Biometric Technology is the Present and Future of Access Control

Far from being the stuff of secret agents, the face of tomorrow’s security will be something we all recognize.

Imagine an access pass you can never lose and is basically impossible to hack. This is the bold implication inherent in biometric technology: the method of using a person’s vocal, manual, or optical data for identification and authentication.

Labelling it future tech is inaccurate because biometrics are already in significant use, protecting everything from government installations to business premises and healthcare facilities. And today, this advanced form of security is evolving into something even more effective.

Traditional biometrics in access control

The human eye offers two biometrics via the iris and retina. Iris scans isolate the color of an eye to identify the individual (all iris patterns are as unique as fingerprints), whereas retinal scans use the pattern of blood vessels to establish a data match.

Optical metrics are among the more reliable bio-securities. Blood vessels and color patterns are hard things to fake. A downside is the high price tag usually associated with such intricate technology, and the invasive nature of the retinal method which can infringe upon medical privacy.

Fingerprint scanning

This modality is so common you may have used it to get into the nearest theme park or your cell phone. While it’s true that rising concerns about personal privacy have led to a growing distrust of biometrics, fingerprinting is still a relatively non-intrusive means of gathering uniquely identifying data for access control.

Vocal recognition

A voice can be mimicked, but a vocal impersonation may not be enough to throw off a voice scanner due to speaking being a far more intricate process than many realize. This in-depth resource from last year’s RSA conference highlights the pros and cons of voice metrics and the physical requirements involved.

How traditional biometrics can lose effectiveness

Among the prime RSA concerns are how the human voice ages and alters with emotions and how the original sample recording environment may influence the data. This factor may render a subject’s voice invalid due to speaking in a different locale under different conditions.

A broader facial recognition system may fail if the lighting is too harsh or weak. A clear contact lens may subtly alter the shade of an iris. A fingerprint may be pressed onto a receptive medium and reused fraudulently. If someone hacks a password, it can be changed. It’s not so easy to change your voice, hands or eyes if they’ve been compromised.

How modern biometrics are applied

Building classifications range from A to C. The A-class exhibit the highest quality combination of construction, location, management, and amenities, with these decreasing in effectiveness down the scale. The more modern Class As often have biometrics built into turnstiles, allowing instant access on approach without the need to swipe cards.

The medical sector, among other high-security fields, utilizes biometrics not only for defense (such as in the case of big pharmaceutical companies), but to also enable patients to use other means of identification if their hands cannot be used. The benefits of optical metrics for elder care, for example, can both preserve and extend the lives of dementia patients.

Minimizing medical security risks

Medical mix-ups see up to 10% of patients misidentified during record searches, a problem that would be severely reduced with biometrics. The safety of medical records, while primarily concerned with cyberattacks these days, is also still at risk from simple walk-in theft of secure areas.

Such unauthorized access would likewise diminish with bio-security, as would billing fraud. A valuable benefit would be in the speed of emergency response; an incapacitated patient can be quickly identified biometrically if they are unconscious or unable to speak.

The next step in biometrics

The evolution in bio-security must factor in its three most pressing concerns: increasing positive IDs, minimizing fraud, and optimizing the user experience. This means addressing the discomfort many feel about the invasive nature of biometrics, while helping facilities process staff and visitors at a more efficient rate.

Today’s best biometric security solutions eliminate the need for ID cards, keys, and codes. Deep recognition analytics of facial and physical behavior now generate biometric data that eliminates the need for invasive eye scans and fingerprints. Approved parties can pass directly to their destination without the need to slow or stop.

Image recognition is no longer as prone to poor lightning or motion blur. Cutting edge bio-security also incorporates the digital element of easily integrated, customizable software which adapts to the existing infrastructure of a building and mobile application.

Your partner in becoming safer

As new horizons in security become a reality, one thing doesn’t change: the individual nature of your own security needs. Your premises, business model and the people in it all contribute to a security solution that fits only your unique requirements.

About POM Technologies

At POM Technologies, we’ve delivered over 2,000 security solutions across six industries in the greater New York Metropolitan area. We work with you to provide comprehensive, site-specific security from implementation to post-installation support.

To discuss your needs, you can call us at (212) 688-2767, email at or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.