Biometric signatures – The future of signing

  • January 23, 2020
  • Reading Time: 6 minutes
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Summary 

In this article, we will take you on a journey to help you understand in detail about the e-signing and biometric signature. Electronic Signatures has made a strong place as a first step towards the journey Digital Transformation. There are several types of e-signatures that help organizations smoothen their remote-work operations and overall documentation process with clients.  

What is a Biometric Signature? 

Biometric Signature is analyzing and recording people’s physical characteristics. These characteristics are encrypted, stored securely, and embedded in the signed document. Biometric data is unique to every individual and therefore is used to identify an individual as well as link a particular document or data to him. This type of signature is mostly chosen for critical transactions wherein the identity is necessary to be certified and verified. Moreover, the advanced security features of this type of signature ensure the integrity of documents at the time of the signing process as well as after the process.  

Biometric Signatures verify the unique pattern of physical features such as the retina, IRIS, fingerprint, or voice, embedded to identity and help in using it for recognition and verification purposes. This type of signature is used for critical transactions. Biometric technology has been adopted by the global market rapidly and is benefiting in simplifying their work process and earning revenues too.  

As electronic signatures are a predominant form of signature, biometric signatures are expanding with time. Let us have a look at some of the statistics to support this fact: 

According to Global Markets Insights, the global biometric market is expected to top USD 55.42 billion by 2027. 

Around 28% of the use of biometric technology in the US is by companies from the financial industry. 

Types of Biometric Signature and its Identifiers 

There are two types of widely used biometric systems: Physical Biometrics and Behavioral Biometrics. 

Physical Biometrics 

Physical biometrics is the type of biometrics that uses physical features to identify a person. Using special devices such as scanners, sensors and various other readers, this type of biometric data is stored in a database. First time, the system saves information such as fingerprints and converts it into digital data. Post that, the finger is placed back on the scanner and the system compares the new data with the one that is already stored in the database. In the final step, the system will either confirm the identity and grant access if the match is done or decline if not.  

Talking about the latest devices, smartphone cameras and video recorders can easily recognize faces using in-built sensors that are powered by neural networks. In this case, the image of the person becomes his identifier. This type of technology can be used to unlock phones but can also be used for complex tasks such as confirmation of purchases as well as accessing financial services.  

Behavioral Biometrics 

Behavioral biometrics is basically a recognition system which identifies a person based on their dynamics or behavioral characteristics. The characteristics included in this are handwriting and signature dynamics, voice and speech rhythms, gesture recognition, electronic device usage characteristics such as typing speed, etc. This is also called passive biometrics as it does not require any active participation from the user to move ahead with the authentication process. This type of authentication method is based on the characteristics of a person’s behavior. It evaluates a person’s unique behavior and subconscious movements.  

Voice recognition is one of the technologies which is a combination of both physical and behavioral biometrics. It analyzes dynamic as well as static characteristics of human voice at the same time.  

There are a total of five types of biometric identifiers. They are: 

  • Face 
  • Fingerprints 
  • Voice 
  • IRIS 

Face Recognition 

Face recognition process consists of face detection and tracking, facial feature detection, face representation and matching. It is also known as the automatic localization of a human face in an image or a video. If required, this technology can be used in confirming a person’s identity based on data availability. This method interests a lot of people lately because of its application in video conferencing. 

Fingerprint 

Fingerprint recognition is a type of physical biometrics. A fingerprint scanner is used to authenticate data in this method.  

As the print of the fingers are unique, capturing the pattern of tips of fingers for every individual can help maintain the data authenticity. This is one of the most adapted authentication methods, hence most people are familiar with this method. The best part about this method is it does not require you to remember complex passwords. 

Voice Recognition 

Voice is an inherent feature to each person as unique as the face or fingerprint. Voice recognition is a convenient method for users and requires minimum effort on their side. Adopting this biometric technology will help speed up the process and make the work easier for agents. The use cases of voice recognition can be security systems, credit card verification, forensic analysis, teleconferencing, etc.  

IRIS 

Iris scanning technology is the process of using visible and near-infrared light to take a high contrast photograph of a person’s Iris. It was first proposed in the year 1936 by a renowned ophthalmologist. Later, in 1990, an algorithm for detecting difference in the iris was patented by John Dufman, Iridian Technologies. Nowadays, it is one of the most accurate authentication methods and is performed using dedicated iris scanners. The use of an individual’s both irises and its unique pattern for signing and verification of the document. In this process, the pupil is located firstly, followed by detecting the iris and eyelids. Post that, unnecessary parts like eyelids and eyelashes are excluded to keep the iris part. Now, it is divided into blocks and converted into numerical values that represent the image. Lastly, it is matched with previously stored data using the same methods to verify the identity of the person. 

These advanced security features of biometric signing ensure the data integrity of documents during the signing process. 

Benefits of Biometric Signature 

Let us have a look at the benefits of this type of electronic signature: 

  • Fast and secure 
  • Reduces paperwork and costs 
  • Easy and quick access to documents 
  • Easily integrates with any software 
  • Ensures data integrity 
  • Less prone to forgery 
  • 100% legal validity 
  • Application of Biometric Signatures 

Biometric signatures are being used significantly in every industry these days. Still, below listed industries can make the most out of it. 

  • Law enforcement (criminal identification) and public security 
  • National Security (Military/Navy) 
  • Civil identification 
  • Healthcare 
  • Commercial applications: Online shopping and transaction (consumer/customer identification) 
  • Banking 
  • Government Organizations 
  • Public administration (Self-assessment tax returns, registration, legal procedures) 
  • HR (Human Resources) process (employee attendance and details) 

The Emergence of Signature Types 

Signatures are basically used to authenticate documents, transactions, and other paper/manual-based instruments. Signature on any paper/document implies that the signer approves the responsibility of the data of the document. The traditional method of signing the process requires a signer in person to sign and verify a particular document. It was more popular because of its distinctive property of handwritten and styling pattern which was difficult to imitate. 

With the passage of time, online signatures were introduced to overcome the hassle of manual signing and verification. Gradually, electronic signatures made a presence in the global market. While businesses were adopting this digital transformation, many types of e-signatures such as digital and biometric signatures were introduced, based on the level of authentication. 

Especially during the last two years, the covid 19 pandemic has changed the ways of businesses significantly. In order to maintain continuity and accommodate new customers in challenging circumstances, all the businesses tried to adapt to the digital transformation. Electronic signature became the first step for the teams working remotely and moving to remote-friendly operations smoothly. Electronic signature is an efficient and coherent way to replace handwritten signatures in a remote working scenario. Biometric signature, a type of e-signature is one of the most secured types of digital signature.  

Electronic and digital signatures hold their own importance and are proven beneficial to many businesses. Biometric Signatures, on the other hand, holds maximum authenticity as compared to the others because the wet signatures can be imitated easily but biometric signature verification becomes superior and leaves no room for imitation. First off, let us clear the basics, know everything about Biometric Signatures. 

Conclusion 

In a world where businesses are going digital, signatures have preserved their significance. Initially being less authentic, trust issues and less reliability on e-signatures had led people to hold hands toward digital signing but with the ability of biometric signatures, businesses are considering it as the only means of verification. The future of signing without any doubt is Biometric signatures. Biometrics has made it possible to measure all the physical traits which are unique to an individual and are proven to be 100% authentic. Leverage Cygnature and digitize your signing processes in the work system for a better future. 

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