Mobile Identity Month: The Role Of Flexibility

Last week as part of Mobile Identity Month at FindBiometrics we explored the concept of multimodality in mobile authentication. Of course, thanks to the recent mainstreaming of biometric technology, as well as major innovations in cost, size and availability, we now have the privilege of going beyond the concept and looking  into practice. There are mobile biometrics solutions out in the world right now, either being used or on track for deployment, and their modalities are incredibly diverse in order to meet today’s strong demand for flexibility.

Today we are going to look at four different modalities and the role they play in an identity landscape that demands flexibility.

Heartbeats, Wearables, Doors

Nymi’s VP of marketing and business development, Shawn Chance, at the BioConnect launch party in Toronto.

To start off, let’s take a look at one of the new and more surprising modalities: cardiac recognition. Nymi, a Toronto-based startup, has created a wearable device – the Nymi Band – which can read the unique biometric signature of its wearer’s heartbeat in order to offer persistent authentication. Over the past year, Nymi has received a lot of attention regarding its technology’s applications in mCommerce, recently hitting a milestone involving the world’s first payment authenticated via a user’s ECG reading.

It’s not all payments though.

Last night in Toronto, Nymi’s new CEO spoke at the BioConnect launch party – MCed by FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill – which was hosted by access control company Entertech Systems. Entertech and Nymi recently partnered with the goal of combining heart rate biometrics and next generation access control via the BioConnect platform. The convergence of wearable tech, biometrics and physical access is a powerful one, and it goes a long way in illustrating the versatility at play when mobility and biometrics converge.

Fingerprints, Smartphones, Google

Fingerprint LockFingerprint sensors are now standard on flagship smartphones, now that Google’s Nexus line of phones have begun to sport Nexus Imprint: the Android answer to Apple’s Touch ID. The fingerprint sensor is located on the back of both the LG manufactured Nexus 5X and Huawei’s Nexus 6P, and it authenticates payments and login requests while boasting lightening speed.

Underneath the branding though, Nexus ID will be familiar to regular readers of FindBiometrics: it’s a Fingerprint Cards OneTouch FPC1025 sensor running Precise BioMatch Mobile provided by Precise Biometrics. Fingerprint Cards and Precise work together often through a licensing agreement and as a result of their collaboration we have seen an incredible proliferation of fingerprint sensors on handsets, especially in Asia where the companies are especially prominent.

Irises, Rumors, Accolades

HiResFor a very long time iris biometrics on smartphones were more of a hopeful rumor than a reality. In the wake of Apple’s initial Touch ID announcement the Internet was scrambling to find out how Cupertino’s rivals would respond to the biometric innovation, and the possibility of Samsung embracing iris recognition spawned persistent speculation. Eventually Samsung would go with a fingerprint sensor on its flagship phones, with Microsoft and Fujitsu pioneering mobile iris biometrics for flagship consumer handsets, but the Korean OEM did make good on all the rumors.

In March, our sister site Mobile ID World reported that Samsung picked SRI International’s Iris on the Move (IOM) technology to be integrated into mobile devices, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. The integration has been a success too: just a few weeks ago the SRI’s licensing agreement with Samsung earned the iris biometrics company a prestigious award at the ASIS 2015 conference.

Flexibility, Modalities, Service Models

multimodal biometricsSingle modalities have their place, but a key component to the digital identity revolution is diversity in modality. Not only are certain modalities like face, voice and fingerprint each most appropriate for different applications on their own, but they can also be combined in a multi-factor fashion to increase security by orders of magnitude. This is where service models like those offered by ImageWare Systems come in.

The flexibility offered by ImageWare’s solutions is at work in the company’s partnership with Fujitsu, which resulted in the latter’s Biometrics-as-a-Service offering. Through its partnership, we can see applications across a wide range of vertical markets, each with its own unique demands, requiring a great deal of flexibility. Financial services, banking, healthcare and retail each have their own challenges, and BaaS solutions like the one offered by ImageWare and Fujitsu can address them.


Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout October as we continue to bring you a featured examination of mobile identity. Follow us on Twitter and tweet using the hashtag #FBMobile during Mobile Identity Month to be a part of the conversation.

Mobile Identity Month is made possible by our sponsors ImageWare Systems, Inc. and Precise Biometrics.


October 22, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter