Technology is constantly surging ahead, even our smartphones are capable of things now that five years ago was unimaginable, or at the very least unrealistic.
Biometric technology is no different. From wheelchairs powered by a users smile to facial recognition passports, the future of biometric technology is almost assured to reshape our world.
The payment sector has already pioneered change with fingerprint biometric innovation, like Apple Pay or Google Pay where you verify payments using FaceID or a smartphone fingerprint scanner. More innovation is coming however with Natwest recently trialling a brand new bank card – one without a pin but instead relies on your fingerprint to verify transactions.
Beyond the payments sector, however, there are other ways in which biometric technology is changing our world…
Have you ever forgotten your ID for work or the code to get into your apartment building? Well, these inconveniences may soon be a thing of the past thanks to biometric technology.
Biometrics are replacing standard RFID card access with employee fingerprints. Employees, visitors and contractors can be provided access to sites and zones by presenting themselves, saving time, money and manual handling through self-service kiosks.
For industries such as manufacturing, secure access is absolutely crucial. Biometrics can ensure the integrity of production lines, allowing access to only those who are authorised to do so. Reporting and audit capability is also improved, with the ability to integrate data into your existing ERP, WH&S and HR systems.
For industries such as childcare, access to a facility is also a challenge that all centres must face. Again, biometrics can provide an additional level of control, allowing only authorised parents and guardians access to a facility. A strong biometric platform can also provide reporting capabilities, linking directly with systems such as a Child Care Management System (CCMS) to ensure compliance reporting, such as the staff to child ratio, is automated.
By using facial recognition, retailers can identify repeat customers as they enter the store, alerting staff that a valued customer has arrived. It can also allow retailers in high-end goods, such as fashion, to showcase products to a customer once they arrive at a store, a level of personalisation not yet seen.
Managing stock shrinkage is a huge challenge, costing $123.39bn USD to retailers in the USA alone. Using biometrics, retailers can provide an additional layer of capability, ensuring that access to stock by staff is restricted to those who require it. It also has applications in the store as a deterrent to customer theft.
So it’s clear to see that biometric technology has the potential to influence retail in a variety of different ways. By placing identity at the centre of a typical retail operation, companies can expect reduced risk, improved processes, decreased costs and enhanced customer experience.
Biometric technology in law enforcement?
Easily the most controversial addition to the list, Biometric technology in law enforcement will be a hotly debated topic for years to come. Its widespread use in China has divided opinion massively. Some believe it is the only way to improve on current techniques while others believe that biometric technology in law enforcement will usher in an era of ‘state surveillance’.
San Francisco is looking likely to be one of the first major cities to ban facial recognition in law enforcement. Citing that a ‘ lack of civilian oversight with the new surveillance technology is a matter of particular importance for the poor, people of colour, and those historically without power in our society’.