Biometrics technology is somewhat unusual in the access control realm in that it’s simultaneously old and new. It’s been around for more than 20 years as a viable alternative to plastic ID cards; yet it is still considered by some to be “bleeding edge” technology. For years companies have considered it as a possibility for certain applications but never seem to view it as having mainstream potential. I believe one main reason for that is a series of misconceptions on the part of the user — or even the integrator — about how it works, its implications and its cost. Perhaps dispelling some of the myths will take the mystery and fear away and allow potential users to evaluate biometric technology on its own merits.Here are the five most persistent incorrect “facts” about biometric technology today:
- Biometric devices capture private identification information about a user that could be shared or stolen.
False! There are two ways to capture and match fingerprints. The most well-known is AFIS, which is what the FBI and border patrol use. This technology takes a complete image of the fingerprint and puts it into a database. In contrast, the biometrics technology used by access control devices uses template matching,
which is a binary code made up of zeros and ones like any other computer code. The template is what is stored in the database and when someone places their finger on the reader, it is converted to a template to compare to that database. The actual fingerprint is not stored.
- Biometrics is a fad technology that never has been, and never will be mainstream.
False! Not only has biometric technology been around — and improving — for over 25 years, but also, with now fingerprint biometrics being standard on smartphones today, users are becoming used to the technology and appreciate its convenience. Biometrics has gone mainstream already, and it is just the beginning. With cybersecurity concerns and the rise of the Internet of Things, biometrics technologies that can better verify the identity of the user
and prevent fraud are here to stay. Continue Reading