Biometrics… A Great Mystery

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Most people when asked the question” where do you work?” Can respond with an answer that everyone in the room clearly understands, however, in my case (working at a Biometric Time and Attendance company) I often find myself facing blank stares and having to explain the great mystery of “what” exactly is Biometrics.

While Apple has done a good job bringing Biometric technology to the forefront through their biometric fingerprint protected iPhones I often find that most people do not in actuality know what Biometrics is.

Aside from being associated to that doohickey that  you’ve seen open doors in spy films, the term “Biometrics” is actually derived from the Greek words “bio” meaning life and “metrics” meaning to measure. Advances in technology have made it possible to bring Biometric technology to life, the advancement of computer processors specifically has allowed for the emergence of Biometric systems and the safe like protection that it offers.

Biometrics if you think about it, is nothing new, it’s really a system based on ideas that have been around for thousands of years. The oldest and most basic example of Biometric profiling is something that has been used since seemingly the dawn of time, all the great Caesars imprinted this on their currency, it’s something not easily replaced…. The human face. Faces are something that until now were seen as unchangeable but, with the advancement of technology came plastic surgery …  with plastic surgery came… well, uncertainty. Within our modern society, Checking your local television listings will confirm this ongoing trend of radical physiological changes, with this topic becoming more of a mainstream topic for many shows on the air today. Biometrics therefore, must go beyond simple physical recognition.

Today Biometrics are used in thousands of electronics,  from cell phones to access control solutions for doors. But what exactly is Biometrics? 

Biometrics to some merely encompass fingerprint scanners, however, there’s much more to Biometrics than mere fingerprint scanning technology. Biometrics is actually the measurement of not only physiological features but also behavioral characteristics. This means, in laymen’s terms, that Biometric data collected from someone is separate and distinct from personal information. Even if Biometric information were to be stolen, it would be near impossible to recreate (as opposed to your personal information). The security behind Biometric technology makes it the ultimate security measure for businesses worldwide to date.What is Biometrics Finger

The world is turning to Biometric security for popular goods, from cell phones to computers it seems that the possibilities are endless. According to a study released by Technavio,a leading market research company, the biometric market is expected to grow by double digits by the year 2020.  Using a unique physical attribute of your body, such as the fingerprint or IRIS,  Biometric Identity Solutions allow for easy identification and verification of behavioral patterns and physiological features.

Companies are using Biometric technology to good effect, an example being Samsung’s use of  eye movements to revolutionize how phones are used. Data companies have  used Biometric recognition technology to mitigate virtual data threats and looking further Biometric technology implementation is becoming more prevalent in areas of high risk. Biometric technology is not something only limited to Jason Bourne spy films this real layer of security can be used within physical access locations to prevent terrorism and increase public safety. Now, I know what you must be thinking. “How can Biometrics help in so many areas?”

How does Biometric scanning technology work?

A Biometric system regardless of what is being scanned has two basic functions– it must first capture an image of your finger or IRIS (you can also capture distinctive behavioral patterns depending on the technology on hand). Biometrics patterns can
be captured by tying the distinctive patterns in movements associated to each human being. Conventional image biometric scanning devices must be able to measure the pattern of ridges and valleys in the pre-scanned images.

Only specific characteristics, which are unique to each scanned physical record, are filtered and saved as an encrypted biometric key or mathematical representation. This means NO IMAGE of any scanned physical characteristic is ever saved. The only stored information within a biometric scanner is a series of numbers (a binary code), which is used for accurate verification of personnel. The stored algorithm can never be reconverted to an image therefore, no one can ever duplicate your fingerprint!

The second function of biometric scanning technology is to measure the correlations between certain measurements, voice patterns, or behaviors depending on the technology in use. A reliable system is able to take measurements over a given area QUICKLY and ACCURATELY and provide you the measurements between the different correlations on the scanned area. The more measurements a system can take, the more points of reference the system will have to refer to; ensuring reliability and security as long as consistent measurements are continually made by the system.

At EasyClocking, we like to think we use the best fingerprint scanners in the world to ensure accurate time tracking of employees. Our biometric systems read 90,000 different points of reference per scan verifying your credentials in just under 1 second! Once correlations are measured and the system associates multiple matching patterns, your fingerprint is then authenticated and secured access or permissions is given.

Where will biometrics go from here?

At this point, the biometric world is constantly evolving. There are many new technologies being put in the forefront day-to-day, In ten years maybe the minority report vision of the future will come to fruition. With digital signage becoming more prevalent we may be one step away from personalized advertisements on our day to day all  powered by biometrics. Until that time comes, I will continue to enjoy the perks of conventional window shopping.

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