Where might I encounter ‘biometrics’ in everyday life?

Biometric technology is increasingly becoming part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Yet many of us would be hard pushed to point out when we last used the technology. This is due to the fact that there are so many use cases for biometrics found in various day-to-day scenarios that we barely even register when we’re using this relatively new form of identification.

So, what is biometrics? Well, in a nutshell, biometrics is a convenient and secure way of identifying ourselves purely by using the biological markers that are unique to us, such as fingerprints, faces and voices.

As a species, we have always identified each other using physical characteristics. Biometric technology harnesses that distinctly human instinct for the purposes of security, privacy and identification.

So where are biometrics used?

Airports

Many of us who have travelled by air in the last few years will be familiar with the idea of using our faces to verify ourselves when going through e-Passport Gates at airports. Automating elements of the passenger journey through the airport and reducing the number of human touchpoints at security, for example, has actually slashed processing times by 80%.

Smartphones

We’re all familiar with the idea of using fingerprints and our faces to unlock our smartphones – thanks to the ubiquity of the likes of Apple’s FaceID  technology – but did you know that this tech is all part of the biometrics family? Typically used in combination with more traditional security options – like pins or passwords – biometrics add a much-needed extra level of security to our mobiles.

Banking

Banking apps increasingly rely upon some form of biometric ID for users to access them. In most cases, the biometric identification used to logon to the app is stored on the device itself, meaning that users don’t need to worry about hackers getting access to a centralised pot of user data.

Furthermore, biometrics can now be found embedded in your debit or credit banking card, allowing you to quickly and securely make contactless payments that are above the standard limit. Users are able to authorise contactless transactions by simply placing a finger on the card at the Point-of-Sale.

Citizen registration

Various countries have started turning to biometrics to streamline the process of citizen enrollment for the likes of voting. This has been key in the fight against voter fraud, for example, as unique biometric identifiers have helped significantly cut down its possibility.

What’s next for biometrics?

As well as numerous areas where biometric technology is already taking root, there are also a variety of other sectors where its benefits could be felt. The rise of silent authentication, for example, will mean that people can be identified and verified based on passive behavioral biometrics such as the way you use your phone with total security, without having to consciously enter any details or follow prompts. In the future, this could mean unlocking your smart car simply by being near it or shopping online without having to enter any security details.

As always, we’ll keep our ears to the ground and bring you the latest in biometric technology as it emerges. For similar posts on this topic, you might want to check out some of the following: