Last week I attended Biometric Summit New York 2019 to speak about how biometrics will transform digital identity authentication. As I listened to Alan Goode of Goode Intelligence speak about the balance between ‘creepy versus convenient’ in his keynote, and to the themes coming out of the panels and presentations throughout the day, I reflected that it is essential that the biometrics industry gets the balance between security and convenience right if we are to ensure future success for the industry. We have a great opportunity right now to develop and deliver responsible solutions that really do help to enhance daily lives while keeping people safe and secure.
Daily lives are of course changing and it is therefore important that industry keeps a watch on what is coming in the future as well as what is needed today. For example, many of us will be used to having a traditional bank account and ways of banking, including speaking to or even visiting a bank branch from time to time, even though we might normally only use online services or an app on our smartphone or device. For younger generations however it is quite different. I shared the example of my 19-year-old daughter with the audience who has recently lost her mobile phone. This meant she was not able to access her bank account since all the credentials to do this were on the phone. When I suggested she should use the physical token to access her account, well that had been lost – it hadn’t been perceived as an item of value so wasn’t stored away carefully. So she needed to go to the bank branch in person to regain access. But no, she has never been to the bank branch, in fact she doesn’t know where it is and certainly does not want to be bothered by the inconvenience of doing that…you can see the point of my story! The success of technology solutions we provide will depend on the level of convenience they deliver both today and in coming years, for diverse audiences of consumers. And at the same time, biometric technologies have the exciting potential to make sure the digital identity of these same consumers are kept safe and that the services they use meet the convenience criteria that modern life requires.
As Dave Benini from Aware explained in his presentation ‘Rethinking the Blink’, passwords belong to the past. We need to provide modern solutions and products for 21st century requirements. Sometimes that means really strong security requirements, for example when we are carrying out banking transactions or at other times, convenience will be the main driver in instances when security is a lower requirement. ID R&D’s CEO Alexey Khitrov made a great statement that ‘Good UX = No UX’, meaning that the less people have to consciously do in actions such as authentication and the more friction is reduced, then the better the experience is. This resonated with me and what we are looking to achieve through our new product Precise YOUNiQ. We’ve used our expertise to develop this as an increasing number of services require login through different devices, demand is increasing for the protection of digital identities in our ever more connected world and as I’ve already mentioned, there is a real need to replace current authentication solutions which require PIN-codes or passwords. Precise YOUNiQ is a highly flexible product that can be used in a range of circumstances from very simple where onboarding and authentication is done purely by replacing a password or PIN by a selfie taken with your phone when security is needed but convenience is key, right through to combining a number of different biometric modalities to ensure very high security as well as unparalleled lever of convenience. By using multiple biometrics the user can also be continuously authenticated – passively in the background. “Normal” behavior enables authentication to services without any actions being required from the user, but if behavior suddenly deviates from the usual, then the user’s identity will need to be reconfirmed by fingerprint, face or other biometric modalities – increasing customer convenience without compromising the security.
We’re working on making sure that we are as close as possible to the end customer so we understand thoroughly how they interact with the technology, so we can meet their needs. Read more in my interview for Biometric Summit New York 2019. Right now we are piloting Precise YOUNiQ, we are very excited about this, so look out for the results in a future blog in couple of months’ time.