Exploring Biometrics in Business

Biometric tech is making significant inroads in the world of business, in ways that are not exclusively limited to security. By this time next year almost nine out of every 10 businesses will utilize some form of biometrics. Meanwhile more than 60 percent already rely on biometrics.

Friction-Free Security

According to a recent study, the typical consumer uses nearly 100 password-protected accounts. That number keeps increasing, too, and since updating passwords is a hassle, most people don’t even bother. That plays into the hands of cyber criminals, leaving consumers increasingly vulnerable and businesses potentially liable if there’s a data hack. But replacing the somewhat flawed password protection protocol with a biometric solution could make logging on to e-commerce websites a frictionless experience. That would encourage consumer engagement and reduce the effort businesses expend to solve password-related problems for customers. Plus it will simultaneously discourage criminal hackers by making e-commerce a less attractive and easy target.

Innovative Anti-Fraud Applications

Some businesses are exploring behavioral biometric solutions, powered by artificial intelligence, to analyze the habits of consumers as well as employees. When the behavior deviates from normal patterns, that sends up a red flag to alert businesses that there may be an attempt to commit fraud or theft, by impersonating an authorized individual. Biometrics could also help stop employees from having other people punch their time clock, saving businesses both payroll money and overall productivity.

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Improved Personnel Management

Biometrics coupled with AI capability could track and match-up the skill levels of workers, in order to automate such things as the management of teams or shift schedules. In a workplace where having the right mix of talent and expertise on hand at all times is critical, such an application could be a game-changer for personnel managers. For example, a hospital, fire department, engineering team, or even a large contracting firm or restaurant could deploy biometrics to relieve the headaches associated with constantly managing and balancing teams of employees.

Safeguarding Confidential Data

The healthcare industry can use this kind of technology to verify patient identities and match them up correctly with their medical files, blood type, or other critical data. In an emergency, especially when the patient is unable to communicate vital information to first responders, this could prove to be an invaluable technological tool. Blood banks currently use biometric ID technology to register blood donors, for instance, and monitor their medical records in order to screen out donors whose blood may be infected. Banks and other financial institutions can also ID account holders, to prevent unauthorized access or fraud, but biometric identification can also create a virtual, electronic “paper trail” to facilitate audits and reports.

Challenges to Implementation

If a company still has other security vulnerabilities, those weak links will not be fixed simply by adding a biometric technology component. Sometimes there are more down-to-earth problems, too. If someone’s hands are dirty, the biometric reader might not recognize their fingerprints. There are also privacy concerns and regulations to address, particularly when businesses take responsibility for storing the sensitive, confidential biometric data of customers. But all emerging technologies face these kinds of hurdles, and research and development may soon successfully eliminate them to pave the way for business-applied biometrics.