By Lina Andolf-Orup, Head of Marketing at Fingerprints
Gangsters cutting off enemies’ fingers to access secret locations and spies lifting fingerprints from martini glasses – the imagination of the entertainment world has been running wild ever since biometrics entered the scene.
Couple that with the limitations of some early biometric solutions from fifteen years ago, still anchored in the minds of many consumers, and you have the perfect recipe for an apprehensive and uncertain public.
Thawing lukewarm attitudes with a biometric touch
The biometrics industry has made great strides in the last few years – something particularly true for smartphones. Fingerprint authentication has replaced PINs and passwords as the most popular way to authenticate on mobile, with 70% of shipped smartphones now featuring biometrics.
And it doesn’t end there. Many adjacent markets are now eager to benefit from the secure and convenient authentication solutions that biometrics offer. Take the payments industry, for example, where biometrics payment cards are currently gathering real momentum.
However, some consumers are still uneasy about accepting biometrics. A recent study found that 56% of US and EU consumers are concerned about the switch to biometrics as it’s not enough understood to be trusted.
Although attitudes are shifting for the better, stats like this demonstrate there is still some work to do to disprove common biometric myths and showcase just how smart today’s solutions really are.
Dispel, adopt, repeat
The evolution in consumer biometrics in the last two decades has been phenomenal. And today’s solutions are far more advanced and safe than many may think.
To help bring an end to the myths, let’s expose some of the most common misconceptions around biometrics.
Myth: Biometric data is stored as images in easy-to-hack databases.
A leading myth about biometrics is that when a fingerprint is registered to a device, it is stored as an image of the actual fingerprint. This image can then be stolen and used across applications. In reality, the biometric data is stored as a template in binary code – put simply, encrypted 0s and 1s. Storing a mathematical representation rather than an image makes hacking considerably more challenging. In most consumer applications, this template is also not stored in a cloud-based location, its securely hosted in hardware on the device itself for example in the smartphone, in the payment card. Thus, it stays privately with its owner.
Myth: Fingerprints can be easily replicated to ‘trick’ devices.
The internet is full of articles and videos that claim it is possible to use materials from cello tape to gummy bears to craft fingerprint spoofs and access biometric systems. Although there may have been a time where gummy bear spoofing was the go-to party trick, todays’ consumer biometric authentication solutions have too many technological defences, such as improved image quality and matching algorithms, to simply ‘trick’ devices. Plus, on top this, the criminal needs to have access to the person’s device where this fingerprint is enrolled e.g. smartphone, payment card, before he/she notices and blocks it. This is not scalable nor common, in comparison to gaining access to someone’s PIN code or skimming a contactless card.
Myth: Physical change will prohibit access to my device.
Although our irises don’t change as we age, our fingerprints can and our faces will. Does that mean we have to update our biometric devices every few months to capture these changes? Not quite! Unless there are drastic, sudden changes, the ‘self-learning’ algorithms in modern-day biometric systems are able to keep up with our developing looks.
Who you gonna call? Mythbusters!
These are just some of the common biometric myths and misunderstandings perpetuating in consumer mindsets. Thankfully, though, while we’re working hard to rid the world of the myths, belief in the value of biometrics is only expected to grow. But as solutions expand and diversify, the myth-busting fight will continue.
Fingerprints has been a leader of innovation in biometrics for the last two decades. We’re proud of the expertise and R&D we’ve been able to pour into our biometrics solutions to deliver stronger security and a better user-experience. To learn more about the most common biometric misconceptions and the modern-day technology that allows us to dispel them, download our eBook here.
COMPETING IN A DIGITAL WORLD – SMES FIND THEIR FEET
– Stefano, Product Manager
Digital transformation is different for small and medium-sized companies. Or is it? In this article, we take a look at the current state of digital in SMEs and look ahead to see what is in store.
“Changes in business operations, and in the way customers are served, driven by digital technologies.”
That is a compact definition of digital transformation. And the digital technologies in question? They range from IoT (internet of things, or connected devices like smart sensors), to Robotic Process Automation and AI, to cloud computing.
SME rate of digitisation
Whether your business employs ten people or 10,000, the ingredients for digital transformation are the same. So how are small and medium-sized companies faring? Are they even interested in digitisation? Research1 says they are, and UK SMEs are doing better than many of their European counterparts, with high scores for adoption rates of cloud computing, Big Data and AI. To put this statement into perspective, 58% of companies have adopted cloud computing, but only 27% use some sort of AI-based technology.
Still, only 40% of SMEs report that digitisation is a top priority. An important fact, as the European SME survey 20191 shows a correlation between prioritising digitisation and investment. Those companies that say getting digital is a top priority invest more than companies that give digitisation a lower priority. The companies that prioritise digital also expected to export more than companies who see digitisation as less critical.
Naturally, as SMEs are a very heterogeneous group, there are differences in the area of digitisation as well. Some sectors are further along than others. Roughly speaking, finance & accounting firms, manufacturing companies, and the logistics sector are a step or two ahead of firms in the construction business and the legal profession2.
The big gain
So, what is it that drives digital transformation? What do SMEs stand to gain?
The short answer is a competitive edge, or even just remaining competitive (enough). Digital transformation is not an option; it is a must. The 24/7 economy demands fast service and quick supplies, and that goes for B2B markets just as much as for B2C. Digitisation enables companies to satisfy such demands.
The predictive capability of AI can reduce downtimes, for example – it will know in advance when machinery is likely to break down and can schedule preventive maintenance accordingly. Another example is increased productivity through the use of RPA or software robots. With RPA, a company can automate routine jobs like checking invoices relatively quickly and cheaply, freeing up human capital for other tasks.
The digital future
To look ahead, we also need to take a look at some constraints SMEs face with regards to digital transformation. The main issues UK firms face in this respect are around cybersecurity and the lack of skilled workers. In other countries around Europe, insufficient IT infrastructures also ranks high on the list of concerns.
Dealing with cybersecurity risks and especially ransomware attacks, is a significant worry for companies, as they are costly, difficult to prevent and have the potential to damage their reputation. Financial constraints are also a leading problem firms face when trying to skill up. Salaries for highly skilled IT talent have risen to a level that is prohibitive for many. At the same time, it is also hard for SMEs to attract and retain people, as candidates consider them as less attractive in terms of opportunities for growth.
According to Hays2, most employers say the lack of skills of existing staff prevents them from taking full advantage of the opportunities digital technologies provide. They are turning to solutions to train their employees and outsourcing work.
Nonetheless, digital transformation also provides plenty of opportunities. Look at fintech. Not what you were expecting, perhaps, but the rise of fintech has undoubtedly been advantageous for SMEs. Where SMEs have traditionally been caught in the middle between large corporations and consumers, as far as banking services were concerned, fintech is now providing smaller companies with choices that were not available before. A survey by EY3 shows that, in the UK, 18% of SMEs have adopted fintech services. These services include banking, payments and financing.
SMEs have taken essential steps, but they have some way to go as well. What lies ahead seemed brighter in January 2020 than it is now, just a few months later. Still valid for any company setting out on the digital transformation path, though, is that investing in people – skills, communication and culture – is crucial. Although the survey done by Hays found that many employees feel that ‘going digital’ is not a bad thing, the human factor does seem to be a stumbling block for many SME’s. One possible solution is for organisations to cooperate in creating training programmes and offer employees a challenging, cross-company career path.
1 KFW Going digital – the challenges facing European SMEs | European SME survey 2019
2 Hayes What workers want
3 EY Fintech is a world of choice for small and medium-sized enterprises
AI: CUSTOMER FACING EMPLOYEES’ BEST FRIEND IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
By Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn
We’ve all heard the old saying “money talks.” Well when it comes to customer loyalty and retention, good customer experience talks much louder, with 30% of customers leaving a brand and never returning due to a bad experience.
The truth is, there are a lot of companies with similar products and services, but that doesn’t mean that differentiation is impossible. So, what’s the solution? For financial services, large and small, customer experience is becoming the key competitive differentiator and the best way to deliver an impactful experience is to empower customer-facing employees to do their best work. Artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling these employees to create remarkably better customer experiences, resulting in customer loyalty, advocacy, and overall growth.
For financial institutions that have been considering new strategies for improving the quality and efficiency of their customer experience, here are a few ways AI can enable them to deliver the “human factor” that good customer experience demands whilst ensuring customer facing employees can provide a more positive experience for customers.
Increase employee productivity
How much of employees’ time is spent searching for answers to questions? Do they ever have to put customers on hold or even step away to get additional help? AI helps provide front-line employees real-time guidance so they can spend less time looking for information and more time solving problems. An AI-powered chatbot, for example, can be listening in the background of a conversation helping point employees to the right data, solutions, and processes to resolve customer issues faster than ever before.
Deliver a consistent customer experience
When banking customers engage with their financial institutions, they measure the speed and accuracy of the service through two criteria. First, how quickly can the system access their account and deliver the correct information? Is it faster than a human could type it in and share it? And second, if they eventually do need to be connected to a live customer support agent, is their information captured and passed along accurately? AI technology takes those general queries off the customer support team’s plate, providing a quick, accurate, and effective response. If a query needs a more in-depth response, AI can hand it off to support staff to address.
Not only this but leveraging a centralised, AI-powered knowledge solution ensures every employee has access to the same, updated information, so no matter who the customer speaks to, they can be assured that employee responses are both consistent and accurate across the board.
Accelerating employee training and onboarding
Like any industry, employee turnover is inevitable and can be costly. But, not training new employees correctly or in a timely manner could be much more costly. When it comes to financial services there is a lot to learn, whether it is something simple like the process for checking an account balance to all the nuances associated with mortgage loans. AI can support on-the-job training by helping new employees answer questions confidently, correctly, and much quicker than they could before.
Improving employee satisfaction
Today’s banking customer has all kinds of new ideas about their banking experience. “The Amazon Effect” has successfully raised consumer expectations to the extent that a consistent, personal, and relevant experience is the new normal. As a customer, how many times have you been told “I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer?” Customers want solutions to their problems and employees want to be able to deliver those solutions as efficiently and effectively as possible. AI assisting in the background helps minimise those negative moments – making employees job easier, less stressful, and overall more enjoyable.
Identify knowledge gaps
Do you know all the questions employees are getting asked? Do you know what’s easily answered and what’s not? Real-time insights allow knowledge managers to keep up to date on frequently asked questions and gaps in current resources. This allows them to strategically improve or add content where needed.
Augmenting customer service
Whether talking with an AI chatbot or a personable customer service team member, the modern banking customer has high expectations for convenience, speed, and security. Which means that the technology you choose to deploy and how you deploy it is now just as important as who you hire and how you train them.
Today’s AI solutions won’t replace customer service agents or get in the way of the human factors that drive the customer experience. On the contrary, they augment it, allowing the business to do more without adding human resources. The higher the quality of a AI chatbot solution, the better it will be at taking the routine requests off the plate of customer service agents—giving them more time to provide a personalized and positive experience for customers.
2020: THE YEAR BLOCKCHAIN COMES OF AGE
– By Rob Coole, VP of Cloud Technologies at IPC Despite headlines over the years stating that blockchain will...
AI IN THE FINANCE SECTOR: WHAT’S NEXT?
By Rui Vasconcelos, Product Manager for AI/ML at Canonical – the publisher of Ubuntu The last few years have...
6 STEPS FOR BUSINESSES TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE DATA COMPLIANT
By Alex Hazell, Acxiom UK head of legal Data compliance can be a complex – and ever changing – consideration...
INNOVATION WITHIN TIME
By Richard Hoptroff, CTO and Founder, Hoptroff The Finance Industry has always been quick to innovate, from the ATM...
COMPETING IN A DIGITAL WORLD – SMES FIND THEIR FEET
– Stefano, Product Manager Digital transformation is different for small and medium-sized companies. Or is it? In this article, we...
DATA-DRIVEN BUSINESS OPERATIONS ARE A MULTI-YEAR PLAN FOR TWO-THIRDS OF FINANCE PROFESSIONALS
Data-driven business operations are a multi-year plan for two-thirds of finance professionals (66%). Only 7% think their own organisation is...
AI: CUSTOMER FACING EMPLOYEES’ BEST FRIEND IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
By Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn We’ve all heard the old saying “money talks.” Well...
HOW IDENTITY IS SECURELY UNLOCKING THE SME BANKING MARKET
By Mike Kiser, senior identity strategist at SailPoint Have an identification card in your wallet? With a selfie and a...
FIVE REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS’ PROCUREMENT TEAM SHOULD BE USING A CONTRACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
By Daniel Ball, business development director at Wax Digital Even in today’s digital-first environment some businesses are still storing...
EXEGER – CHANGING THE PERCEPTION OF POWER
FINASTRA GLOBAL SURVEY SHOWS APPETITE FOR OPEN BANKING PICKING UP PACE WORLDWIDE
86% of global banks surveyed are looking to use open APIs to enable Open Banking capabilities in the next 12...
STOCK MARKET ANALYSTS DISCUSS HOW TO INVEST DURING A RECESSION
Online tool looks back at how world markets recovered after the last recession in 2008 Analysts take learnings from previous...
PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST A RECESSION
James Turner, Director at Turner Little The coronavirus outbreak has spread to businesses, leaving many around the world counting...
LIBERTY BANK REINFORCES ITS FRAUD STRATEGY TO FURTHER PROTECT ITS CUSTOMERS
Liberty Bank, the third largest bank in the Georgia, has reinforced its fraud strategy to address the rising volume of...
COMMERCIAL FINANCE SPECIALIST IGF NAVIGATES THE LOCKDOWN
Leading independent commercial finance specialist, Independent Growth Finance (IGF), entered the lockdown after a record-breaking financial year came to an end in March. In April, it was accredited by...
COVID-19 WILL BE THE TIPPING POINT FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN PROCUREMENT
Seven in ten organisations in the UK say the global pandemic has increased the need for procurement to digitally transform...
TRIO OF NEW REGIONAL DIRECTORS HEAD UP TIGERWIT’S GLOBAL EXPANSION
Following the release of their record revenue for the last financial year, award-winning online trading platform, TigerWit, has strengthened their...
SECURING THE EVIDENCE FOR VAT AND TAX
Filippa Jörnstedt, Senior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos Businesses are almost entirely digital in their nature. With sophisticated technology now...
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CASHFLOW DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By Rita Cool, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consultants The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is...
RETAILERS WHO OPEN THEIR DOORS WILL NEED EXTRA HELP
With thousands of retail stores given the green light to open in the next few weeks the government needs to...