Biometrics: the game changer in access control

Biometrics is enabling a future in which authentication and access control is seamless, reliable and risk-free

By Marius Coetzee, CEO of South African Identity management experts Ideco

The principle of using technology for access control is not new – from the first keys to unlock doors, through to cards, access pins and early biometrics – enterprises and individuals have been using it to secure and gain access. What’s changing fast, however, is the way in which identity is confirmed and access is authorised. Advanced biometrics and integrated systems are enabling a revolutionary new way of managing access, which is so effortless, reliable and accurate that users barely know it is there.

Systems such as the new Morpho Wave Compact biometrics reader, which is on display at Securex this week, illustrate how far biometrics has come and what becomes possible in future. This unit, which could be described as the Rolls Royce of biometrics systems, simply requires a person to wave their hand through the device, which then scans four fingers for rapid and accurate identification. Advanced new biometrics systems like these are being harnessed in integrated, seamless authentication and access control pilot projects around the world, enabling risk free, accurate authentication and unprecedented convenience for individuals. For example, travellers arriving at an airport might have their passports scanned, and thereafter be able to pass through security gates based on fingerprint or facial recognition data from their passports. In the back end, the system could notify the country that the traveller has arrived, and also communicate with the car rental company, which then automatically pings the traveller’s phone with information about where they should collect their rental car. The traveller uses a mobile selfie or biometrics to initiate unlocking of the car, so avoiding queues and lengthy paperwork. These processes become so seamless as to be almost invisible, completely changing the traveller’s experience at the airport.

Advanced biometrics systems can integrate a number of modalities to deliver previously unheard-of efficiency and user experience, fit for purpose whatever the environment. It should be noted however, that not all biometrics modalities and systems are suited to all applications. For example, fingerprint biometrics would not be the ideal choice for call centre use; whereas voice recognition might be very effective in this environment and ’selfie’ facial recognition tools might also be integrated to authorise smaller financial transactions. To select the appropriate biometrics systems for the use case, the enterprise must strike a fine balance between modalities, risk and customer experience.

Whatever biometrics modalities, systems and algorithms the enterprise harnesses; it’s clear that we are now entering an ERA in the biometrics space in which authentication and access control are completely Effortless, Reliable and Accurate. The authentication takes place with just a wave of a hand or by walking past a facial recognition terminal, making the identification process almost invisible. And because biometrics is such a mature technology, its reliability is proven and its cost of ownership has been significantly lowered. In fact, Ideco has customers who have been using the same systems for ten years. In addition, high quality biometrics systems are completely accurate and risk-free; capable of using more than one modality to identify and authenticate a person with 100% level of trust within milliseconds.


Avoiding false acceptance through accurate performance


A scalable and agile solution to address a variety of applications in organisations of any size


Regulatory and technical compliance providing irrefutable case material


Eradicating risk of breaches; ensuring stringent enforcement of policies


Eliminating the use of multiple systems and complex interfaces


Ensuring fast responses with maximum throughput and efficiency


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