Why 2023 Could Be the Year of Biometric Access

Illustration: Getty Images.

The touch-free technology could eventually replace ID cards and access codes.

Artificial intelligence may soon disrupt a new area of your business: how your workers enter the office.

Biometric authentication is a form of touch-free technology that uses biometric identifiers at building entry points rather than ID cards or access codes, both of which can be stolen. A form of frictionless access control, biometric indicators can reduce the spread of germs and also detect threats by automatically alerting security if an unauthorized individual tries to enter a building, according to access control company Alcatraz A.I. Founded in 2016 in Cupertino, California by Vince Gaydarzhiev, who helped develop the iPhone Face ID feature at Apple, Alcatraz A.I. recently released a set of predictions related to access control in 2023.

1. Touchless access will become more standard.

Interest in “frictionless access control” was already on the rise prior to the Covid-19. Post-pandemic, as businesses look to decrease physical contact while creating easy and efficient ways for workers to enter the office, the adoption of touchless access is expected to grow even faster.

2. Multi-factor authentication will keep growing.

Hybrid work models have forced businesses to create secure ways for employees to work remotely using multi-factor authentication. These changes are leading to new, zero-trust policies, and facial authentication is a method of multi-factor authentication that can work as fast as single-factor authentication.

3. Privacy and regulations will become more regional.

Legislation around biometric technology is becoming more widespread, allowing for a greater understanding of how to implement the technology safely. States like California, Maryland, and Texas have adopted opt-in and opt-out policies for facial recognition measures to ensure employees and other personnel retain their right to privacy. In order to adapt to biometric access, users will have to enact a three-tiered approach of notifying employees about the use of biometric data, creating policies around use and storage, and remaining compliant with opt-in rules.

Alcatraz’s existing access control products have been implemented by businesses in more than 10 countries, according to the company. In September, Alcatraz raised a $25 million Series A funding, which Gaydarzhiev recently told Inc. will be used to help fund international growth. Still, it’s unclear when the product-market fit for biometric access will lead to widespread adoption.

“It just takes time for the technology to become more cost-effective, to match consumer needs,” Gaydarzhiev said. He added that the company is also developing products to serve smaller clients.