AdobeStock_243872442I’m seeing an interesting trend toward the wider adaption of biometrics for authenticating identity in retail payment systems. For example, Amazon is testing an advanced system at Whole Foods that uses a shopper’s hand to authenticate their identity and initiate a payment. From my perspective, this looks like the future of shopping.

“The high-tech sensors are different from fingerprint scanners found on devices like the iPhone and don’t require users to physically touch their hands to the scanning surface,” writes Nicolas Vega in The New York Post. “Instead, they use computer vision and depth geometry to process and identify the shape and size of each hand they scan before charging a credit card on file.”

The proliferation of biometrics won’t be limited to Whole Foods. Soon, biometric identification for financial transactions will become the norm, across the board.

“After a slow start, the global mobile-payment market is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 33%, reaching $457 billion in 2026, according to market-research firm IT Intelligence Markets. As payments move from cash to credit cards to smartphones, financial-technology companies, known as fintechs, have been honing their biometric services,” writes Quentin Fottrell of MarketWatch. “Biometric technology, meanwhile, is infiltrating every other aspect of our digital lives. Juniper Research forecasts that mobile biometrics will authenticate $2 trillion in in-store and remote mobile-payments transactions in 2023, 17 times more than the estimated $124 billion in such transactions last year.”

What will this trend mean for enterprise technology leaders and executives? I predict that biometrics will soon become standard components of enterprise cyber security systems. Microsoft already offers a biometric feature called “Windows Hello” for Windows 10 users.

“Windows Hello lets your employees use fingerprint or facial recognition as an alternative method to unlocking a device. With Windows Hello, authentication happens when the employee provides his or her unique biometric identifier while accessing the device-specific Windows Hello credentials,” according to Microsoft. “The Windows Hello authenticator works to authenticate and allow employees onto your enterprise network. Authentication doesn’t roam among devices, isn’t shared with a server, and can’t easily be extracted from a device. If multiple employees share a device, each employee will use his or her own biometric data on the device.”

Apple, Honeywell and IBM offer biometrics for business and enterprise users. Clearly, the tech titans see a growing demand for biometrics, and I believe they are on the right track. It’s only a matter of time before your organization joins the trek toward biometric authentication. Are you ready for the next logical phase in identity management?

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