December 16, 2013 – by Peter B. Counter
There are two types of friction when it comes to biometric identity management: friction the end-user experiences on the transactional side of things, and friction that stands between a solution and its deployment. The former type can vary. Even though the ideal end-user situation is zero friction solution, allowances can be made when it comes to areas of critical importance that simply need the highest level of security. But when it comes to deployment, there is absolutely no allowance that can be made for friction in implementing a biometric security system.
The most common obstacles associated with biometric security deployment are cost, modality and interoperability. Hardware needs to be purchased, as does software, massive training initiatives need to be undertaken by organizations wanting to upgrade their systems to what is quickly becoming standard. Or, at least this is the common conception, but luckily innovations in cloud technology and new attitudes toward offering services instead of final products is changing this.
Imageware Systems and Fujitsu have been collaborating in this arena to offer biometric security as a service. The end purpose is to provide multimodal, scalable biometric identity management to financial service providers, retail spaces, the healthcare industry and other sectors including manufacturing. The partners have developed a cloud based biometric platform that is agnostic, allowing subscribers to stick with whichever modality best suits their business, be it face, voice, fingerprint, iris or others.
Fujitsu is calling this attitude towards deployment “biometrics as a service” which is a play on the software as a service or SaaS model that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. The subscription method offered by Imageware and Fujitsu can support over 50 biometric devices, and supports 12 different biometric models. This last feature is brought to the table via Imageware’s biometric engine, which when combined with Fujitsu’s cloud technology, can allow enterprises to take advantage of even the newest smart mobile devices for a sort of BYOD security option.
“We continue to collaborate with ImageWare because we see a growing need among our customers to securely identify and authenticate data that is important for enterprise businesses, while also addressing IT demands leveraging easily-deployed, scalable, cloud-based solutions” said David Berry, executive vice president, Infrastructure Services at Fujitsu, explaining the demand for this sort of flexible solution. “We are in a unique position to work with established and emerging markets to define and diversify how biometric solutions and services are utilized – whether it’s preventing fraud at financial institutions or using voice recognition via mobile devices to investigate criminal activity.”
The pairing of Fujitsu and Imageware to such an end makes sense, and underlines a key attitude that is emerging in identity management, especially now that mobility is driving the industry in such a dynamic way. Interoperability is beginning to emerge in the discussion of end-to-end authentication solutions.
A wide variety of options are already available for enterprises and even individual users when it comes to biometric protection. Fujitsu has its hands in quite a few, including access control for laboratories, palm-vein payment solutions and fingerprint sensors on laptops. The fact of the matter is that identity is not a concept that can be simply contained, especially with mobile devices capable of measuring many if not potentially all forms of human identifiers. “Biometrics as a service” is a concept that serves a broad audience, and stands to gain quite a bit of traction in the new year as collaboration starts to take center stage thanks to consortia with similar attitudes towards multimodality.