Wherever you look today, you’ll find a machine or devices that use biometrics. The most common device that uses biometrics is the smartphone. As we progress, biometrics will also advance. Below, we’ll take a look at the potential of biometrics in the present.
A Short History of Biometrics
Would you believe that biometrics goes as far back as 500 BC? However, the first record of a biometric identification system was in the 1800s in Paris, France. Its use was to compare, classify, and identify criminals’ body measurements. Alphonse Bertillon was the man behind this system. Less than a century later, people began to use their fingerprints to sign contracts. Around this time, Edward Henry developed the Henry Classification System – a method of identification using fingerprints.
From there, biometrics continued to develop. People realized that everybody had unique physiological characteristics, and we can use these features to identify other people. As technology advanced, we also integrated biometrics into our devices and machines. Now, the global biometrics market is estimated to cost $44.1 billion by 2026.
Uses of Biometrics Today
Before we look too far ahead, let’s better understand the reach of biometrics today. When you consider the technology and its applications, we already have a wide range for it. It includes applications in the following areas.
Security and Authentication
Security is one of the leading applications for biometrics. For example, smartphones have fingerprint scanners and facial recognition features. The owner or user has to register his fingerprint on the sensor or hold up the phone to capture his face.
Other uses of biometric security extend to:
- Voice recognition
- Heart-rate sensors
- Iris recognition
- Retinal scanning
- Finger or palm geometry recognition
- Vein recognition
Are you curious to see how they work or where they’re applied? Learn more about biometric security and a few topics related to it.
If you’ve seen someone get arrested for a criminal offense, you might have also witnessed law enforcers take the biometrics of that person. Law enforcement agencies use facial recognition data, fingerprints, gait, and voice recognition to look for or track criminals and suspects.
Home assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri use voice recognition to identify the owner. They also use your vocal signature to carry out your commands, like locking doors. Google Home remembers the owner’s voice to keep unauthorized persons from accessing the smart home, and this application also involves a layer of security.
Access to Buildings and Facilities
Today, 62% of companies in North America and Europe use biometric automation to secure their facilities. Often, you see biometrics measures placed in rooms or areas that are only for employees’ use or access. Together with security, biometrics acts as a digital method of logging in and out of a building.
Hotels take their guests’ biometrics at check-in. While the guests are checked in, they can use their biometrics to enter their hotel room. Biometrics also extends to casinos and gambling centers. Their face recognition software detects banned players that want to enter the establishment.
The Future of Biometrics
As you can see, biometrics technology has already grown so much. Undoubtedly, it will continue progressing further. The developments we’re anticipating involve the following.
Say goodbye to credit and debit cards, and say hello to biometric authentication. With the smartphone technology we have today, we’re expecting improved contactless payment processes. All it will take to send or confirm payment is a biometric authentication on the user’s phone.
The travel industry can improve with the use of biometric technology like fingerprint and face recognition. Imagine how much more manageable and hassle-free traveling will be. You won’t need printed or digital tickets. Instead, you only need to bring yourself to the passenger boarding and baggage check-in areas.
Now, the biometric data gets stored in the devices that make biometrics possible. For example, your smartphone stores your fingerprint and facial recognition data locally only. Soon, we may also see this biometric data get integrated on a cloud instead of local storage.
However, there are concerns with a cloud-based biometric solution. The cloud is the internet, so placing the biometric data online can pose a security risk.
Do you enjoy shopping at a specific store or establishment? Facial recognition can now alert retailers of valued repeat customers when they enter a store. It gives the staff an idea of repeat customers’ preferences and what they’ll likely buy next.
On the other side of retail, biometrics can also help manage stock shrinkage. A retail business could use it to give selected staff members access to stock. You can also apply this use in-store to avoid customer theft.
In all of its applications, biometrics is creating more convenience for us. Considering how fast technology develops, we’ll most likely see even more advanced uses and applications of biometrics soon.