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7 things you never knew about biometrics

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Biometrics used to be something only found in science-fiction movies, but today it is all around us. GREG SARRAIL highlights seven biometric technology secrets.

Biometrics used to be the kind of technology that people saw in sci-fi movies starring Tom Cruise and an unidentifiable plot line where his unique identity saved the day. Today, biometric solutions are everywhere where extra security is needed and people use them without a worry in the world. It is the perfect solution for individual authentication, keyed to unique and special physical characteristics that cannot be used by someone else. Here are seven biometric slices of brilliance that not many people know about this remarkable field…

1. Biometrics is not always about identity

Sometimes a biometric solution is only there to prove the existence of an anonymous person. A great example is at theme parks where the biometric solutions don’t care who you are, only that your ticket hasn’t been used by multiple people. It’s not all about you‚Ķ

2. It lasts forever

The data that is gathered from you is universal, permanent, measurable, accurate and convenient. You don’t need to worry about someone else wandering in to your private files or accounts because they don’t have your eye or finger pattern, those are all yours. And biometrics can grant you access to systems and solutions keyed to your identity for the rest of your life.

3. Biometrics is more than fingers

You can use biometrics to accurately gauge the identity of a person using their fingerprints, sure, and that is one of the most common methods that you will see. However, there are systems that can use your eyes, ears, feet, face, teeth, veins, voice, signatures and even scent. In fact, Intel has just started television advertisements for facial recognition. (Read more about it here.)

4. Biometrics enhances your privacy

A lot of people think that by handing over their biometric identity, they are exposing their private lives to others. The reverse is actually true. Thanks to rich biometric solutions, only you can log into the file or account that has your personal biographical information such as birth date or home address. It takes privacy to a new level and keeps your things where they should be, with you.

5. Biometrics saves money

Yeah, you’re thinking that this is just a corporate spin on an expensive investment, but actually the fact that it is so secure and so difficult to spoof (the good ones are, anyway) it means that your bank account is safer, which means less chance of fraud, which means that the time, hassle and money lost thanks to fraud are problems you don’t have to worry about.

6. The technology can be used everywhere

Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters to some degree in all aspects of our lives, and biometrics can quickly and conveniently answer the question so we can get on with our busy days.

7. Biometrics is cool, again

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel and more – the big names in the business are all introducing biometric solutions into their consumer products. They may not be as robust and secure as a Lumidigm device used by your local bank, but they are proving one thing – biometrics are real, they work and they can save you a lot of time, hassle and money while keeping your life secure and private.

* Greg Sarrail is the Vice President for Business Development at HID Global

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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