Hot Technologies: Biometrics: Security Gets Personal



Over the last few years, biometrics has been gradually gaining
prominence among the various security technologies, driven by access control
applications. Biometrics is touted by some as the future of the security
industry considering the fact that its coming up and is being recognized as
one of the most accurate identification technologies in the market. As compared
to traditional identification and verification methodologies, biometrics is more
convenient for users, reduces fraud, and is more secure.

Biometrics are technologies that automatically confirm the
identity of people by comparing patterns of physical or behavioral
characteristics in real time against enrolled computer records of those
patterns. Leading biometric technologies accomplish this task by scanning
patterns of the face, fingerprint, hand, iris, palm, signature, skin, or voice.

Not Just Thumb Scan
Contrary to popular belief biometrics is not just about finger print
scanners and face recognition systems anymore. Some of the existing biometrics
technologies, which have already found a foothold in the market in terms of
applications are finger scan, facial recognition, hand scan, iris scan, voice
recognition, signature verification, keystroke dynamics, retina scan, and
multimodal. Among the emerging technology areas in biometrics that are gradually
gaining momentum and finding niche applications are gait recognition, ear
biometrics, olfactory recognition, skin biometrics, vein check, lip biometrics,
nail biometrics and new hand biometrics.

Increasing Reach
Apart from security and law enforcement agencies, biometrics is slowly
making its way into a milieu of authentication products for the enterprise. For
instance, the usage of biometrics for access control is one of the key
applications in the enterprise segment. Biometrics driven access control is also
becoming common. Finger print technology based biometrics is used in laptops for
secure access. Though starting off with high-end laptops, this feature will
gradually become a default for even mid range to lower end laptops over the next
few years.

An emerging area in biometrics security is e-commerce. It will
also guard against unauthorized access to cars and cell phones. In the future,
biometric technology will further develop 3-D infrared facial recognition access
control, real-time facial recognition passive surveillance, and visitor
management authentication systems. Personal computers of the future might
include a fingerprint scanner. Access levels could include the ability to use
credit card information to make electronic purchases.

According to a study conducted by Unisys, a whopping 70% of
consumers worldwide support the use of biometrics administered by a trusted
organization (eg, a bank, healthcare provider or government organization) as a
way to verify an individuals identity. The Unisys research further found that
66% of consumers worldwide also favored biometrics as the ideal method to combat
fraud and identity theft as compared to other methods like smart cards and
tokens. Voice recognition emerged as the most favored authentication method,
cited by 32% of respondents, followed by fingerprints with 27%.

Shipra Malhotra
shipram@cybermedia.co.in

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