Is Biometrics Finally Ready to Grow Up?

The early history of biometrics technologies proved to be premature on its promises. Now might be time to reconsider and embrace its coming of age as a primetime security solution.

Let’s have the teenager in the room escorted to the door because it’s time they left the party. That would be the shady reputation biometrics has had with many security integrators, end users, distributors and even us consultants

Biometrics has evolved through those turbulent teenage years to become a responsible young adult. Not fully mature, but certainly ready to start a productive career in the security industry. So let me tell you more about biometrics’ not-so-great reputation.

We’ve all probably had a few moments as a security industry teenager that got us into trouble and aren’t really too proud of, but that is just part of growing up. We could blame it on the security parents who did not properly train, discipline or care for their technology products. In the early years, the manufacturers of biometrics got a little too full of themselves and seriously overpromised and underdelivered reliable products. This generation of products got into bad situations and ran with the wrong crowd, and got biometrics in trouble by misapplying the technology.

As a result, the entire security industry labeled the biometrics technology as not mature enough for a real career opportunity or one you would risk your career on implementing. The promise of possibilities to improve security designs and operations, and lower the total cost of ownership was admittedly pretty darn seductive. It’s difficult to forget or fake a credential if you were born with it.

Is IP Reluctance Repeating Itself?

Remember when IP video walked into the prom in 1996 without a date? This was the nerd that no popular girl would be caught dead dancing with or take on a drive-in movie date. But IP video grew up into a very handsome and successful movie star. So why can’t biometric access control blossom too?

At ISC West this year I was fortunate to moderate a gifted panel of leaders in the security industry as part of PSA Security’s educational track. The panelists included Eric Yunag of Dakota Security, Scott Ranger of Contava and Scott Lord of All Systems. We explored the “Top 10 Lessons Learned” implementing IP-centric solutions, and I posed the following questions:

1. What was the biggest challenge your company faced as you began to enter the world of IP-centric security solutions; how did you handle it and what advice would you give to our audience?

2. What was the biggest challenge your company faced in your strategic planning to enter the network-centric market?

3. What was the biggest challenge your company faced in your tactical planning as you entered the world of IP-centric security solutions?

4. What was the biggest challenge your company faced as you had to make decisions selecting IP-centric partners that would help you implement your strategic and tactical plans?

5. What was the biggest challenge your company faced as you worked with managing your customers’ expectations to migrate technologies away from legacy toward IP-centric solutions?

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About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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