Smartphones are set to replace all biometrics hardware in the coming years, that’s according to Hector Hoyos, CEO of Hoyos Labs. The prediction has serious implications for the proprietary biometric hardware sector, notably access control.
“Proprietary biometrics-based hardware will go away in the next three to five years”, Hoyos says. “You don’t need a proprietary sensor with smart phones getting more sophisticated. The time for proprietary hardware for biometrics is over – killed by the mobile industry. The technology is obsolete”.
Instead of biometric readers costing “thousands of dollars,” capabilities of smart phones will continue to develop to provide the same level of security, says Hoyos. However, despite the smartphone revolution across society over the past decade, not everyone has a smartphone and not everyone wants a smartphone. Yet for systems like access control, anyone might need to have access regardless of their choice of phone.Manual or non-smartphone based overrides clearly have to be implemented as a safeguard, this would suggest that a non-smartphone user option could easily be added. Albeit one of those options that ensures the non-smartphone user takes significantly longer to unlock a door than a smartphone user.
So eventually everyone has a smartphone, and single-finger identification systems are already available on mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s S series. However, while these companies have effectively integrated a single-print hardware-based scanner into these phones, there are still two key drawbacks of not only this system but all individual forms of biometrics: reliability and security.
The iPhone 5S’s Touch ID fingerprint technology, for example, was hacked less than 48 hours after its release, and according to a poll shortly after its release, 40% of users found that single-finger ID systems do not always work reliably. What’s more, several articles showing how the system can be hacked, further demonstrating that this tech is far from ideal for important applications, not least access control.
So if we are to use fingerprint technology for access control it needs to be a lot better. In late October this year Next Biometrics Group announced that, hardware giant, Dell Inc. has integrated its larger fingerprint sensors into a range of its 2016 notebook and tablet products.
“An extensive comparative test executed by the University Carlos III of Madrid, a leader in biometric research, recently documented Next sensor performance quality and that size is key to fingerprint sensor system performance”, said Tore Etholm-Idsoe, CEO of Next.
“Suppliers targeting to offer security and convenience for close to 100% of a population can simply not compromise on sensor size. Nor, can they offer the old swipe sensor format”.
The move makes Dell the first top-tier notebook and tablet manufacturer to implement larger fingerprint sensors into its devices for secure, convenient and consistently accurate fingerprint readings. However, smartphones are biometrically capable of much more than just larger fingerprint technology.
Hoyos Labs has also introduced a proprietary four-finger authentication technology “4F ID” that uses a smartphone’s rear camera and LED flash light, without additional hardware, to capture a person’s four fingerprints to increase reliability and security for the user.
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In fact, Hoyos Labs has enabled every major biometric – face, iris, voice and fingerprint – to be captured with a smart phone and applied across a myriad of industries. In addition to physical access control, the technologies can be used for financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications. Hoyas says Microsoft’s three new Lumia smart phones will feature an iris scanner and facial recognition capabilities right on the device.
“On the consumer side, the reality is that all you need is an electronic lock, and your smart phone device becomes the biometric,” says Hoyos. “If greater security is required, applications can deploy hybrid, multi-authentication systems, such as fingerprint combined with a facial or iris scan”.
Indeed, “growth in the sales of Access Control has increased to 10% as it moves into IP Network systems and biometric and identity management systems” according to a Memoori report: The Physical Security Business; Access Control, Intruder Alarms & Video Surveillance.
Access control systems are certainly undergoing a IP driven evolution, and the coming years will certainly show if smartphones can balance the reliability and security with the user experience and of course price, to become a fundamental part of the access control market.