March is Mobile Biometrics Month at FindBiometrics, and therefore we are dedicating our featured articles section to the topic of mobility for the next four weeks. It’s been five years since the mobile revolution kicked off, launching biometric authentication into the mainstream thanks to the introduction of fingerprint sensors on premium smartphones. Since then, the biometrics landscape has evolved into a diverse, dynamic and accessible technology space, with mobility and connectivity enabling sky-high levels of proliferation and market ubiquity. Post-mobile revolution biometrics are quickly becoming a part of everyday life.
To start Mobile Biometrics Month off on the right note, we have compiled a primer to help familiarize you with the biggest trends, ideas and technologies in the world of mobile ID, biometry and strong authentication.
Mobile Biometric Proliferation
It seems like just yesterday that Apple was announcing Touch ID on its iPhones, but that was 2013, and since then the consumer mobile biometrics landscape has changed completely. The scramble to emulate Apple in the ensuing months and years created a massive boom in smartphone fingerprint sensor integrations, and competition sparked innovation in biometric software, allowing organizations like banks to take advantage of the exciting new technology, offering strong authentication to users with older non-biometric phones. Fast-forward to today and there is practically no such thing as a non-biometric phone. Fingerprint sensors went from novelty to standard-issue, and now Apple has abandoned them in favor of sophisticated 3D facial recognition. Samsung pioneered mobile iris recognition, which it now offers as part of a multimodal contactless solution, and Vivo marked itself as a major player in the space by launching the world’s first smartphone with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Biometrics aren’t sci-fi anymore. They are readily available and used daily to a point where consumers now have the choice of which biometrics they prefer when deciding on their next mobile handset. The following articles will provide you with a snapshot of the consumer mobile biometrics industry as it stands right now in all its multimodal glory:
The Voice of the Industry at MWC 2018
It is in the aforementioned climate of consumer mobile biometric proliferation that this year’s Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona. FindBiometrics was there reporting live from the show floor. Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics conducted live interviews at the event, speaking to industry executives about the current state of mobile biometrics in finance, government, border control, enterprise and more. Follow the link below to find a full list of interviews from MWC 2018 with representatives from Precise Biometrics, Nok Nok Labs, Daon, ImageWare, Aware, Sensory, IDEMIA, Fingerprint Cards, IDEX, MEXIA, FIDO Alliance, Trustonic, Suprema, Princeton Identity, MicroStrategy, HID Global, Iris ID and GSMA:
The Customer Experience
One of the trends solidifying itself in the mobile biometrics world is the paramount importance of optimal customer experience. Convenience has always been the selling point for consumers, despite the fact that biometrics are most importantly a security measure. Now, with biometrics at their most mainstream, they are helping define the user experience. In my recent interview with Money20/20 USA Chief Content Officer Andrew Morris, he talks about how optimal user experiences are the driving force in FinTech and the different ways biometrics have embedded themselves in the process of providing said experiences:
The New Fingerprint Form Factor
In the world of fingerprint sensors, smartphone ubiquity has necessitated a pivot to new markets. In 2017 it became clear that this next frontier for mobile fingerprint biometrics would be the smart card, and now, in the first quarter of 2018, that is still true. Major fingerprint sensor manufacturers are collaborating en-masse with financial institutions and service providers on biometric credit card projects that are expected to reach widespread commercialization later this year.
Learn more about the card-based future of mobile fingerprint authentication with the following links:
Face of the Future
Just as Touch ID popularized smartphone fingerprint scanning, Apple’s replacement biometric on its 2017 luxury iPhone X – Face ID – is creating a wave of enthusiasm for facial recognition. But that’s not the only pro-face factor, remote onboarding solutions that enable users to open accounts with banks, and gaming operators, and government services are experiencing a golden age of their own – leveraging facial recognition and document reading to optimize customer satisfaction and help relying parties meet KYC regulations. Furthermore, as a contactless modality, face biometrics is finding its place in the IoT market, providing identification capabilities to connected objects.
Here’s a look at how mobility and facial recognition are working together today:
Proof of Life
Connectivity and artificial intelligence have given rise to opportunity, but have also opened the door to new threats of fraud. That’s why we are seeing such a strong emphasis on liveness detection and proof-of-humanity in the world of mobile biometrics. Liveness detection algorithms are increasingly being integrated into biometric solutions in order to thwart presentation attacks, and behavioral biometrics are working behind the scenes even after login, to ensure you are who you say you are. After all, successful fraud attempts occur, by definition, within authenticated sessions.
Beyond the Locked Screen
Mobility is integral to modern life, and as such, biometric conversations lean toward the quotidian. But it’s important to remember that in addition to enhancing the every day user experience, mobility broadens the biometrics’ range of application. As evidenced in the articles below, mobility is enabling the deployment of biometrics in healthcare, finance, military, government and arts marketing applications.
A Tale of Two Paradigms
Central to the mobile biometrics conversation is the question of matching paradigm: are biometrics best matched on device or on a secure server (aka. ‘In the cloud’). Both paradigms have their supporters and detractors, and friction between those who prefer one method over the other has persisted for the better part of a decade. Of course, the issue is much more nuanced than simply picking a side, and the following articles will help you understand what’s at stake when we authenticate on mobile devices.
Stay posted to FindBimetrics throughout March as we continue to delve into today’s dynamic mobile biometrics landscape. Sign up for our upcoming webinar, New Frontiers in Mobile Biometrics, to see how it all comes together in an expert panel discussion.
March 8, 2018 – by Peter B. Counter