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November 30, 2016

Biometrics Big Part of Mobility Tech

The era of the username / password authentication system has come and gone, and probably really left about three years ago, though the body's still twitching a bit. Nowhere is this clearer than in mobility tech, as more and more examples of the field are slated to get access to biometrics technology. More specifically, based on a report from Juniper Research, it will be voice and facial recognition technology that seizes the day.

Mobility tech has already seen its share of biometric systems in place—around 190 million mobile devices currently have the tech in place—but that number is expected to spike in the next five years, better than tripling to reach a height of over 600 million devices in 2021. This will come around due mainly to businesses that want methods that rely less on hardware for biometric protections—in all likelihood, this means fewer fingerprint readers—and more on software, which will likely drive up demand for voiceprint and facial recognition systems, among others.

As further development takes place in this sector, it will also likely increase the demand pool for these mobility tech tools, especially as the market proceeds from just identifying a person via biometrics to actually verifying identity. The difference there is that biometrics can be transmitted and compared to records held remotely, which allows for more verification to take place.  Essentially, if a point of biometrics is ever compromised, it's unusable forever, which adds to the security involved. However, this also requires a greater level of security be used to protect the biometric data that's taken and remotely secured.

While this sounds like a great concept, and in many ways it is, there are some issues afoot. Yes, biometrics are universal. It's next to impossible to forget them—who forgets what his voice sounds like whenever he speaks—which makes them much easier to use. Say a phrase or remember a 20-character password of letters, doodles and squirrel noises; which sounds easier to you? Yet it's easy to forget that this is still a fairly new technology. Most of us remember the debacle that took place when Google's facial recognition system was hacked back in 2011 by holding up a photograph of the face that unlocked a system.

Still, we all know that the username / password combination has had its day. Biometrics represents a much easier way to accomplish the standard functions of accessing systems, and can be a much more secure process as long as replicating body features is difficult. It's developed quite a bit over the years, and this new study makes it clear that that development will only continue as biometrics become a much more popular option for mobile devices.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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