We have mentioned how COVID-19 has impacted tech conferences, cyber scams, and daily work life, but another area that will be seriously affected is biometrics.

What are Biometrics?

Biometric authentication is a method used to verify someone’s identity through physical or behavioral characteristics. These practices are used in place or alongside methods like passwords or keycards in order to avoid fraud or break ins. The most common uses of biometrics are fingerprint readers and iris or retina scanners. The first time a user interacts with the system, they record the data that needs to be analyzed and stored, such as their fingerprint. Every time that user interacts with the system after that, the stored data is compared with the live data in order to authenticate their identity. These techniques are typically very accurate and secure.

What Will Be the Impact from COVID-19?

As mentioned above, fingerprint scanners are one of the most popular methods of biometric authentication. Fingerprint scanners are relatively cheap and pretty accurate, but they require contact with a surface. Other common biometrics include palm and hand geometry scanners. In these times, anything that involves people touching a screen that has been touched by a multitude of people will no longer be acceptable. Both individuals and organizations are being held accountable regarding their efforts towards maintaining good hygiene and safe practices. Scanners involving touch could spread the virus as well as cause legal trouble for a company if they choose to disregard health and safety warnings by not taking the expected level of precaution. A study by ABI Research, a tech market advisory firm, suggested the biometrics industry could experience a $2 billion loss from these changes. On the other hand, contactless designs will most likely experience a boost to counteract this loss. Contactless methods, like iris and retina scanners, are accurate, stable, and can be used while wearing a mask. The term stable refers to the fact that a person’s iris does not change over time. Although these methods are a bit more expensive than fingerprint scanners, the benefits will surely outweigh the drawbacks. Therefore, even if biometrics take a hit in some areas, they will grow as contactless methods become the authentication approach of choice.

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