Next evolution in biometric authentication and digital identity – reflections from CEO, Stefan K Persson

As the pace of change continues in the biometric industry, momentum has been building during the eight months since Stefan K Persson took up his appointment as CEO of Precise. Next month he is speaking at Biometric Summit New York 2019 on 4th April about how biometrics will transform digital identity authentication.  In this blog Stefan shares his expectations for the coming months around digital identity.

Precise has been active in the biometrics industry for over two decades. We are well known for our leadership in developing high quality fingerprint solutions, initially with hardware for physical access and more recently, software for mobile devices and smart cards. I’ve been following biometrics for many years, watching how the technology and its applications have matured over time, so I’ve been excited by how quickly the changes are happening for the adoption of biometrics all over the world. Reflecting on the past eight months since I arrived at Precise, I think that the analysis I did prior to coming on-board is even truer now, it’s happening so much in different industries and how they are using biometrics is really amazing.

Biometrics are going to be everywhere and are already becoming a natural part of our lives, expanding beyond smartphones into new applications, such as smart cards, wearables, cars and door locks. We are expecting the first commercial launches of contactless biometric payment cards this year and we are already experiencing biometrics in automotive. Recently Hyundai announced that in one of its new models the driver will be able to use fingerprint biometrics to unlock the car, start the engine and adjust settings in the vehicle, providing a greater user experience for its customers.

As we constantly strive to make our everyday lives easier, convenience has become one of the key factors when choosing a product or service. Often however, when convenience is prioritized then the security is compromised or vice versa; the challenge is to find the right balance between these two factors – by using biometrics you can get both. Security can easily be enhanced by using multiple biometrics such as face, fingerprint, voice etc. without affecting convenience.

As a wide range of devices are increasingly being equipped with sensors and smart technology, this opens up the opportunity to create very strong digital identities. By gathering data of what makes you unique, for example your fingerprint, face or voice together with how you behave and where you are, it becomes possible to create an identity profile that is extremely hard to replicate and spoof. And in the future, we’ll become even more digital, as for example our digital IDs will replace current ID documents such as passports.

To get ready for this new world, we have used our extensive experience in biometrics to develop a product for verification of digital identity. We recognized that there are many companies working with fingerprint, or face, or voice, or behaviour, or iris, but there are very few working with a total system. Our new product – Precise YOUNiQ – combines multiple biometric technologies with other types of smart technology to provide convenient and secure verification and authentication of digital identity which in turn, enables modern, everyday life to be easier and more secure.

As we are using digital services more frequently the need for convenient and secure identity authentication increases, for example in mobile banking. With the extended version of YOUNiQ we can enable easy and secure digital onboarding of customers including identification. By using multiple biometrics the user can also be continuously authenticated, which means the authentication is being carried out in the background, passively. If you have a “normal” behavior when using the application you will be able to authenticate without any actions required, but if your behavior suddenly deviates from the usual, you will be asked to confirm your identity with your fingerprint or face – increasing customer convenience without compromising the security.

If customer convenience is the main priority, we are able to provide fast and easy selfie log-in to any digital service with our light version of YOUNiQ. By changing password and code authentication to selfie the log-in process can be more convenient, fast and fun – enhancing the user experience of the digital service in a secure way.

We are not running all the biometric algorithms by ourselves; we have been able to build this modularity because of our established history and deep knowledge in biometrics and by working with partners who are experts. The southern part of Sweden is a fantastic location to be in because we have a wide pool of talented engineers, with many years of experience of building complex systems for mobile phones at companies such as Ericsson and Sony.  This really is an exciting new opportunity for Precise and as you can imagine, I’m looking forward to being part of the momentum as it increases in the coming months and years. Do come and join me at Biometric Summit New York 2019 on 4th April to hear more.