Terry Hartmann, vice president, security solutions & industry applications at Unisys
18 December 2014 11:12 GMT

The biometrics and identity industry has progressed leaps and bounds in 2014 – not that everyone necessarily realizes that yet.  This is the watershed year.  Pretty soon we’ll all look back on 2014 as the true genesis of biometrics as the facilitator of secure password-free authentication, and Apple Pay as the enabler.

Several well-publicized retail security breaches have provided the mindset, and Apple Pay is evidently delivering that most elusive of mobile payment requirements – a delightful customer experience - while introducing a host of game changers.  

For example, the tokenization of credit cards turning them into one-time passwords in reverse, biometric fingerprints being used by millions of new users, and an authentication process that is faster than hand signing or chip/PIN.   Coupled with this innovation is serious implementation, via backing and advertising from the big players MasterCard, Visa, AmEx as well as from the big retailers.

In 2015, the mobile paradigm will morph from BYOD (bring your own device) into BYOID (bring your own identity).  As we move toward a more connected world and the “Internet of Things” becomes more useful, each consumer will need a person-centric gateway device that belongs to them and is associated with their particular identity.

Luckily, most of them have that already.  Authentication will move from the back end of transactions to the front end – the consumer’s device, and their identities will be authenticated through ID codes, IP addresses and tools such as biometric readers built into smartphones and tablets.  

As for the back end, it will become a risk assessment ecosystem – providing flexibility for the service provider to make a multi-layered informed decision about the bona fides of a transaction – and to offer the consumer some flexibility too, such as the ability to choose modes of authentication they want for certain transaction types.   Leaps and bounds indeed.

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