Face It - Biometrics Is For More Than Access Control
VAR opportunities are opening up as biometric applications expand and prices fall.
Business Solutions, March 1998
How Should VARs React To Changes?
When asked how VARs and systems integrators should be reacting to changes in the biometric marketplace, both spokesmen urged them to rid themselves of the concept that biometrics are strictly for access control. The vendors also stressed the importance of learning about the capabilities of the systems. Only by thoroughly understanding system capabilities can VARs recommend customized solutions to customers. The vendors further suggest that large reductions in price are occurring throughout the biometrics industry and that these price reductions will make biometrics far more attractive to end users. Price has been the primary deterrent to more widespread acceptance of biometrics, according to Boyett. Interestingly, he points out that biometric technology is accepted far more abroad than here. He says his company sells more units in Asia and Europe than in all of North America, largely because price has not been such an issue abroad. Atick adds that, because biometric technology is, basically, a human-machine interface, it's important for VARs to be sensitive to the human aspects. In other words, biometric solutions should not inconvenience people any more than older systems. They should be nonintrusive, instantaneous and handicapped-accessible.
What Does The Future Hold?
Both vendors agree changes with biometrics are occurring at a rapid pace. Boyett stresses that biometric solutions are constantly becoming faster, better, and cheaper, as well as smaller, due to competition and customer demand. He cites his company's unit, which is in the process of being transformed from 26 pounds to less than two and from 15 in. by 12 in. by 10 in. to 6 in. by 9 in. by 4 in. The next generation may be the approximate size of two packs of cigarettes. Atick predicts a strong future for layering biometrics, such as face and voice, especially in high security installations. No biometric solution is 100% accurate, although most achieve accuracy rates of 99%+. By requiring individuals desiring access to pass two or more entirely different biometric technologies (layering), security is virtually 100% assured. Atick also stresses the speed with which these changes are occurring makes it necessary for VARs to seek vendors with strong research and development departments.