It seems like the next “Big Thing” may be staring you right in your face – eye scanning. There is a now a race to find a new way to identify us for security reasons as we move from paper to password to electronic verification, brought on, no doubt, as we try and live our lives in the electronic world and demand more and more of our smartphones. There are many simple things we do with our devices on a daily basis; such as making phone calls, emailing, texting, and surfing the web. However, with the advent of electronic “wallets” and the potential for so much more, such as verification to make an online purchase, depositing a check by snapping a picture, or even a way to make a withdrawal – the monetary institutions, as well as our own security, demand a more secure way than a simple pin or password.
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They are turning to unique body parts for identification – the long standard fingerprint and the eyeball. Motorola was the first to include a fingerprint scanner on their Atrix device a couple years ago, but the technology was just not quite there yet. Apple just included one on their latest iPhone 5s and now the other manufacturers are rushing to introduce their own versions and HTC just included one in their newly released HTC One max. Samsung, the largest mobile phone manufacturer, has been working on one on a different front – Retina scanning. They already use a lot of “eyeball” technology in their eye-tracking options, so why not extend it to include verification.
It seems as though Samsung is not the only company working in that direction. EyeVerify is a small security company based in Kansas City, and its main “focus” is on biometric eye scan technology for smartphones. Their approach is different from Samsung’s Retina scanning – they go straight to the unique blood vessel patterns found in each person’s eyes. Because the white of the eye and the red blood vessels offer so much contrast, scanning is possible even in low light.
EyeVerify offer their products, as a “plug-in” for different companies that license their technology as a Software Development Kit (SDK) and API’s to integrate EyeVerify’s technology into their own applications. Their goal is to expand into the banking industry and make the password obsolete. Because the smartphones already have so many sensors compared to a PC or laptop, they offer more of an opportunity for EyeVerify to make some inroads into this growing market segment. An analyst group at Goode Intelligence believes that mobile biometrics will generate more than $3 billion by the year 2018, and will eventually be adopted by 3.4 billion mobile users.
EyeVerify believes the biggest obstacle will be the smartphone users themselves, citing their reluctance for change, and having to scan their eye may freak them out or seem too futuristic – I say they have been speaking to the wrong users. It seems like the young users of mobile devices are demanding changes all of the time and the older users are concerned about the security of their finances and would therefore be more likely to embrace this new technology. Whether we like it or not, the biometrics future is here to stay and with so many hackers of pins and passwords, it should be a welcomed change to technology.
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ what you think of these new technologies and if you prefer a finger or eye scanner.