Biometric identity verification unleashes new roles for kiosks (Part 1)
The use of biometric identification technologies is poised to expand in kiosks, given the rapid growth of fingerprint, facial recognition, retina scanning and voice scanning technologies in both consumer and industrial applications.
While kiosks are not the only devices that utilize biometric technology, the biometric system market is expected to nearly triple by 2022, posting a combined annual growth rate of 16.79 percent and reaching $32.73 billion, according to the research firm Markets and Markets. The report attributes the growth to government adoption of biometric systems and the rising use of biometric technology in the financial and health care sectors.
Travel and immigration account for the largest share of biometric applications, as governments seek to better scrutinize immigration in the interest of national security. The U.S. government already requires the use biometrics in approving visas.
|Travel and immigration currently account for the largest share of biometric identification applications.|
"Border security applications are where our clients routinely integrate 'slap scan,'"said Cheryl Madeson, vice president of marketing and communications, Kiosk Information Systems, a kiosk software provider. Slapscan is a four-finger scan as opposed to a thumb print. "This biometric solution offers the government or agency a secure and reliable method for validating the traveler's identity and documentation, while improving the traveler's overall experience.”
Travelers, for their part, experience less wait time and avoid having to interact with immigration and customs authorities.
"The TSA's global entry program uses the slap scan as part of the database check that enables unattended verification of an enrolled and approved trusted traveler," Madeson said. "Banks of these kiosks can be found in almost every international airport.”
Kiosk Information Systems has also integrated thumbprint scanners with applications in probation check-in, pharmaceutical dispensing (including marijuana), patient check-in kiosks and gaming/loyalty applications.
"We have integrated iris scanning in airport security applications also, but it is less mainstream," Madeson said.
Fingerprint recognition, one of the oldest and most economically feasible biometric technologies, remains the most commonly used biometric technology, according to the Markets and Markets report.
Access control utilizes biometrics
Access control kiosks that manage entry to restricted areas is another vertical that uses biometric technology.
LEID Products LLC provides biometric access control to secure and track inventory such as weapons, equipment, keys and evidence. Three different law enforcement agencies use the system to access and track evidence moving into and out of the property room at the Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center in Marshall, Michigan.
LEID also offers a self-service biometric access system for libraries to make materials more accessible to patrons. Libraries can offer 24/7 access to library holds by placing the self-service units outside the branches and at "mini branches" at other community gathering locations such as recreation centers, parks and train stations.
Unattended applications impacted as acceptance grows
While many biometric applications, such as border control, are not completely unattended, the rising use of biometric technology will carry over to unattended applications. In addition, applications deploying the technology will eventually seek to reduce human interaction as users become more familiar with the systems.
Public acceptance of biometric technologies in authorizing payments is already increasing, according to a recent consumer survey by Viewpost, a provider of a B2B network for invoicing, payments and cash management. The survey found 80 percent of Americans support "futuristic"payment technologies, including fingerprinting, facial recognition, retinal scanning and voice control.
Mobile payments will build the market
Much of the future growth for biometric identification will be in the mobile payment sector, which does not typically include kiosks.
Biometrics Research Group Inc. reported that with the growing functionality of smart phones, user authentication will extend beyond the personal identification number, making biometrics an essential consideration for mobile devices. A fingerprint identity sensor makes it easy for users to open their devices and to make payments with mobile devices.
Nevertheless, kiosks providing automated identity verification will play an important role in situations where it is important to prevent someone from using a fraudulent identification card, said Jim Sullivan, senior vice president of strategy and business development at Bio-Key International Inc., a provider of biometric software and hardware solutions. Sullivan offered the example of a person who is required to show up for a probation hearing. A check-in kiosk that reads the person's fingerprint will verify immediately whether or not the right person showed up for the hearing.
"Many of our customers use our product for convenient and secure logical access – sign in to desktops and workstations or access to applications – but our platform can also be used for automated in-person identification, which is ideal for kiosk interaction," said Sullivan.
McKesson Corporation has built self-service pharmaceutical dispensing kiosks using Bio-Key software and hardware.
AT&T recently built a visitor check-in kiosk using the Bio-Key platform that prints a visitor pass once the visitor has checked in, saving the company the expense of having a guard at the check-in area.
"The savings in labor and staffing is huge for them," Sullivan said.
Consumer awareness to impact kiosks
As consumer awareness of biometric technology rises, more opportunities will emerge for biometric applications in kiosks.
"I can see integrating biometrics in industries where security and speed of verification is needed in systems that need more complicated interactions," said Marshall Nye, development operations specialist at Advanced Kiosks, a provider of kiosk hardware and software. "Adding palm scanners to an ATM comes to mind. No need for a card; put your palm up and enter a pin (or facial recognition for the second half of the two-step authentication) to start banking. It's fast and easy, and a customer would be willing to use it because it makes sense contextually.”
"Top verticals would likely be government, as they are typically willing to invest more in initial technologies for security purposes, finance/banking, and/or healthcare because of the larger budgets and high costs associated with data breaches and security holes," said Laura Miller, director of business development and marketing at KioWare, a kiosk software provider.
"Government and travel obviously have been the largest early adopters, but now we're seeing increased application in fast food, retail and private business as well as banking and healthcare," said Frank Olea, CEO of Olea Kiosks Inc.
Olea is optimistic about the adoption of biometrics because progress has been made against the main objection – cost. He said the cost for both fingerprint and iris scanning technology are declining.
The rapid expansion of biometric technology will create new opportunities for self-serve kiosks to play a bigger role in verticals where identification verification is critical.
Part 2 of this series will explore how one biometric identification provider improves customer service for airline passengers at airports.
(Photo courtesy of Kiosk Information Systems.)
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.