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  1. Hardware
April 26, 2015

5 solutions for when Iot mixes with biometrics

CBR investigates how biometrics will reshape IoT and user experience.

By Joao Lima

The Internet of Things will redefine identity management using biometrics to unlock bank apps, email accounts but also cars, homes and personal health databases.

By 2016, IoT will drive device and user relationship requirements in 20% of new identity and access management (IAM), with new biometrics to emerge in a key role.

Earl Perkins, research vice president at Gartner, said: "IAM, as defined today, will bifurcate, with identity management assuming a broader entity relationship management role and access management assuming a broader relationship execution role that replaces or supplements authentication policy and authorisation enforcement.

"Traditional authentication and authorisation for user identities will continue to include devices and services, but will also incorporate expanded machine-to-machine (M2M) communications requirements into expanding digital business moments.

"Embedded software and systems will make extensive use of the new and expanded IAM architecture to handle the scale and ubiquity requirements the IoT will demand."

Forecasters estimate 500 million biometric sensors will be deployed for IoT use by 2018.

Biometric Research Group said: "We conservatively estimate that biometric sensors, which includes work time management and premise security entry consoles, will total at least 500 million "Internet of Things" connections by 2018."

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1. Navigation Systems

Biometrics and navigation systems did not exist until a team of German scientists at the University of Hannover (UH) developed the first human satellite navigation.

The ‘human sat nav’ will guide the elderly home, fire-fighters through burning buildings, help tourists navigate strange cities and people on dates to find their partner.

It uses electrodes to quickly direct the user to go right or left without the need to stop walking.

Max Pfeiffer, one of the developers from UH, said: "In sports for example, it could steer long distance runners via different jogging trails on different days for increased variety and enjoyment.

"Imagine visitors of a large sports stadium or theatre being guided to their place or being evacuated from a stadium in the most efficient way.

"It may help disorientated elderly people to find their way home."

Scientists said to be working on the next stage of the project, which will enable users to hook up the device to GPS so a destination could be programmed in.

2. Digital signature

From unlocking smartphones to logging in into bank apps, the scenarios for digital signatures are endless.

This authentication solution can come in different shape and forms from technology groups, including face, signature, vein, hand, fingerprint, voice or iris recognition.

Several businesses already use digital signature. For example, RBS and NatWest made a UK banking first when they allowed their customers to log into mobile banking apps using their fingerprints.

Stuart Haire, Managing Director, RBS and NatWest Direct Bank said: "There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us. Adding Touch ID to our mobile banking app makes it even easier and more convenient for customers to manage their finances on the move and directly responds to their requests."

Other companies like Telefonica, also adopted biometrics to their solutions.

Telefónica and its cyber security subsidiary, ElevenPaths, incorporated a "strong authentication", based on biometry.

This system leverages different variables to verify identity, as well as robust digital signature technology, which prevents possible identity theft and opens up more ways to safely digitise business processes such as legal and commercial documents.

3. bioHealth

Healthcare has a proven track of being an ‘eccentric’ area of the IoT.

Major applications of the technology include physical access control, logical access control, and transaction authentication.

Forecasters estimate the healthcare biometric market to reach $5.8 billion in 2019, from approximately $1.2 billion in 2012. The market will soar 25.9% in the CAGR from 2013 to 2019.

A Transparency Market Research analyst said: "The use of biometrics in the healthcare industry not only ensures minimization and prevention of fraud, data loss, and resource wastage, abut also enhances the quality, privacy, and safety of hospitals.

"The amount of capital invested in the installation and maintenance of healthcare biometrics is nothing when compared to the skyrocketing expenses during a time of security breach and medical theft.

"As a result, the demand for biometrics in the healthcare industry has increased immensely, fueling the growth of the global market."

Other applications like smart clothing have also included biometrics. OM Biometric Smartwear launched last year by OM Signal has sensors woven into the fabric which can gather biometric data in real-time and then transmit this to the personal dashboard of the OMsignal app via Bluetooth tracking users health and fitness in real time.

4. Automotive Industry

Keyless entry to cars and keyless ignition is already a reality with IoT and biometrics is just about to foster that even more.

Ford Motors has recently acquired a patent for a biometric device that would let its customers enter their cars without a key.

The company said: "The method would allow for one-way secure communication … and provide added functionality and tracking devices."

The solution will collect data on facial, iris, retinal and voiceprints.

Family members can be given permission to access the vehicle by submitting biometric data to identify themselves.

Other companies like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are also working on keyless solutions for their cars.

5. Smart Security

Smart home appliances are starting to pop all over, and security is ever more an issue to homeowners.

The market already offers a range of apps and systems to control what is happening in one’s place at a distance.

However, markets are now looking into biometrics to answer consumers’ expectations for smart homes by 2020.

For example, lock-set manufacturer Kwikset introduced to the market a biometric keyless entry system that uses fingerprints to let those allowed into the home to walk through the door.

Eric Lundquist, director of brand marketing for Kwikset said: "Consumer acceptance of biometric technology is accelerating. It is an emerging technology that can give consumers an increased level of home protection and peace of mind."

ADT has also entered the biometrics race by launching the Pulse Voice App featuring two-factor user authentication that seamlessly combines voice biometrics with a customer-selected passphrase.

It gives customers smartphone-based control of their home’s security system as well as other "smart home" functions, including lighting systems, home entertainment units, garage doors or door locks.

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