Biometrics takes centre stage

August 2001 Access Control & Identity Management

Internet security is an increasing concern for business and home users. As a result the biometric industry is securing a place for itself in the IT market.

As the world evolves to e-commerce, the need for tighter security on transactions over the Internet is of paramount concern. Biometric technology could fill this critical loophole.

It relies on the unique physical features in human beings - like fingerprint, iris, voice and hand veins - to determine positive identification. Unlike existing methods that can be hacked or stolen, the means of identification with biometrics are inherent to the user, giving people more control over access to their personal information.

GartnerGroup predicts the biometrics security market will be one of the major areas of the key growth industries in the next five years.

"Biometrics," says Martin Smullen, MD of DataSphere Technologies, exclusive Southern African distributor of Digital Persona's U.are.U, "has come of age. The technology is fast gaining credibility across various industries as well as government, who are looking for more reliable methods than traditional means to reduce losses resulting from fraud and false identities. Not forgetting improved customer and public service by speeding up access."

Rule of thumb

Fingerprint recognition is the most popular biometric technique in use today. GartnerGroup predicts it will continue to dominate the market through 2002 due to its current penetration and maturity.

"Its acceptance," says Smullen, "is routed in the long history and worldwide acceptance of fingerprint as a strong proof of identity." All fingerprints are unique, making them ideal for personal digital identification and a strong alternative to passwords in large organisations.

Digital Persona's Windows-based U.are.U fingerprint recognition system is distributed for the mass market. The company has strong ties to the world's leading biometric experts and boasts extensive experience in designing, marketing and manufacturing computer peripherals for emerging markets including computer mice, small footprint scanners and other mass market peripherals.

Says Smullen, "Digital Persona's investors include Intel and IDG Ventures. This is Intel's first investment in the area of biometrics. As part of the agreement, Digital Persona will incorporate biometrics into the Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA) specification developed by Intel."

For details contact Datasphere Technologies on tel: (011) 783 8517 or visit

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