Forget the name of your first pet – biometrics are the best way to identify yourself

By Helena Bunney, - Future WorkplaceService Intelligence


Click here to reset your password.
What was your first pet called?
What is your favourite film?
What is your most memorable meal?


Your password must contain eight characters
Your password must include at least one uppercase character and at least one lower case character.
Your password must include non-alphabetic characters (such as 1,&%#@)

Your passwords do not match.
You cannot use a previous password

I am sure the above is familiar to you.

The average person uses eight different passwords a day, so I would guess that at some point recently you’ve experienced the frustration of resetting your password and having to prove you are actually you.

Answering authentication questions that require you to remember your first pet’s name (was it Fluffy the guinea pig or Roger the goldfish?!) or your mother’s maiden name is a tedious and time-consuming process.

And that’s not all. Pins and security questions provide opportunities for hackers.  We unwittingly reveal a lot of personal data online and on social media, so it’s no surprise that information about our identity can be easily accessed, forged, stolen and misused.

A growing consumer trend

Biometric technology is a powerful tool for identification because it is difficult to steal or fake a biological characteristic like a fingerprint.

This means we are using biometrics increasingly in our consumer lives.

Facial recognition at airport passport control has become commonplace to us, and this will increase by 2020 as 63% of terminals and 43% of carriers plan to invest in biometric capability in the next three years.

Fingerprint technology has also become hugely popular since it was first introduced as part of  Apple’s iPhones. Now a whole cohort of iPhone users relies on fingerprint technology as a payment method through Apple Pay.

This is most apparent with Generation Z and Millennials. According to a recent survey performed by Dealspotr, the age group 18-35 are most likely to pay with Apple Pay. Users place their trust in biometrics because of its reliability and security but also due to  its ease and simplicity of use.

Moving into the enterprise world

Financial services is an industry which can gain a lot from adopting biometric security. From fingerprint to facial authentication, banking institutions are rolling out biometrics in order to make it quicker, easier and more secure for users to access their accounts.

Voice biometrics in particular have been adopted by many mainstream retail banks and their customers. As each individual voice is unique and made up over 150 different attributes, it is far more secure than security questions or passcodes. So even if your personal details have been stolen, forged or hacked from your computer or social media account your banking information remains secure.

This technology has further increased in adoption due to the rise of digital voice assistants in our homes. It has become natural to us to use our voice to give commands to Alexa, Siri, Google or Microsoft’s Invoke.

Market research firm Gartner confirms 30% of all searches will be by voice at the end of this year, because people find it easier to speak than type, especially if they are disabled or illiterate.

This means it’s time for enterprises to utilize these technologies to provide employees with a user experience matching that of their personal lives.

At Fujitsu, we see the benefits of biometrics and are very active in this area. From providing our own IPR with PalmSecure technology and working with partners to offer a comprehensive portfolio of biometric capabilities, we are committed to unlocking the benefits of biometrics for the workforce.

Making the Service Desk more efficient with biometrics

The Service Desk is an area where biometric technology can really make a difference. Fujitsu’s Social Command Centre (SCC) is an example of this.

It uses voice biometric technology to enable users to reset their passwords by speaking into their device. This ultimately reduces the number of calls to the Service Desk, and reduces the amount of time employees have to spend waiting for a desk agent to help them.

Your voice: a unique security feature

Having the option of  voice ID authentication enhances security and offers the organization enormous cost saving, since it’s a more efficient and  convenient method for resetting passwords(which still represents 20-30% of all Service Desk interactions for some companies).

Voice biometric technology supports multiple languages and works by analysing subtle differences between how people speak and how their voice sounds. Everyone’s voice is unique, and it’s almost impossible to recreate all of the behaviour and physical aspects of someone’s voice such as timbre, pitch and tone.

This means even if you have a cold or there is background noise the technology analyses the actual biometric data of each voice.

The enterprise tool of the future

Biometric technology combines efficiency with security. This is what makes it invaluable as an enterprise tool.

When biometrics is used in the authentication process, it saves employees time and frustration. There’s no need for them to struggle over bizarre questions about their own personal history. Now their voice is their password.

When it’s incorporated into your service desk it allows employees to help themselves in a way that suits them.

Ultimately it enables your employees to concentrate on what really matters – not what their first pet was called!

Learn more about our Social Command Centre to see how Biometrics could help secure your organization.

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