Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's unique physical and behavioural characteristics. The technology is mainly used for identification and access control, or for identifying individuals who are under surveillance.
With new advances in biometric technology taking place each year, biometrics is one of the most exciting areas in STEM -- offering diverse working environments, flexible lifestyles, and countless opportunities for innovation. Read on to find out more about this burgeoning career option.
What is biometric authentication?
Biometric authentication is when every person can be accurately identified by intrinsic physical or behavioural traits. There are a huge number of applications for biometric technology and more are being invented constantly. Biometric authentication can be used to provide better-than-password security to online accounts or personal hardware (like phones, tablets or PCs).
What are biometrics used for?
Authentication by biometric verification is becoming increasingly common in several areas, including corporate and public security systems, point-of-sale (POS) applications, and consumer electronics. Biometrics are most notably used to authenticate financial transactions, especially processing payments. There are even applications in healthcare that help doctors and clinicians keep better patient health records.
Biometrics also help law enforcement agents catch criminals and make our airports more convenient. They also help keep lunch lines moving quickly in schools and make sure no students get lost on field trips. Biometrics are making our smartphones more usable and may prove the key to helping users seamlessly interface with the growing Internet of Things (IoT).
Types of biometrics
There are two primary types of biometric identifiers: physiological characteristics or behavioural characteristics.
Physiological identifiers refer to the physical measurements of the human body, which are then used to authenticate an individual. Examples of these identifiers include:
- Facial recognition
- Voice recognition
- Iris recognition
- Retina scanning
- Finger geometry
- DNA matching
- Digital signatures
Behavioural identifiers refer to the unique ways in which individuals act, and can be used to provide continuous identification. These methods include:
- Walking gait
- Typing patterns
- Physical gestures (such as hand motion)
- Computer mouse use
What are the key trends in biometrics?
The global biometrics market is forecast to reach $82.8bn (£62bn) by the year 2027.
Hackers are keeping this field on its toes and there is a requirement for something “better than a password." NYU researchers have developed a fingerprint template which allows them to trick iPhones into unlocking. If universities are able to produce this, hackers are definitely onto the technology too. To combat this, companies like Mastercard are leading the way in research into other methods of authentication for their mobile app, using face recognition with a simple blink (to show that it is a live person and not just a photo) that is harder to replicate.
Find your next biometrics role
We work with top biometrics professionals across many niche disciplines within the sector, whether they are as clients, as candidates looking to start their careers, or well-established biometrics professionals looking for their next challenge.