With the 19th Annual FindBiometrics Year in Review now concluded – culminating in a Virtual Identity Summit and expert analysis report – it is time to look to what’s next in identity and biometrics. The past two years were utterly transformative for the identity industry. For FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World, that transformation included the expansion of our workforce. In December we officially welcomed the newest industry expert to our team: Doug OGorden, Director of Digital Media and Events, FindBiometrics & Mobile ID World.
OGorden is a veteran expert in physical access control, security, and robotics. An intrepid interviewer, he represents FindBiometrics & Mobile ID World at industry events – be they physical, virtual, or hybrid — interviewing the biometrics experts from the show floor, where all the most critical conversations in digital identity and access begin. He took a break from co-hosting the ID Talk Podcast to introduce himself and give his expert opinion on what makes biometrics so crucial in our current moment of digital transformation.
You have a strong background in physical security and robotics, which has a lot of overlap in the world of biometrics and identity. What drew you to our industry?
Doug OGorden, Director of Digital Media and Events, FindBiometrics & Mobile ID World: I want to be part of solving a major challenge currently facing every business today: proving who you are. As you mentioned, much of my professional background is in sales and marketing consulting in the physical security industry. Since 2006 I’ve been working with suppliers/vendors, distributors, integrators, end-users and consultants in the video and access control markets. What I’ve seen is that the digital transformation underway in the enterprise is leading to a converged attitude toward physical and logical access. Those two traditionally separate worlds are coming together and their meeting mount is identity. The solution is a frictionless, trusted, mobile experience… and it’s going to change the world!
The biggest reason I became interested in the biometrics and identity space? It’s the industry’s biggest issue right now: privacy, ethics, and best practices. Having personally lived through the beginnings of the IP video market, I know first hand how critical it is to educate the public on success stories, proper implementation, and advances in new technology. FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World are the leading sources for this type of educational news, analysis, and editorial content, so that’s why I’m excited to be here.
We’re at a time in history of major tech adoption – both home and business – that is moving us out of our current Flintstones lifestyle and into a Jetsons future. Robots and biometrics have helped get us here! All of it is attracting front page news coverage across the world. Depending on what channel you watch the discussion is that we’re either in a “Technology Devolution” or at the beginning of an “Industry 4.0 Revolution.” The way I see it, the COVID-19 pandemic has given us all a lot of extra time to reset and to find the best way for humankind to move ahead without having us take too many steps backward.
As we go back to work and begin to travel again we will begin to see these technologies in everyday life. A lost driver’s license doesn’t mean a day spent at the DMV anymore. An in-law with dementia can have better interactions with the nursing staff thanks to trusted electronic health records. Financial peace of mind is possible, knowing that my identity is needed to confirm a high-ticket purchase. I can avoid long lines at the airport or concession stands at a major sporting event. I can even confirm a false alarm on my home security system, and all of this can be made safe, secure, frictionless and trusted with biometrics.
My only concern – and this is the thing that keeps me up at night – is “the digital divide” and accessibility. How will we be able to implement all this great technology to everyone?
What are some of the trends you are most excited about in the biometrics and identity industry?
Doug OGorden: The efficiency and convenience part of the equation is the most exciting to me. The convergence of physical and logical access we talked about is a major game changer for how we work and live, and that will have a ripple effect. With biometric security at the front desk, organizations won’t have to rely as much on security guards. Key cards will be a thing of the past, which obviously has environmental benefits while also minimizing the administrative toll associated with lost, stolen, or worn-out credentials.
On a personal level, the mobility aspect is very cool. Biometric wearables are helping us know our bodies better and stay healthy, while IoT and smart home/city technology is going to make everyday life more intuitive. Fewer barriers and less friction means more human connection. After two years of isolation and distance I think we should all be excited about that.
As our Director of Digital Media and Events you have been all over the USA covering the most important biometrics and identity-adjacent conferences. What are some of the highlights from the events you’ve attended for FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World?
Doug OGorden: It’s been amazing meeting people face-to-face. That’s the only way to make real connections and lasting relationships. I have been conducting pop-up interviews at all the shows I attend for the ID Talk Podcast, which pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is something I really enjoy. Challenges like these interviews are great opportunities for self improvement, and I really have gotten much better at them. Now that I’m a professional podcaster, I’m thinking about starting a new podcast called “Pain in my Access” to discuss the physical and logical security issues we have today.
We just launched our 19th Annual Year in Review analysis report. What’s your take on some of the document’s findings? Any surprises or actionable insights?
Doug OGorden: The biggest research item that stands out for me is with the hottest areas of application. Almost half of respondents – 47 percent – indicated financial services or enterprise (including remote work) were the most exciting verticals. That pretty much makes up the entire corporate world! This shows that the convergence of physical and logical access control is finally here. For some people this is already the reality, but soon walking through the front door of your office building and turning on your computer with a biometric will be normal. No more lost or stolen keycards means a safer office environment plus less plastic waste in landfills. There will be less door hardware to upgrade, service, or maintain. No more 1-2-3-4-5 passcodes at the door or “password123” passwords at the workstations. We will achieve a frictionless, mobile experience that keeps the right people in AND the bad actors out!
My take on the industry is “almost anything can be a biometric.” When I tell people that typing on your keyboard can identify you, they are amazed! Walking with a cellphone in your pocket can notify security at a stadium that you’ve had too much to drink. Your heartbeat could theoretically authenticate you, which would grant you access to a secure area of a building in a continuous and passive manner.
Overall the Year in Review is great information. And it leads to more discussion on the state of biometrics which is right where FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World want to be. I can’t wait to see what The 20th Anniversary Year in Review data will show us!
Looking ahead, where do you see the most growth for the biometrics and identity industries in the next few years?
Doug OGorden: I see government and financial working out their current woes. Both will agree with the benefits of the technology, and that will help us continue to see increased adoption levels. Travel and entertainment markets are hot right now, we are seeing many new product launches in this category. Healthcare will be the next big market, with telemedicine and consumer wearables helping the expansion.
I attended CES this year, where the big trends were mobility and the shared economy. I asked small, medium, and large exhibitors one question: “How are you ID verifying or authenticating people using your mobile app without passwords?” This approach led to many ‘deer in headlights’ expressions. Many people who directly deal with user identity haven’t even given it much thought. This is why education is so important. We’re hoping to moderate a panel on the topic during CES 2023.
Looking way ahead, here’s my 2050 prediction: ID verifying and authenticating people in the metaverse will be a challenge that I haven’t heard much talk about yet. I hope that I’m around to see what that looks like. For now, let’s try and get the physical world’s IDv and authentication issues worked-out before we go virtual.
Our next virtual event is on the topic of travel and hospitality. What can attendees expect from that event and how can biometrics vendors in that space get involved?
Doug OGorden: Travel is back! And on May 18 we’re excited to share the many identity, authentication, and biometrics technologies that are being implemented at air, land, and sea ports, as well as stadiums, casinos, hotels, and restaurants in order to give travelers a true touchless, frictionless, mobile travel experience, while enhancing operational efficiency, safety, and security.
The phrase “curb to gate” is pretty ubiquitous when it comes to airport passenger experience these days, but it’s evolving into “keyboard to couch.” This more accurately describes the entire customer travel experience as it happens, from booking your travel plans to everything else that occurs – hotel check-in, entertainment, restaurants, duty free – while you are away.
We’re excited to open the conversation up to as many related topics as we can – from safety and security measures to new ways to increase revenue and customer loyalty by providing an amazing new experience.
Pass it on: our events are open to everyone. We’d love to share as many identity industry success stories as we can, so others can learn how to apply these solutions for their own benefit. And finally, I’d like to close with a shameless plug – if you are interested in participating as a sponsor, reach out to me, Doug OGorden, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Doug, happy to have you as part of the team!