10 Developing Uses for Biometrics in the Workplace & Beyond

By Katherine Muniz
August 22, 2017

Advances in technology have allowed us to authenticate identity using superior methods to traditional security tokens such as key fobs, passwords, and PINs.

Since objects/information can be replicated, lost, stolen, and shared, these tokens aren’t very secure. However, biometric identifiers, like fingerprints and iris recognition, offset these security risks because they are unique to each person. The idea is that instead of having the token, the person must be the token.

Because biometrics is increasingly being heralded as the future of security, many sectors are investing in the development of biometric technology for their own purposes. Here are ten ways biometrics is being adopted in the workplace and beyond:

1. Automotive security and personalization

The global biometric market in the automotive sector is predicted to steadily climb over the next four years, with automotive manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen all vying to integrate biometric technology into their vehicles. Some of the ways biometrics will be used? Keyless car entry, vehicle access, personalization, and advanced safety features. Methods used? Fingerprint biometrics, voice recognition, facial recognition, and iris recognition.

2. Traffic Stop Identification

Law enforcement has long been a purveyor of fingerprinting for criminal identification, but in the U.K., law enforcement has been equipping certain police with mobile fingerprint scanners since 2011 to identify those who cannot provide ID during traffic stops. Those in the database (previous convicts or those involved in police investigations) will be positively identified via a quick scan. Biometric identification can also be used when police suspect a person of being dangerous.

3. Financial Services

With economic cybercrime on the rise, the financial service industry is increasing its efforts to develop more stringent methods of authentication. Not only are banks using biometrics to increase ATM security in countries like Brazil, India, Poland, and Japan, but Citigroup has also deployed voice biometrics authentication to verify customers by their voice within the first few seconds of conversation. Roughly 250,000 of Citi’s U.S. credit card customers already opting in. Halifax, a UK bank, is currently testing wearables that detect customers’ heartbeats to verify their identity.

4. Travel

According to a report published by MarketsandMarkets, the travel and immigration sector held the largest share of the biometric system market in 2015, and the biometric system market is estimated to be worth 32.73 billion USD by 2022. Fingerprint technology is commonly used in e-passports, e-visas, and driving licenses in order to authenticate identity, and the Australian government has announced plans to roll out a contactless traveler clearance process in an effort to “facilitate legitimate travel, protect our community and prevent the activities of potential terrorists and criminals.”

5. Healthcare

The implementation of biometrics in the healthcare sector is expected to reach 2,848.3 million USD by 2021, with increasing healthcare fraud and medical identity theft driving the integration of biometric solutions. In addition to utilizing biometrics to verify patient and employee identification, it will also be used as fraud protection to avoid duplicate records and phantom claims, access control (for controlling hospital staff’s physical access to sensitive areas), and workforce management and patient record storage.

6. Homeland Security

Countries like America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia are stepping up efforts to identify foreigners in order to secure borders and prevent the entry of international visitors who pose security risks, health risks, or are using stolen or counterfeit visas. Malaysia recently announced that foreign workers must record their fingerprints under their biometric system before gaining avenues to employment, as there have been cases of workers using other individuals for health screening purposes.

7. Computing

Biometrics in computing is a fast-growing trend, as computing companies like Sony, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, and Toshiba have integrated biometric technology into previous/current laptop models, and smartphone brands such as Samsung and Apple made headlines by equipping the iPhone 5s and the Galaxy S5 with fingerprint scanners. Many manufacturers are adding biometric authentication to consumer devices (from personal laptops to safes) as an additional layer of security. On a more complex scale, organizational security biometrics is also used to secure user operations and computer networks.

8. Workplace

From reducing security risks to reducing fraud in employee hours worked, the uses of biometrics in the workplace are multi-faceted. In terms of surveillance, biometrics is a well-developed technology, as “access control” is one of the most common security systems available for restricting access to specified areas in the workplace. Employers are also turning to biometrics in order to resolve issues of time theft in the form of buddy punching, where one coworker clocks in or out for another. Biometric clocks offset security risks and can’t be fooled into accepting a fraudulent punch.

9. Hotels

The hospitality environment is rapidly shifting towards using biometrics in order to make guest transactions and interactions more seamless and secure. For instance, many hotels are replacing electronic swipe cards with biometric fingerprinting systems. Guests go to the check-in counter and place their fingerprint on a scanner, and their reservation will appear along with account information and their preferences. Some systems also allow guests to authenticate transactions and services using their fingerprint and directly add the charges onto the guest’s bill.

10. Clinical Trials

Sign-ups for clinical trials are supposed to be secure, but not every participant is honest about whether they’re enrolled in multiple clinical trials. In order to ensure participants are only enrolled in one clinical trial, clinical research solutions firm Celerion has deployed Verified Clinical Trials (VCT) biometric fingerprint technology in order to verify and identify participants currently enrolled in other clinical studies.

As technology advances, the burgeoning applications of biometrics are expanding at a rapid pace. If you’d like to start experiencing the benefit of biometrics in your workplace today, Fingercheck offers biometric time clocks that provide the most secure system of tracking employee time available on the market.

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