Biometrics Overview

Biometrics are the unique, measurable physical and behavioral traits of a person. Biometrics are widely used: when you look at a camera to cross a border; make a smartphone payment; use your voice to confirm your identity; enroll your fingerprints to get a national ID card or register for voting; even to confirm you are a device owner by the way you hold your smartphone or other device. For almost two decades, Daon’s researchers have led the way in developing and refining powerful authentication solutions that have biometrics at their heart.

Why biometrics for authentication?

Biometrics are ideal for authentication because users don't need to remember complicated passwords or carry additional tokens. Biometrics also prevent sharing of authentication credentials, unlike other factors which are not uniquely linked to the person.

Each biometric has its own advantages and disadvantages for specific scenarios and use cases. Multi-biometric solutions are highly configurable and can greatly enhance flexibility; they allow different user convenience and security trade-offs to be made.

Daon IdentityX offers a choice of biometrics to our customers, which greatly enhances user experience and acceptance. IdentityX also facilitates the use of multiple biometrics, where several biometrics are combined to further boost performance.

Key biometrics for consumer applications include:

  • Face: using a camera to capture an image and authenticate a user based on the features of their face.
  • Voice (speaker recognition): using a microphone to capture a voice sample and authenticate a user based on their vocal characteristics and speech patterns.
  • Fingerprint: using a fingerprint capture sensor to authenticate a user based on the features of their fingerprint (some smartphones are already using this method).
  • Palm: using a camera to capture an image of the palm and authenticate the user based on the lines of the palm's surface.
  • Behavioral biometrics: using the behavior of a user to authenticate them, e.g. using keystroke dynamics (typing rhythm) and any device sensors.
  • Iris: using a camera (with appropriate illumination), where an image of the iris portion of the eye (i.e. the colored portion) is captured and the user is authenticated based on the pattern of the iris.

In addition, when biometrics (something you are) are combined with something you know (a PIN or passphrase) and/or something you have (a key or token) it is referred to as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

Biometrics modalities v2

Biometrics: on-device or on a server?

Biometric algorithms can run on a user's personal device or on a server, or both. On-device algorithms are convenient as they can work offline and provide instant guidance and results, while server solutions can take advantage of vast computing power to improve accuracy, perform identification tasks, and allow better auditing.

Daon can help you to maximize your biometrics solution

In order to achieve optimal configuration for each different scenario, it’s important to measure the accuracy of each biometric, using a large collection of representative samples. Daon has benchmarked hundreds of biometrics algorithms: find out how we use this knowledge and experience to help our customers maximize the performance of their solutions. The Daon research team continuously evaluates, configures and combines biometric algorithms for different real-world deployment environments. Learn more about our Biometrics Research Lab.