of biometrics providers. A primary consideration should be the provider’s range of biometric methods. Opting for a single provider capable of multiple verification methods streamlines the authentication process and serves the varied needs of a diverse population, from urbanites to rural dwellers.

User experience is another crucial factor. The ideal system should be user-friendly for everyone, whether digital natives or older adults who may not be as tech-savvy. A seamless experience across all demographics ensures higher adoption rates and overall satisfaction.

Furthermore, credibility matters. Organizations should prioritize providers who have undergone rigorous evaluations by independent external bodies. For instance, NIST in the United States provides valuable assessments of biometric technologies. By considering these factors, organizations can build a more robust and inclusive biometric authentication system.

As organizations navigate the best practices for biometric authentication, they must understand that the focus should be on including every user. The aim of biometrics should be to simplify the verification process. While there are different biometric authentication means, the discussion’s essence isn’t just about choosing one method over another. It’s about ensuring inclusivity, flexibility and choice in authentication methods, aligning with a vision of an inclusive digital future.

About the author

Sabrina Gross is Regional Director of Strategic Partners at Veridas.

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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