Today we’ve published our Annual Report for 2017. Besides the financial overview of 2017 it contains some interesting reading about the fingerprint market development and our business. One sample is the interview below with Fredrik Sjöholm our Senior Sales Director and responsible for business development.
Recent years, the interest in biometrics have increased in a number of different areas. “We have exciting times ahead of us, and Precise Biometrics is well positioned for the changes waiting around the corner,” says Fredrik Sjöholm, who is responsible for business development at Precise Biometrics.
One clear trend in Precise Biometrics’ primary focus area, fingerprint technology for mobile devices, is solutions with ultrasound and optical sensors, which are now starting to be integrated into mobile phones. “This is being driven by the trend towards mobile phones with full-screen displays. Placing the sensor beneath the display enhances the user experience as you get a bigger screen, and the manufacturing process is also made simpler as you don’t need to create cutouts for the sensor in the display. This opens up more business opportunities for us, as our algorithm solution work with all sensor technologies. We have close collaboration with many of our customers in order to help them bring these new sensors to market,” says Fredrik Sjöholm.
Smart cards are another area where interest in biometrics is growing rapidly. “Putting a fingerprint sensor in a card is an ideal solution for contactless payments. It’s easier for the user to verify a payment by simply placing their finger on the card instead of having to key in a PIN code. You can also perform contactless payments even for bigger amounts, which are limited at present,” Fredrik Sjöholm.
Banks and card issuers see biometric payment cards as a way to enhance the security of contactless payments and thereby reduce the risk of fraud. It is also a new, innovative technology, which is attractive for card manufacturers as it increases value of their offering. A number of market tests of biometric payment cards are currently ongoing, and Precise Biometrics is involved in many of these. “Working with smart cards is in our DNA. We’ve been working with this for just over 20 years and have leading technology in this area. Efficient algorithms are crucial if biometric cards, with their very limited hardware platform, are going to provide a good user experience with high security,” says Fredrik Sjöholm.
He is seeing a few more trends as the use of biometrics spreads to more and more areas. “Biometrics used to be a way of identifying fraudsters and criminals and was used primarily by the police and various authorities, for example to check IDs at border checkpoints. Acceptance among consumers hasn’t been particularly high. The use of fingerprint technology in mobile phones has made biometrics acceptable to the general public, and biometrics is increasingly becoming a form of authentication for both consumers and within companies. This opens up opportunities for a new kind of use for biometrics, where in addition to simply being used for identification, it’s a way of personalizing the things we interact with, for example cars and smart homes,” says Fredrik Sjöholm.
Another trend is multi-factor authentication to protect payments and the use of financial services against fraud and identity theft, areas that are increasingly governed by various regulations. “Biometrics is ideal for meeting the tougher requirements on secure authentication without making the process more complicated for the customer. The combination of something that you are, such as your fingerprint, and something you have, such as your phone, is a much faster and more secure way to verify yourself compared with passwords, PIN codes or other similar systems. The next step is multi-factor authentication based on biometric modalities, in which fingerprint technology is supplemented with, for example, facial recognition or behavioral biometrics,” says Fredrik Sjöholm.
“The launch of both Apple and Android smartphones with facial recognition will likely result in our smart mobile devices being equipped with more biometric modalities for authentication. We’re keeping a very close eye on this development,” concludes Fredrik Sjöholm.