Monday, July 6, 2020

5 Things You Should Know About Biometric Technology

Whether you know it or not, biometric technology is a part of daily life in many parts of the world. If you use facial recognition verification on your phone or to gain access to a secured space, or place your finger on a mobile device to unlock the interface, you are experiencing biometric tech at work. In essence, it utilizes the uniqueness of your body's features as a means of authentication. 

Biometric security through technology is a great and innovative idea that's impacting many of our security systems and safety measures, especially now that social distancing and the new norm are all very real concepts in our lives. 
Here are a few things you should know about biometric tech that could come in handy if you intend to use it in your business or implement it in any shape or form.

It provides enhanced security

You may be familiar with basic forms of digital security like passwords and verification messages sent directly to your phone or email. However, these measures are sometimes not enough to protect your assets from malicious activities, especially since cyber-criminals are growing more advanced and intelligent by the day.
This is why biometric technology is considered a form of enhanced security, when combined with other authentication methods to form a very strong user authentication process. It relies on physiological identifiers or human traits to access control systems or unrestricted spaces (digital or physical). The fingerprint lock is a common biometric tech feature and is used for items ranging from phones to physical safe locks. They are more convenient and more secure than traditional deadbolts. On top of this, fingerprint locks can usually detect whether a door has closed and can automatically be locked after a few seconds, which means that you won't have to worry about leaving something unlocked by accident.
Most of the e-KYC (electronic know-your-customer) frameworks witnessed in the online ID verification process are also relying on facial verification to prevent unauthorized representation of identity or identity fraud.

Biometric tech isn't really a 'new' concept

Biometric technology is somewhat unique with regard to its point of origin in the technological timeline. It's simultaneously old and new. The first form of biometric tech could have been seen some 20 years ago and, even then, it functioned as a revolutionary alternative to traditional forms of verification like plastic ID cards or manual identification. 20 years is pretty long ago, however, at the same time, this technology might be considered relatively new because we're seeing improved and enhanced applications to this day. It has been a long time coming and can be a key part of a business’ digital strategy (particularly today).

It doesn't necessarily increase costs

One of the biggest arguments against biometric technology is to do with the costs incurred on individual businesses. This isn't necessarily a true or good argument, especially if you consider the many benefits related to the direct value that companies can obtain in the long run. Biometric devices have actually been known for minimising correlating costs like administration costs since there is no need to keep or update records in the form of long lists made up of names and passwords that are filled in manually. 
Instead, biometric technology lets company systems collect, retain and utilize all the information necessary for authorisation, whether through the use of fingertip templates or facial templates. 

It comes in many versatile forms

Since biometric tech relies on unique features of an individual's physiology, a variety of applications can be considered. The most common type of biometric application would be the fingerprint as the most visible and ubiquitous option in the list. It's a great way to reinforce your systems, devices or physical spaces via multi-factor authentication. 
Aside from fingerprints, iris recognition (by which a person conducts an eye scan with infrared light to determine unique patterns in the iris) is also an option for biometric application, as well as facial recognition (since the face is arguably the most unique and distinguishable part of the human body used for identification).

Biometric tech doesn't actually use your image

One of the common concerns about biometric technology is that the image of the person being scanned could be stored and stolen by potential hackers. This isn't exactly right. In reality, biometric data does extract from the captured image for its initial step. However, the image itself isn't used for the authentication process. Original images of faces, fingerprints or eyes are removed and replaced with a mathematical version of the image that is a digital reference made up of unique characteristics.
This is called a biometric template. In this way, biometric features are stored and encoded via mathematical references. This method can also optimise and speed up the process of biometric search; imagine searching for 1 identified match from a pool of hundreds of thousands to millions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Rise of Biometric Identification In The Education Sector

Primarily, with regards to Biometric Identification, fingerprint scanning is one of the most widely used methods of verification adopted worldwide. The current COVID-19 pandemic crisis has brought about increased caution and instigated a ‘contactless culture’ related to the importance of social distancing. Biometric identification can still be a useful security measure and can be enhanced with contactless biometric technology.

Contactless biometric technology, with its abilities and applications, has now become a valuable tool for instructors who want to enforce academic integrity in light of the continued migration of learning into the online space. However, it also offers significant safety benefits beyond that.

Advocating the "contactless" new norm

In today's high-risk environment, public health is a major issue. Offices, schools and public institutions are either temporarily closed, or slowly reopening with tight regulations and operational SOPs.

This is where biometric verification can come in handy. Fingerprint scanning can be exclusively enabled for identification on personal devices - such as through the use of a personal smartphone for fingerprint verification, or facial verification through a phone camera. In this way, biometrics can still be used as a relevant security measure for schools. In fact, biometrics might lead to fewer points of contact in public spaces and better safety control.

Building a more engaging educational experience

In addition to grade books and report cards, school districts now have access to a set of tools that might provide them with unprecedented insight into how students engage with class material. This is possible via biometric data.

The applications of such information are obvious with the advent of popular wearable technology, such as Fitbits and smartwatches. The current crisis would require that individuals use personal wearables as a means of practicing social distancing.

Biosensors can be used to make inferences about student engagement, including infrared and surveillance cameras, as well as to characterize behavioural problems. Measurements of their behaviour — such as eye contact, interactions with other students, and body language — can convey a lot about how a learner interprets the material in the class. Using Big Data, these records can help instructors when a learner might lose interest, when they might need assistance, or when there are distractions in the room.

Reinforced security

In managing the student body, safeguarding online access to records, monitoring attendance, and protecting property such as books from the school library, schools are responsible for handling multiple security and convenience-related issues. On top of this, schools have a transient audience by nature, with new students coming and going each semester.

Online learning has introduced a new security risk now because schools need to safely identify the person taking the tests and participating in the course. In the end, all of this boils down to positive identification.

Traditional methods for aspects like attendance, online security and checking out library books have been substituted with contactless biometric authentication (and with good reason). It's simply another case of process enhancement via technology.

Expect to see similar contactless enhancements as digital transformation becomes more common. 
As part of school lunch programs, many schools even adopted biometric authentication. Biometric sign-in lets individuals monitor their school lunch account discreetly, irrespective of whether it is self-financed or subsidized. Again, schools will have to adapt to the new norm and rely on contactless biometric verification moving forward. 

Streamlining school operations

The convergence of different activities and timeliness can be critical for maintaining discipline in any school. Incorporating biometrics at different parts of the school can reduce manual work, paperwork, and time taken with regards to different processes including student registration, attendance, reporting, allocation of equipment, library management and invoicing.

Deploying a biometric access control system at the main door could very well prevent any threats to safety from entering the school premises. This system would also make school transport secure for students as well as convenient for drivers.

Younger kids are often struggling to get on to the right bus and get off at the right stop, while new drivers can also fail to identify students visually and remember details. Contactless biometrics can help school authorities store all of these details and make transportation to school safe and efficient.

Boosting purchasing efficiency

Though considered a high-cost option, when implemented in schools, contactless biometrics provides a variety of advantages. Students will no longer have to carry cash that can get lost, stolen or misused for the purpose of making purchases, such as in cafeterias. Moving away from the traditional identity card system eliminates the issue of lost, stolen, and damaged cards, reducing costs and inconvenience. What’s more, contactless biometric verification through facial or fingerprint methods from personal mobile devices could reduce the risk of contracting any illnesses.

With contactless biometrics systems throughout canteens, students will no longer have the potential to be publicly identified as having a "free" or "reduced" status, and meal lines move much faster. Schools have also been known to experience a 20 per cent increase in cafeteria meal line speed.

Maintaining academic integrity

With artificial intelligence effectively being able to read body language and facial features, it is possible to better preserve academic integrity. This is especially useful in a college examination or standardized test situation, where invigilators may not necessarily recognise signs of cheating in large test-taking groups.

Students could also benefit from an identification system for biometrics that would allow effective identification during online testing.

There are many reasons why schools should adopt this biometric technology. It builds up a more engaging educational experience by enabling more access and the ability to recognize behaviour patterns. There is also more security and school operations can be streamlined. Other than that, it can enable contactless processes and reduces downtime with regards to purchasing. It can also make it harder for students to cheat. 

Biometric Identification may be commonly understood as involving some sort of physical contact. However, educational institutes can benefit from implementing contactless biometric technology. Such benefits can include safety and even relate to purchasing efficiency, academic integrity, as well as the streamlining of school operations.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Why the COVID-19 Crisis is a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

The COVID-19 outbreak has made a seismic impact on people's memories. Businesses around the world have had to take work-from-home or social-distancing measures — or even temporarily cease operations. Digital transformation is essential with regards to operational resilience for enterprises as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect the world economy.

The pandemic continues to cause political and economic turmoil and is affecting business operations. Some businesses have indeed been able to play to their strengths. Others are now taking digitization seriously.

Growing demand for secure cloud solutions

Just as businesses were beginning to recognize adoption of ‘the cloud’ as a vital catalyst for business transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has made it a key enabler to ensure business continuity. During these challenging times, the cloud's power to transform backup data into an asset, making it more open and accessible, can help organizations gain critical insights into uncovering opportunities and expediting decision making.

Even so, with more workers connecting remotely to work from home, cloud adoption without data protection could be ineffective. Cloud data protection systems are a must as they can ease data complexity, provide a central point of access, increase data visibility, reduce legal and regulatory risks and save costs.

Businesses must set up a foundation for data protection

Businesses are helping employees to work from home to try and safeguard business continuity and security. Simplifying data backup and recovery is one of the measures that can be taken in order to make the data management and accessibility process easier and faster (especially when the entire company connects remotely). While conventional backup systems are both cost-intensive and time-consuming, the backup process can be accelerated through a cloud data protection system.

There is a shift in digital security priorities

In the face of cybercrime, the need for safety and security remains paramount. However, to bring about change and realize the scale and potential of digitalization for industries, one might need to be more open. Building a wall, whether physical or virtual, hampers data, information, and knowledge exchange. These are the foundations of the digital world and it's the speed at which we can turn that knowledge into an important product that really matters.

In order to bring about change, trust must be created not only in the data itself (especially when critical decisions are based on it) but also in those who use the data. Scandals like the Cambridge Analytica incident have lessened our trust in such things. This ultimately leads to the need for behavioural change and system modernization within the industry and among policy-makers.

It is a cultural transition of epic proportions that must happen if we are to realize the potential of the digital era.

There's a sense of urgency to move forward

For many corporations, speeding up their digital transformation is the only option. That involves moving from abstract conceptualization to active scale-up, backed by continuous testing and continual learning. These moves should take place in two areas: at the core of the company and through new business development.

Despite the enormous difficulties that CEOs manage today, it's time to act now. In fact, we've seen that the significant decrease in travelling time has provided more time for CEOs and their top teams to focus on new initiatives. For example, a leader at a large bank recently said they were finally getting around to deploying a major Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) program that they had no time for before. Given how rapid the change that’s taking place is, it might be too late to wait until you see signs of recovery.

Besides, businesses also start to recognize the fact that physical document signing is no longer just a disruption for a month or two of pandemic lockdown period, but a sustained challenge for any activity that relies on face-to-face workflow. Just among Innov8tif’s clientele, we have witnessed the following problem statements related to document signing:

1. How could a mobile network operator seal postpaid subscription contracts with customers, truly online while still legal-binding and complying to Malaysia’s Digital Signature Act 1997?

2. How could the authorized signatory of a MNC who is subject to stringent audit requirements, approve payment instructions online while addressing the need for non-repudiation requirements?

Such requirements can be easily accomplished with document approval workflow which addresses digital workflow routing needs, plus a seamlessly integrated digital signing solution that accomplishes legal binding document signing, and even enhanced biometrics authentication to provide additional level of confidence towards the identity proofing process. It sounds like a complex solution, but it has been simplified by Innov8tif with an out-of-the-box offering.

Enterprises must accept the new digitized norm

Prominent economies are already looking at confining themselves and carefully thinking about how individuals will move around. This phase might be long (possibly two years) for businesses, uncertain and will have a lasting effect on corporate roadmaps and organizations. In concrete terms, most corporations are likely going to face uncertainty and economic recession.

Remote work has become the new norm. Flexible working will become the norm for most organizations as it is the simplest solution for helping to watch out for the daily well-being of workers. As a result, company roadmaps and digital customer experiences are likely to be effected within the next 18 months. Workflow gives you the power to work better — no matter the circumstances. So employees can be productive, wherever they are. And customers can get what they need, when they need it.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues taking a toll on the world economy and affecting business operations, digital transformation is crucial. With most people isolating themselves at home and working from home, more businesses are now taking digitization seriously. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for digital transformation.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Giving Back to Our Local Community

As COVID-19 sweeps across the world, all lives are being upended. This global pandemic crisis is unlike anything we have seen before.

One of the core components in Innov8tif that we value the most is putting a human face on business entities by communicating empathy, understanding and support, both moral and financial, for those who need it the most. We understand that when it comes to giving back to the community, any action, big or small can make a real difference.

“With that in mind, we want to do our part to give back to our local communities by contributing through Sumbangan Kasih program, a program under Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) that focuses on the welfare needs of B40 groups in Subang Jaya. We all hope for the fastest, safest resolution possible to the health crisis and for breadwinners to resume the productive role as soon as one can reasonably be expected,” George Lee, Innov8tif’s CEO.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Digital Health Declaration to Promote Safer Workplace

The Prime Minister of Malaysia has just announced that CMCO (conditional movement control order) is extended to June 9. And it is generally believed that, the Covid-19 pandemic will not end anytime soon, not even in the next 12 months. While Malaysians are now experiencing some relaxations in movement control, provisions in CMCO does not mean return to normal life.

Contact tracing is one of the crucial SOPs to be adopted by businesses. This means that, Malaysia's residents will be asked to register personal contact information when visiting any premise. The Selangor State government has rolled out SElangkah Initiative, which aims at facilitating the registration of individuals entering any premises in the state to protect the business operators and customers during the implementation of the CMCO.

A number of business premises I have visited in the past few days were still relying on paper logbook for visitor registration. Which led me to the following concerns:
  1. Sharing of writing instrument when physical contact is supposed to be minimised. 
  2. Some of the logbooks were even asking for IC (identification card) number, which in my opinion, is a potential infringement of personal data protection practices.
  3. Illegible handwriting, which defeats the purpose of contact tracing. And I am guilty for this. 
In March, during the second week of Covid-19 lockdown, Innov8tif rolled out a digital version of health declaration form for business offices, production plants and logistics warehouses to adopt best practice in contact tracing. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Looking to Implement A Digital Transition Strategy for Your Business? Here are 5 Tips!

You’ve probably realized that you need a strategy for ‘going digital’ efficiently. However, as prominent as the topic is, it's still a common challenge. Adaptability to new technology and staff competency towards the technology are a few of common challenges that business owners need to overcome as they realize how important digital and mobile platforms are, which are important for customer’s acquisition and retention.

Unfortunately, a large number of businesses lack an integrated strategy for expanding and effectively engaging with their audiences. System modernization is only one part of it.

If your company has no strategy in this arena, expect to lose out to more competent rivals. Transitioning to a new digital infrastructure doesn't have to be rocket science. Here are several tips to help you and your team get started.

1. Set Specific Objectives

A lot of people might view digital transformation as this fairly vague concept that doesn’t really mean anything other than having an internet connection and a couple of work apps. In reality, the transition to digital is quite comprehensive, as it can become rather overwhelming if you don’t have any clear objectives in place.

Discuss your company’s current goals and milestones with your team and work out how the digital landscape can bring you closer to these goals.

Take a look at your current customer journeys. Is there any room for improvement? What about customer acquisition? Are there any gaps that can be filled through the use of technology? Do you need an efficient customer onboarding solution? Is it time for your business to reinforce mobile biometric capabilities? Asking yourself these and other similar questions can help to bring your objectives into focus and make your path to digital clearer.

2. Identify Opportunities

Digital transformation brings opportunities to the table that may otherwise never have been possible. As leaders and business owners, our job is to have the vision and diligence to identify those opportunities and decide which ones should be acted upon. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the concept of “social distancing” to the forefront. With the help of technology, your business could offer innovative solutions via a contactless digital process that prioritizes safety and convenience.

Monday, April 27, 2020

4 Digital Trends that are Propagating Contactless Behaviour for The Low-Touch Economy

Over the last few years, major changes have occurred in the payments space. As we move into a new decade, change is likely to continue. Payment patterns for 2020 appear to push the market in a far more consumer-centred direction, focusing on how payments can be made as simple and convenient as possible. With recent events, fear stirred by the pandemic and a looming recession has magnified this push towards a more consumer-centred approach.

Digital trends are underway. These prompt contactless behaviour in the name of economic survival and continued digital transformation.

Biometric Authentication

Consumers have been using their fingerprints to unlock their smartphones for many years. These same fingerprints also allow for mobile banking transactions and mobile payments. Corporations, consumers and service providers all rely on fingerprints or other kinds of biometric identification tech to make payments much more effective, accurate and safe. Security via reinforced authentication also drives seamless online experiences. 

Biometric authentication solves a very relevant problem that gets in the way of contactless payments. As one could imagine, the pandemic has brought fear to contact-based biometrics, such as fingerprint scanner. India's local authorities were also seen instructing businesses to stop the use of fingerprint-based biometric system to curb COVID-19. This trend has given a rise to requirements for contactless biometrics, such as facial and iris recognition.

Reliability, authenticity and trust are all concepts that are not as strong online as they are in ‘real life’. Biometrics revolve around stronger components that relate to self-identification. These can fortify systems, software and platforms, particularly those that involve financial details and other sensitive information prone to being affected by cybercrime.