Better Biometrics Now Governed by Reliability
For many years now, the promise of biometrics has not been fully realized in large part because performance in the lab is not representative of performance in the field. That’s the reason major integrators began shying away from biometrics. As one recently said, “Biometrics is 1% of my sales and 10% of my service calls.” Failure rates were running from 3% to 20%, which in a 50-person government office could be worked around. However, if hundreds of people were involved it created a big mess that fell back on the integrator.
Fortunately, the new generation of biometrics technology works the way everyone has always wanted — clean reads on the first try. As a result, there are several government sectors that integrators should closely watch.
The biggest opportunities are in health care. There is no doubt the health-care system in the United States is one of the most challenging and confusing systems in the world. It is wrought with waste, fraud and abuse. Federal mandates calling for greater security measures to be implemented in the name of patient privacy and confidentiality can complicate matters.
Biometrics can help government health-care providers such as Veterans Affairs, state, county and city hospitals ensure the only people getting their services are those entitled to their services. In addition, biometrics assure that the only people getting access to patient records are those authorized to do so. From drug dispensing authorizations to e-prescribing of pharmaceuticals, biometrics is beginning to play a big role in government health care.
There is also a growing use of biometrics in the transportation industry in those aspects of transportation in which there is governmental oversight. For instance, there has been great focus at airports on front-end, passenger-centric security but less so on back-end, employee and contractor access control. Many would argue that who is on the tarmac is more important to security than who is in a passenger line. Most people on the tarmac today gain access with a card or PIN.
Cargo tracking, including verifying who is packing, loading, unloading and hauling goods, is growing bigger and bigger, not only at airports but at seaports, rail hubs, and in the trucking/fleet management industry. Only biometrics can assure that who is supposed to be doing the job is indeed the person doing the job.
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