LUND, Sweden -- Earlier this year, Precise Biometrics finalized its acquisition of Potsdam, NY-based NexID Biometrics, a developer of liveness detection software. Startup TechWire reached out to President and CEO Håkan Persson to learn more about how this move impacts his company's lineup of fingerprint software and mobile smart card readers for convenient and secure authentication of people’s identity, and got a glimpse into some issues affecting the biometrics industry in the U.S. and abroad.
Why did Precise Biometrics buy NexID?
By the end of 2020 it is expected that more than 60 percent of all payment transactions will be authenticated by means of biometric authentication, primarily fingerprints. At the same time, fraud is on the rise and expected to continue to grow, prompting payment providers to mitigate fraud through improved security measures.
Through the acquisition of NexID Biometrics, we get access to technology that can identify fake fingers and attempts to spoof a fingerprint sensor. This enables us to further improve the security of fingerprint authentication, while maintaining a great user experience, and thus meet customers’ demands for increased security. This is important not least in order to secure mobile payments, an area that is expected to start taking off this year.
How is the biometrics market different in the U.S. as opposed to globally?
The biometrics industry is a global industry and US companies are an integral part of that with industry leaders such as Qualcomm and Synaptics. However, the financial infrastructure for payments is not as developed in the US as in some other regions. For example, the use of pin-codes for payments is not as commonly used as in Europe. This may well lead to faster adoption of biometrics in order to increase the security of payments, while maintaining a high convenience for the users.
How is the general public's acceptance of biometrics changing? What obstacles still need to be overcome?
Biometrics has become a mainstream technology thanks to the rapid growth of fingerprint sensors in smartphones. Today, every other smartphone that is launched comes with a fingerprint sensor, and in a few years’ time more or less all smartphones will be equipped with the technology.
The broad consumer acceptance of the technology comes down to the superior user experience, both compared to pin-codes as well as other biometric modalities such as face and eye. As biometrics becomes increasingly used for payments, the security aspects of biometrics and privacy will become more important. Fingerprint technology provides a much higher security than a four-digit pin-code already today, but for certain use cases, such as payments, a higher degree of security may be needed. One way to further increase the security of fingerprint technology is to ensure that fake fingers can´t be used. Another way to increase security is by combing two different biometric modalities, so called two-factor biometric authentication.
Are there new markets for biometrics emerging, and if so what are they?
Yes, there are many new markets emerging. So far, most people experience biometrics when using their smartphones. In a few years’ time, biometrics will replace passwords, pin-codes and buttons for a wide range of products. To give some examples, we are working with adding fingerprint sensors to payment cards, which increases both security and convenience. Another interesting area is cars, where fingerprint sensors will replace certain buttons. As the cost of fingerprint technology continues to decrease, we will soon be using it to a much greater extent during a normal day.
Are certain biometric technologies better than others?
It depends on what´s important to you: is it convenience, or is it security? For most people, both are important. That is why fingerprint technology has become the dominating biometric modality as it offers both great convenience and high security. There are other modalities that may offer better security, but with low convenience for the user.
What innovations does Precise Biometrics have in store for 2017?
Our main priorities are to continue improving both the convenience and security of fingerprint technology. Fingerprint sensors will continue to decrease in size and this year sensors will start to be deployed under the screen of smartphones, which poses a technical challenge as fingerprint images becomes harder to read. That´s where our 20 years of experience in working with fingerprint technology comes in handy. We have extensive experience from improving bad images, which in the end gives the consumer a better user-experience. We will of course also continue to develop the anti-spoofing technology that we acquired from NexID Biometrics.
In the mobile industry, there is a constant chase to improve performance and add new features, and we need to continue to be innovative in order to maintain our position as the leader in fingerprint software.
Where can people go for more information about your company?
For general information about Precise Biometrics: https://precisebiometrics.com
For information about our fingerprint software solutions: https://precisebiometrics.com/fingerprint-technology/
For information about liveness detection: https://precisebiometrics.com/blog/liveness-detection-enables-secure-mobile-payments/
More information about the acquisition of NexID Biometrics: https://precisebiometrics.com/precise-biometrics-to-acquire-nexid-biometrics/
Startup TechWire | Reporting on business, innovation, and education for America's vibrant startup community | David Menzies | 919-274-6862 | Writer and Public Relations Consultant | Editor StartupTechWire.com | [email protected]