Is Biometrics The Future For Smartphones?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 24, 2016


While the finger print scanner and even the iris scanner in some cases, were deemed to be very latest feature of premium handsets, the scenario seems to have changed considerably now. Phones in the mid-range price have started to boast of this feature, courtesy Le Eco, and the brands which cater to this segment. And the waves seem to have reached the highest government authorities too.

At the ongoing Indian Mobile Diwali event, the Additional Secretary of the Department of Information Technology (DeITY), urged mobile manufacturers to add biometric features such as iris and fingerprint scanning, which will further the government’s well-aimed ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns.

The government is taking technology in its stride certainly very well, as mentioned in an ET report, which mentions a meeting between government officials at executives from companies like Samsung, Google, Micromax, Apple, Microsoft, to discuss ways to integrate India biometric driven Aadhaar programme to a more secure platform on hand-held devices, but security and privacy concerns were deemed at major roadblocks then.

The industry focus

The industry for biometrics alone is gathering huge numbers, perhaps because of the fact that it takes care of security, privacy, and the process of authentication to best possible ways, in a consumer friendly manner. In terms of numbers, a report by Biometrics Research Group, states that the projects on biometrics will generate about $9 billion equivalent revenue by 2018, but by 2020, the numbers will climb even more exponentially to $45 billion.


Read more: Biometric Sensor Market To Touch $1.83 Bn By 2024: Study

They also mention, that the number of users of biometric users in smartphones, will touch 2 billion by 2020. At the current pace, the market has a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 20.1%. By 2020, the research story also points out, that virtually all mobile devices, will be biometric ready, which is actually an IBM prediction in 2010, which said that biometrics would ultimately provide all authentication capabilities for mobile users, within 5 years.

The main drivers of the trend will be, the fact that more people are doing their banking transactions on their mobile handsets, and also that the BYOD (bring your own device) culture seems to be spreading on the enterprise side as well. This is what is expected to push the biometric authentication standardization, including the one provided by FIDO Alliance which has some of the major brand names as partners. Most devices have input sensors like cameras, microphones, and touchscreens, which help with sophisticated and personal multimedia interactions already, but which could also be replicated on the mobile devices for commercial and financial transactions.

With implicit and explicit authentication made possible, sensors such the GPS chips, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, barometers, and even accelerometers can play a very crucial role in explicit authentication process, coupled with implicit and risk-based authentication techniques.

According to a report in IT Pro Portal, which details out what the near future would be like, points out to the fact that passwords are not working, especially using the case of HSBC Bank. In fact, according to the mentioned details, HSBC had made an biometric announcement, to secure user transactions as passwords were becoming increasingly redundant. Either too long to remember, or too easily stolen an entity, passwords are making way for biometrics, which also takes the case of BYOD on an enterprise level, a feasible part of the future.


Read more: Govt To Drive Adoption Of Iris Technology

With more devices being used in enterprises, the demand for authenticity alongside authentication and access management remain relevant challenges. This trend has also come about considering that using mobile devices and the BYOD culture in general, has made work more productive and flexible than ever before, which creates an environment for biometrics to be used.

 The way forward

 It is quiet clear that the future is all about mobile and mobility, and biometrics has a role to play in it. It is thus most crucial to adopt a mobile friendly biometric strategy, which has some main suggestive principles to be followed to be made feasible.

- Ensuring that biometric authentication is extended to all mobile devices like tablets and phones, and is not always a new strategy altogether. This allows for proper cohesion to come into the system, and can even help security staff to change access status, should any device on the network be compromised.

- User friendly interfaces are just as important. Though there are some applications being used for desktop and other PCs, the mobile interfaces are either old, or have no route plan on modernizing and changing the interface to mobile friendly co-ordination.

- Adaptive authentication should be a common factor, especially because different groups of people, need different levels of access to data and information related to work. While some work on sensitive information, some would do perfectly with non-critical or non-sensitive data, setting different levels of required authenticity would not only help monitor operations, but keep an eye on security in compromising situations as well.