Fingerprint as a biometric has played an important role in access control, where a door is opened to someone whose identity has been confirmed. Yet increasingly, fingerprint is used in other scenarios, for example in eKYC (electronic know your customer) applications.
That was the message promoted by Startek Engineering
, who took part in Secutech 2017 and has leveraged the eKYC trend in various countries in the world including India and the U.S.
In eKYC, instead of presenting their paper ID cards, the user or consumer just presses their finger on a reader which is linked to government-built databases in the cloud. If there is a match then the user is authenticated and can proceed with the transaction.
“In India, they no longer ask customers to fill out paper forms in telecom stores. Instead they use fingerprint readers in conjunction with the customer’s Aadhaar card. They had been holding trial runs and after August last year, they began nationwide implementation,” said Dr. Wen-Hsing Hsu, GM of Startek. “Our readers can now be seen in Indian telecom stores across the country. Last year we installed 300,000 units and this year we plan to ship 1.2 million.”
Other applications include airports, where travelers can just use their fingerprint in place of passports or other travel documents. “You can do this in two ways. You can either pre-register during the visa application process and authenticate upon arrival, or you can authenticate at the point of arrival by leaving your fingerprint which is then matched with the national databases from your country, and this can be done in one second,” Hsu said. “In the future you may no longer need travel documents.”
Startek offers various optical and capacitive fingerprint readers and sensors. The former can be used by the masses and is suitable in the aforementioned eKYC applications. The latter is more for personal use. Its SFC360 and SFC160 fingerprint sensors for example can be integrated into a USB drive, becoming a “universal key” that can activate various items.
“It can be used in different aspects of the everyday life from access control to opening safes to even starting your motorcycle. It’s simple to use – all you have to do is plug it in to the device you want to open – and its small size makes it easy to be carried by anyone,” Hsu said. “The business potential is huge since there is a demand of 40 million to 50 million units per year.”
According to Hsu, his company holds several advantages over competitors. “Our services and products comply with open and interoperable standards for fingerprint data exchange, providing comprehensive services based on the demands of customers,” he said. “Our mission is to make people’s life become more secure and more efficient.”