With the hype around each new Apple iPhone undoubtedly comes rife speculation. Surely this new model is going to be faster, thinner, with more apps and in two unforeseen colours?
And so the rumour mill has once again started with reports that the iPhone 5S is to be launched in just a matter of weeks.
The main chitchat around this latest smartphone is that, gone will be the four digit pin codes to unlock our devices, but instead, a fingerprint scanner on the Homepage that will validate the user.
Perhaps Apple’s acquisition of finger-print sensor maker AuthenTec in July 2012 is a sure-fire giveaway.
I was recently asked where I saw the industry in ten years time and I remarked that biometrics would be big business- that is, the identification of human beings by characteristics such as fingerprint, iris or face recognition- and this is the perfect example.
It may be reminiscent of films such as Minority Report or Mission Impossible, but soon this technology won’t be restricted to the big movie blockbusters or high-security offices, but in small businesses, in or our homes, or even on the move.
Biometric technology will unquestionably be attractive to both consumer and business users alike.
For consumers, undoubtedly there is the benefit of reducing mobile phone theft dramatically, whereby you, and only you, can access your phone.
Or maybe even just the time saved remembering and typing in long passwords, when the technology eventually spreads to further consumer products such as tablet devices, laptops and PCs.
For business, the benefits are indisputable. Biometrics add a new level of security to companies that is extremely attractive.
Passwords, while exceptionally safe if different ones are used for different devices, have some level of risk in that they, perhaps, can be hacked or taken from a computer database.
Biometrics, on the other hand, are unique and can only be accessed by one sole user who must be physically present, thus reducing the threat of important documents being stolen.
Clearly biometrics are extremely difficult to forge.
It’s also claimed it will be good for staff productivity if employees are so-called “clocked in” to their work devices, with faster login times and no additional staff training required due to its sheer ease of use.
Think about the time wasted by employees having to ring their I.T. department about forgotten passwords or misplaced access cards- evidently fingerprints cannot be forgotten or misplaced.
That said, neither fingerprint nor retina use as password replacement is full proof and it is still a case of watch this space for the ultimate biometric technology.
Nonetheless, as one of the most developed biometrics to date, the transaction of fingerprint technology into the consumer market should be relatively rapid.
Biometrics aren’t new but with speculation that trend-setter Apple, who clearly have a niche at entering technology into the main stream, is on board, it might not be too long until passwords are obsolete in favour of tech more close at hand.
First Published: 03/09/13
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net