Predictions for the Future Use of Biometrics

by: Steven Bowcut, CPP, PSP
Brilliance Security Magazine

Brilliance Security Magazine recently talked with Arie Melamed, CMO of FST Biometrics, to get an idea of his predictions about how biometrics will be used in the security industry in the near future.

FST Biometrics’ solutions utilize a fusion of visual identification technologies, including facial recognition and behavior analytics, to identify users at a distance and in motion. They are a leading global visual identification company, currently providing millions of accurate identifications each month for a range of applications.

Although biometrics are being used regularly for security in the forms of fingerprint readers, hand geometry readers, and iris scanners, Arie predicts a rapid rise in the use of facial recognition and behavior analytics for access control authentication. His optimism about the increased use of these technologies is based on the demand from security users for an increase in both security and ease of use at the same time.

Apple’s introduction of facial recognition as a means of accessing some of its mobile devices is certainly expected to enhance user confidence in this technology.

FST Biometrics expects that the non-invasive and touch-free characteristics of facial recognition will propel its use in the healthcare market. Not only can this technology be used for secure access into restricted areas, it can also be used for patient recognition. Imagine a scenario where a patient unable to identify themselves, because of injury or illness, could quickly be enrolled into a system using only a photograph taken with a mobile device during triage and then re-authenticated for a positive identification throughout the health services process using facial recognition. Even the necessary, but ever-annoying, constant repeating of one’s name and birthday prior to any procedure, blood draw, or medication administration could be eliminated for all patients. Using a securely connected mobile device healthcare professionals could download updated patient records wherever they are in the hospital.

FST Biometrics claims that daycare facilities are already using their solution to ensure that the right parent, guardian, or authorized individual is picking up children at the end of the day.

They foresee a world in which a photo taken at the airline check-in counter and then stored on a central server could be used to facilitate speedy passenger identification at TSA, immigration, and customs checkpoints as well as entry into airline premium customer lounge areas. We wish them good luck with the bureaucratic hurdles that such a proposal would undoubtedly entail, but it’s nice to know that the technology is ready and waiting for governmental adoption.

Given the amount of user resistance that fingerprint readers encountered when they were first introduced, one might think that there could be significant challenges in promoting user adoption of a technology that requires a photo to be taken. Arie reports that little customer education has been required to help users understand that it is not an actual photograph of them that is being used, rather a series of digits derived from an algorithm that becomes their identity in such a system.

The argument that visual identification is more secure than other types of biometrics is difficult to support. The real attraction for this technology is clearly the ease of use associated with letting a system simply recognize your face, sometimes even as you are walking toward a secure entrance, with little or no additional action required is sure to be a user favorite and will find its way into every aspect of security. From an overall security enhancement perspective, it may very well be that the real benefit of visual identification software is that it will allow secure authentication to happen in places where the inconvenience associated with the use of card or fingerprint readers has precluded the implementation of access control altogether.