In case you had not noticed, biometric identification technology is on the rise. So much so in fact that more and more businesses, governments and individuals are choosing to deploy biometrics over other traditional identification technologies like personal identification numbers (PIN’s), barcode/magstripe cards and RFID technology. Biometric technology is one of the fastest emerging markets across the globe due to increased applicability of the technology for civil and commercial applications and the rise in the need to increase personal security. Recently, a report suggested that biometric technology is forecasted to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23% from 2011 – 2013. That’s impressive.
This post is not meant to discuss the growth potential of biometric technology however. Instead, we wondered what the biometric landscape of the future may look like if deployments become more widespread into common applications that affect our everyday lives. Here are some places where we you may see biometric identification being used more often in the not too distant future:
- Libraries – Already prevalent in UK school libraries, biometric identification at libraries could soon be a widespread reality here in the U.S. The practicality of this deployment is reflected in shrinking budgets as library systems across the country figure out ways to slash costs and improve services. Biometric identification is a good fit since it virtually eliminates printing and maintaining library cards which is a large expense in the overall budget.
- Customer Reward/Membership Programs – Think for a moment about the number of plastic customer reward cards that you carry in your wallet or on your key chain. There’s the grocery store, pharmacy, retail, fitness club, gas station, car rental agencies, financial services, insurance and many others. Now think for a moment the possibility of eliminating those plastic cards by substituting biometric identification instead. Think about the amount of money that can be saved by not having to print and maintain these plastic customer reward/membership cards and the impact on the environment. Membership oriented facilities have already began the transformation away from plastic cards and more towards biometric identification.
- Visitor identification – How many times have you walked into a building as a visitor and had to stop to fill out your name and information and show picture ID before being granted admittance? Considering that anyone can scribble false information on a form and flash a fake photo ID, does this leave you feeling safe and secure? Switching to biometric identification at visitor points of entry changes the dynamic completely by eliminating the ability for someone to fake their identity and provides a more concrete audit trail should a problem arise prompting a review of visitor history. There are even some visitor management software Integrators who have already started deploying biometric identification technology with their end users.
- Point of Sale – Going out on a limb here, but our guess is that as biometric technology becomes more accepted throughout society, we may see it introduced again to the retail point of sale environment as a means to pay for transactions. After a recent failed attempt at widespread adoption of biometric technology to process merchant transactions the technology landscape has changed and a stepped up effort to educate consumers on the science of the technology to combat privacy concerns may be effective enough to introduce it again for mainstream use. Considering the black mark that the last failed attempt to incorporate the technology had on the reputation of biometrics, we would venture to say that of all predictions, this one is the least likely to happen anytime soon but still plausible. We do know that biometrics is making a comeback in retail for other applications and if this success continues, we could soon see it again for point of sale transactions.
What everyday applications that require a mode of identification do you see biometrics being used for in the future? Any unusual ones? Please share your feedback in the comments section below.