Top 4 Modern Use Cases of Biometric Technology
Today’s economy is constantly evolving, in part due to rapid technological advancements which have changed the way in which organizations and businesses function. Biometric technology, the technological use of bodily characteristics like face, fingerprint and eyes to authenticate one’s identity, has entered the forefront of business innovation. In this article, we will discuss the top 4 modern use cases of biometric technology that span across a variety of sectors such as health care, government, retail enterprises, technology organizations, manufacturing industry, libraries, universities and many more.
1. Border Control and Airport Security
Biometric technology is ideal for government projects such as border control, national identification (ID) cards, and ePassports. With the use of biometric technology, manual ID checks can be reduced or completely eliminated at border control and airport security points. This significantly reduces wait times and flight delays for vacationers and business travellers, boosting global commerce and tourism. In addition, biometric ID systems will stop people from traveling with fake ID documents and protect countries from intruders.
An e-passport is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor with biometrics stored inside. Such biometric-based ID documents replace the need of a physical ID and serves as an undeniable proof of a citizen’s identity as it cannot be counterfeited or duplicated. Governments are quickly moving towards biometric technology as a means of authenticating and protecting the identity of its citizens. As of January 2017, there were over 55 e-passport-issuing countries belonging to ICAO PKD (public key directory) program.
2. Company Payroll and Attendance Management
Employee and workforce management is becoming increasingly efficient and accurate due to emergence of biometric technology. In the past, companies would purchase magnetic strip cards, key fobs, or passwords in order to track employee attendance. These items can easily be forgotten or lost. Organizations are beginning to invest in biometric technologies to manage employee ID and attendance, since individuals are always carrying their fingerprints, eyes, and faces with them, and these items cannot be lost, stolen, or forgotten.
Benefits of using biometric technologies in the workplace include:
· Tracks attendance of employees, prevents employee time theft and reduces fraudulent behavior (i.e. buddy punching).
· Enables automated calculation of employee hours thus reducing paper wastage and time spent in manual reconciliation of attendance data.
· Provides physical access to company buildings and logical access to internal resources such as computers and other enterprise systems.
· Increases employee productivity and encourages accountability by creating a concrete audit trail of employee transactions.
· Eliminates resources associated with producing and replacing plastic ID cards and resetting forgotten passwords.
3. Financial Data and Identity Protection
Governments and organizations all around the world are choosing biometric technology to combat identity fraud, secure confidential data, reduce costs and improve overall user experience. A survey by Market Wired predicts that the global biometric technologies market will reach $41.5 billion by 2020, growing at an annual rate of over 20%.
Aside from governments, banks and other financial institutions also gain substantial benefit by implementing biometric technology. Banks need to protect customer financial data and provide safe and easy transaction for customers. By utilizing biometric technology, customers can easily access services at bank branches with bodily features that no one else can imitate. Once an account is accessed, each transaction will be linked back to the customer. In addition, only authorized employees can gain access to sensitive information using their fingerprint, face, or eyes which creates a concrete audit trail of each transaction. Since each point of access creates an irrefutable audit trail, biometric systems will eliminate millions of dollars lost each year to financial fraud, and encourage accountability and government compliance.
4. Enterprise Wide Solution
Enterprise wide areas that require physical or logical access solutions can be secured with biometrics, a more reliable alternative to traditional username and passcode security systems. Biometric systems can also be utilized to control physical access to restricted areas within the organization (i.e. vaults and confidential data backups).
Employees might require different access levels depending on their job profile. For example, an entry-level analyst who handles classified information might have lesser access to the physical premises as compared to a janitor.
Biometric devices ensure maximum security as bodily features like fingerprints and eyes are inherent to the user and impossible to imitate. For example, fake fingers do not have the same conductivity or sweat glands as actual skin. In contrast, a password or card-based system has no way of knowing if the authorized user is entering the password or presenting the card, making it easy for intruders to gain access.
iTrue: Integrating Biometrics with Blockchain Technology
Overall, body measurement such as fingerprints, eye iris, and facial features are almost impossible to steal, forget, lose or compromise and thus provides a greater degree of security and convenience as compared to other traditional authentication mechanisms (i.e. PIN codes and passwords). iTrue wants to take biometric technology to the next level by securing all biometric data onto their blockchain platform. The distributed nature of blockchain ensures every participant has a copy of the updated list of transactions. This effectively prevents tampering and revision of data, as every action on the blockchain is fully transparent. Hence, biometric data that is initially stored on a blockchain can remain authentic, since the security of every transaction is recorded.
In order to ensure that data isn’t tampered with, iTrue applies blockchain technology to compute a cryptographic hash, or “fingerprint,” that is unique for each biometric data file it stores. Any changes to the original file, however slight, will result in a dramatically different hash. Further, the only way for hackers to revise or tamper with original data is to get every participant (or “node”) to agree with the revision — which is nearly impossible because of the time required to un-encrypt and re-encrypt all the data. Even if this was theoretically possible, it would be extremely expensive to compute, as well as complicated, making the process tamper-proof.
iTrue believes that implementation of biometric technology in various sectors will increase security, accuracy and reliability of identification systems. The company continues to see momentum in adoption rates as hardware costs reduce and easy integration solutions become available. However, iTrue’s emphasis is not on providing enterprise-level biometric solutions (although these services are offered) rather the company wants to focus on transferring control over personal data back to the consumers. They hope to do this through community engagement and education about biometric technology and the importance of decentralized digital identities.
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