Adieu passwords (we WON'T miss you), hello biometric iris scanner

Do you, like me, have a gazillion passwords for a plethora of online accounts?  
Decades ago, I would have used the same password for the handful of accounts I opened. As mobile banking, apps and online registrations became the norm, so did the need to vary, lengthen, and complicate passwords, ensuring each and every one was unique. Certainly, a tiresome and painful process, but a necessary one to help safeguard the more important logins that secure more sensitive assets and data. 
Some of us have been have been creating personal algorithms as an aide-memoirs, combining characters from pet names, birthdays, car registrations and/or postal codes. Others use password managers to babysit the complicated bits. 
Whatever route you ended up taking, passwords suck. A necessary evil we've had to suffer with…until now.
A few companies, like Apple, shoved open the doors with the introduction of fingerprint-scanning technology. While impressive in many ways, a number of security issues  meant it wasn’t the foolproof answer we were looking for to secure our most valuable data. 
But this doesn’t mean biometrics aren’t going to be useful in the near future. Say hello to iris-scanning technology, the cool feature of the new Android Phone, Arrows NX-F-OFG. 
Created in partnership between Fujitsu and Japanese mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo, this phone is the first out of the gate with this specific biometric tech, ahead of rivals Samsung, who’ve also been investing R&D into this biometric technlogy. And more recent reports claim there are rumours that South Korea firm LG may also include iris scanning technology into its LG G5, scheduled for launch in 2016. 
The phone, with ActiveIRIS technology, was launched in Japan late last week. Currently making use of the tech to unlock the device, the companies plan to use the iris recognition technology to authenticate mobile payments and enable access to a range of online services, says this press release
Its uses so far have been limited to special applications for specific sectors, like government and defence because it was cost prohibitive. Thanks to in-depth research, the ActiveIRIS technology combines advanced software algorithms with inexpensive hardware to make iris recognition both affordable and reliable. 
Biometrics aside, this Android device runs on Lollipop 5.0, has 32 GB of storage, 3 GB RAM, and a 5.2-inch QHD display, according to media reports.

For the time being, the phone is being sold only in Japan, so we will need to wait for more in-depth reviews to see if this implementation of this biometric lives up to expectation. With Samsung and, if the rumours are correct, LG nipping at Fujitsu’s heels, I suspect it will be made available to a broader market sooner rather than later. Watch this space! 

-Carole Theriault
Consultant for AKJ Associates.

Tags: Fujitsu NTT Docomo Arrows NX-F-OFG iris recognition scanner biometrics Android
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