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Biometrics going beyond security

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By PINE PIENAAR, Managing Director of Afiswitch

Globally, digital transformation and consumer acceptance of biometrics as a measure to increase security protocols are both having a significant impact on driving the rapid adoption of biometrics. However, it must be recognised that the opportunities are far greater than just for security.

In fact, as widespread adoption of digital technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow in mainstream markets, we are seeing faster innovation in the biometrics space too. And, while uses and uptake for mobile and multimodal identity management solutions will still grow significantly in the coming years, parallel to this, we are also seeing exciting developments in solutions that meet new uses/applications – offering consumers increased convenience and enhanced experiences across more mainstream markets.

As we closely follow developments across global markets, I’ve identified three uses/applications where I believe biometric-based solutions will increasingly be deployed:

#1: Biometrics to introduce paperless airport transfers

There have been a number of developments and pilot programmes rolled out in airports across the world; aimed at capturing, storing and making use of an individual’s biometrics as a form of authenticating a traveller’s identity. The move to biometrics can be underpinned by two key drivers; increased security at/through airports and improving the customer/traveller experience.

From a security point-of-view, it is well recognised that there is a global phenomenon with fake documents, including passports, and linked to identity theft. However, the introduction of multimodal biometric solutions – which generally involve an Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) as the basis and offers far more accurate identity verifications. And when these systems are securely integrated with appropriate databases, they are also able to deliver reliable results instantly.

Biometrics-based security protocols also create opportunities to streamline and speed up check-ins, customs and border control, and transfers at airports. This can reduce customer/traveller stress points and frustrations – of having to stand in queues and produce multiple documents every time they travel – and thereby significantly improve their overall experience.

While it is uncertain if biometrics will ever replace the need to apply for and/or renew one’s passport – advances in biometrics make a strong business case for frictionless authentication and paperless airport transfers. However, the aviation and travel industries aren’t alone in cottoning onto “frictionless authentication”…

#2: Frictionless authentication for payments

Driven by a heightened sense of competition – from traditional and non-traditional players, the banking industry in many markets around the world is arguably among the earlier adopters of new tech, as there is a strong direct correlation between offering innovation solutions and enhanced customer experience and retention.

Added to this, given the propensity of risk in financial services, this industry has a greater need to be able to offer customers strong security protocols – and are compelled by regulation to ensure their customers’ data and their money is protected.

It’s not surprising then that banks are starting to incorporate biometrics-based solutions into their business (from fingerprint capturing for identification authentication and as a security metric to protect a customer’s accounts) to fingerprint and facial recognition as a frictionless extra layer of security to authenticate and approve payments, etc. To demonstrate this massive market potential, research suggests that there will be over 2.6 billion biometric payment users by 2023.

#3: Identity management takes on behavioural biometrics with digital signature verification

Behavioural biometrics go hand-in-hand with digital and frictionless identity management – the only difference is that it’s the process or application of authenticating an individual based on their unique behavioural traits, rather than their physical characteristics.

The earliest noted behavioural trait is the signature and even digital signatures have a history of development that dates back to the late 1970s. It should be noted that a digital signature still makes use of physical biometrics, and most commonly fingerprints, whereby unique bar codes are created from the fingerprint pattern or image.

Due to widespread digital adoption and as more businesses and consumers alike, look to automate and streamline as many processes and/or tasks, its not surprising that digital signatures as a form of biometrics is currently receiving a lot more attention.

Adoption is largely dependent on a case-by-case growing need for effective authentication, security and control linked to specific actions. For example, using a digital signature as an extra line of security to authenticate a user’s identity during a digital transaction. However, the acceptance and adoption rate of digital signatures will strongly be influenced by cyber laws and industry specific regulation of individual markets.

These are only a few of the uses/applications for biometrics that are starting to emerge and receive a lot of attention, though there are many more currently being explored and across varying markets and industries, from travel to healthcare, for example. What is interesting to note though is that all of these uses and applications are still dependent on the one basic principle of biometrics – to accurately identity an individual – and then to address a need or action. It is a fascinating space and we will continue to keep you updated on the big movers and developments.

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Projection tech transforms retail

By TIMOTHY WILSON, visual imaging business account manager at Epson South Africa

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Display designs, such as those found in retail stores, are no longer confined to static visuals on pull-up banners, 2D print and posters. The increasingly popular use of projection technology has ushered in new and exciting ways to create immersive displays using rich media and high-quality visual content to go beyond the four walls of traditional marketing.

In the past, projectors were lamp-based and prone to failure when used in a harsh environment, such as a retail store. Today, newly introduced laser projection technology has unlocked a range of capabilities.

Transforming the way brands engage with audiences

Creative techniques such as projection mapping, which can be described as the projection of video, animation and other colourful displays onto 3D surfaces, have completely transformed the way brands engage with audiences and can live in retail spaces, concert halls and even sports stadiums.

Projection mapping offers venues wide-spread creativity in using lighting in small or large environments, as was the case with Epson’s showstopping kinetic portal, which implemented projection mapping on a 360 degree vortex at the largest AV and systems integration show in the world – Integrated Systems Europe 2019. Driven by a new, affordable generation of projectors, mapping not only covers flat walls and traditional projections screens but also irregular shapes, objects, and even entire building façades.

When projecting on a larger scale, such as at events and music concerts, the process of visually combining several projectors to display one single seamless image might sound simple enough in principle but can prove to be a challenging task in reality. To overcome this challenge, experiential marketers are adopting the use of image edge blending, which refers to the process of stacking multiple projectors to create a single overlapped projection that appears continuous and clear.

It’s due to these advancements that displays in retail and events no longer pivot just on aesthetic appeal but can now deliver immersive consumer experiences that drive engagement and increase foot traffic. This is starting to drastically change the way that retailers, events and even restaurants host, engage, entertain and communicate with their audiences.

Projection is driving growth in experiential marketing

Consumer interest in the transition towards projection has seen this technology take centre stage at leading retailers such as Mall of Africa, events by brands such as ABSA and restaurants like Saint, transforming their environments into immersive spaces through projection that displays captivating imagery and video.

Saint restaurant in Sandton has pushed the boundaries of branding and displays, transforming all surfaces into a visual delight. Patrons entering the restaurant are greeted by a visual experience within a dome, featuring a series of moving, constantly changing artworks – such as a starry night sky or a replica of the Sistine Chapel – projected onto walls and the ceiling.

In fact, EventTrack research, which showcases the current state of marketing around the globe, highlights the continuous growth of event and experiential marketing. It notes that high-quality projection technology, more specifically its ability to emit stunning visual experiences, has grown in popularity to become the go-to tool for event organisers and retailers looking to captivate and engage with consumers.

The future of projection technology

Projection technology has proven to be an outstanding, much more cost-effective and reliable form of marketing collateral – setting an entirely new standard for high-resolution projection.

Sandton City recently embraced this market-leading technology with the installation of a virtual aquarium in its Centre Court. This installation centred on creating a 3D mapping concept that enabled shoppers to select an undersea creature from a touchpad to swim across digitised hoarding.

With capabilities to meet the demands of large-scale projection and the ability to effectively transform the way brands remain visible at shopping malls, restaurants and retail spaces – the unprecedented imaging power of projection technology has set a considerably high bar when it comes to retail and event displays. 

Epson, which is not only pioneering imaging technology and innovative projection solutions, is also the market leader when it comes to high lumen laser projection, having recently announced its 30,000 lumens laser projector (EB-L30000U) which will officially launch in 2020. This high-end installation laser projector, complete with 4K enhancement, is aimed at rental and staging companies, hospitality markets and visitor attractions, which is yet another progressive step towards transforming the way marketers engage with their consumers in the 21st century. 

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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