A Future with Biometrics for Travel (Learn More, Multi-Video)

Guest Editorial By Mark Clifton, CEO of Princeton Identity

Biometrics has proven to be an effective method for access control and identity management.

While government entities usually trail behind when it comes to adopting and leveraging new technologies, it has adopted biometrics so quickly due to how effective it has proven to be.

According to Persistence Market Research, government industries will be the largest end-users of face and voice biometrics in the world.

Their data shows that more than $4.5 billion face and voice biometric solutions were sold in the world last year, and by the end of 2025, the global market for face and voice biometrics will have reached $24 billion.

While biometric technology in the government sector may seem like a new strategy, it’s used successfully at borders, airports, and critically sensitive high-throughput environments.

(See Princeton Identity’s Vision of the Future. Courtesy of Princeton Identity and YouTube)

The benefit is that biometrics can quickly verify large amounts of individuals without compromising protection.

It has also become a solution to people’s heightened need for automating authenticity while ensuring reliability and convenience for global deployments.

With the current security landscape and ongoing terrorist threats, biometric technology has taken center stage and plays a crucial part in our protection.

Therefore, in the next few years, we’ll see an even bigger shift toward biometrics in government – here’s what to expect.

Multiple modalities for stronger security measures

To build a robust biometric identification system, the government will continue using multimodal and multifactor devices to create more than one security barrier.

Multimodal security systems are already being used to safeguard against threats at maximum security buildings like diplomatic facilities. 

More Biometrics Use Cases for new Immigration and Border Control

Borders and airports are among the most trafficked sites in the world and are tasked with keeping nations safe without sacrificing quality and speed (see the FAA’s traffic numbers here).

Manual passenger approvals are not scalable and are too subjective to deem secure.

Over the past decade, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased its emphasis on border security including piloting biometric solutions at its southern border and various airports across the nation.

(Learn More, courtesy of CBP, Bridget Bosch and YouTube)

It has a special office called the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), which is the party responsible for matching, storing and sharing biometric data – it is the largest biometric depository in the United States. 

Plus, passports will become obsolete as airports start replacing them with biometric authentication.

Smart gate technology has already been integrated in various airports in Ireland, Australia and the UAE to process passengers with facial recognition technology as opposed to passports.

Government Purchasing Trends

Due to limited budgets, buyers are going in the direction of purchasing off-the-shelf products which can be modified at much lower cost to address their needs.

Because biometric technologies are evolving at a much faster pace in the commercial arena due to high demand for security, government will start to take advantage of these readily available biometric security systems earlier without the costs and risk of long development cycle. 

International markets are more willing to adopt new technologies.

According to a HSBC research report, people in Asia and the Middle East are more trusting of biometric technologies at borders, airports and government. However others will follow suit.

As biometrics becomes more widely adopted, people in western nations will become more trusting of biometric technology, prompting government entities to start purchasing and incorporating more systems on the home front.

Easier to Use Biometric Solutions

To mitigate long-term risk and increase competition, the government will focus on incorporating open architecture systems and solutions that allow them to flexibly integrate any commercially available hardware system.

This removes the risk of single vendor dependencies while providing a best of breed solution.

As a result, operational costs and time to deployment will go down, allowing them to retain control of the overall identification process.

The rise in government applications of biometrics is inevitable – the development of cheaper and easier-to-use biometric solutions will increase the presence of biometrics in the government sector, whether that be at our borders, in our airports or in ways we haven’t even fathomed yet.

Once consumers realize the optimal security capabilities of multimodal biometric solutions compared to alternatives, attitudes toward biometrics will significantly improve, and widespread adoption will follow, paving the way for safer and more secure travel and passage for US citizens.

Welcome to the future.

About the Author

As CEO/President of Princeton Identity Mark Clifton is responsible for taking this recently spun out business of SRI International and growing it to a world class identity authentication products and solutions company.

Moving the business out of SRI and into private company status with a primary focus in Access Control, Border/Immigration, and Government applications.

Mark Clifton, CEO of Princeton Identity
Mark Clifton, CEO of Princeton Identity

As President of the Products and Solutions Division at SRI, responsible for moving technology out of the laboratory and into the market as products or solutions.

Markets include biometrics, security and surveillance, imagers and cameras, and microcircuit emulation in both the defense and commercial sectors.

Clifton’s previous positions of leadership have involved C2 systems for the Army, radar and sonar systems for the Navy, as well as acoustic systems for submarines.

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