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Amid worldwide lockdowns and unprecedented social distancing measures, it’s safe to say the first half of 2020 has unfolded in an unexpected way.
Many companies and technologies have had to take a back seat during the pandemic but for biometrics we truly see the benefits coming to the fore. It’s even been able to prove its worth as ‘a public good’, helping us all to make the large-scale shift to the “new normal”. From facilitating hygienic payments to enabling secure remote working, the value of biometrics has never been clearer.
Let’s take a closer look at the biggest news stories of the past few months and the trends that will shape the future.
It’s on the payment cards
Before the pandemic broke out, momentum was already beginning to gather behind biometric payment cards. Being certified by a major payment network in early January marked another notable milestone.
Since then, the case for biometric payment cards has only strengthened. Contactless has seen a rapid and likely permanent boost in uptake among hygiene-minded consumers seeking to minimize the necessity of physically entering PIN codes and touching shared payment terminals. Biometric payment cards will ride the contactless wave, too. This is because biometric trust solves the major obstacle to even wider contactless adoption: contactless spending limits. A security precaution, spending limits vary by region, but are typically set at around €50 – not enough to cover a family’s weekly grocery shopping. But with the added security of biometrics, such limits would be unnecessary: banks could completely remove contactless limits, offering their customers a safe, secure and easy way to pay, regardless of the amount.
The case for biometric cards was always a win-win, but adoption timelines are now accelerating, and anticipation for the next six months is already building. Commercialization of biometric bank cards will be the next stop, with BNP Paribas already announcing that its first biometric card will debut in Autumn 2020. In the medium term, biometrics will play a wider role in payments alongside other form factors, such as mobile and wearables, creating one harmonized, frictionless, and secure user experience.
Working from wherever
Still, it’s technology which has done a lot of the heavy-lifting to enable this with ever more sophisticated access solutions – biometric authentication systems included. Combining robust security with flexibility and convenience, biometric solutions can facilitate secure access to work devices and data, wherever an employee is. Not only do they remove the necessity of remembering PINs and passwords (and the possibility of misplacing an access card or fob), but they are highly adaptable, allowing for example instant personalized access to a shared home device, such as a family PC.
While the immediate future still remains uncertain, more flexible ways of working are likely to endure beyond the pandemic, particularly among a millennial workforce which favors agile, digital working. Likewise, hygienic authentication both in and outside the office space looks to be in it for the long haul. Access solutions to buildings, offices and hospitals with touchless biometrics using face or iris, or via contactless biometric access cards, are becoming even more vital to remove the need for a shared sensor or PIN-pad.
Biometric solutions are growing thanks to their ability to remove our worries, being that rare example of a technology that is secure as well as convenient and easy to use.
And it’s only set to continue. With the expanding IoT market and the development of smart cities, biometrics will soon become part of the fabric of the physical and digital world we move through.
It’s certainly brought even greater excitement to our work at Fingerprints, as current trends are set to shape our wider world in the years to come and we’ll continue on our path to change the everyday lives for consumers around the world for the better.