Take a quick look at your smartphone. Unlock it. Do you have any new messages? Any missed calls? Maybe. Maybe not. But what we really want to know is: how did you unlock it?

We ask because there’s a very good chance you just used facial recognition or a fingerprint to unlock it. In other words; biometric verification. We’re talking here about an incredibly complex technological process, perfected over centuries, that you just performed in less than a second.

It’s a measure of just how widespread the use of biometric verification has become in our society. We use it almost every day without even thinking about it. But what exactly are biometrics? How do they work? And could AI hold the key to their future?

Let’s take a look.


What is biometric verification?

Biometrics are physical characteristics unique to you. Your fingerprints, the shape of your head, the contours of your face – every single physical feature that makes you unique comprises your biometrics.

While we have understood biometrics for several centuries, it’s only in recent years that we’ve started to use the technology to its full potential. Instead of one man comparing a few mugshots, a computer can process millions of them instantaneously, and pretty much error-free.

It means that we can now use biometrics for a range of different purposes, but perhaps its most widespread use remains with data security and verification.

If you just used facial recognition or a fingerprint to unlock your phone, these are the most common uses of biometric verification. But businesses are increasingly using biometrics to improve their online security, offer a better customer experience and protect customer data.

These are the whats of biometric verification, but how about the whys? Why is it so widespread? Why is it so popular? Here are some of its main benefits.


The benefits of biometrics

They’re more secure than passwords

Passwords aren’t an ideal solution for online security issues. Other people can guess them, access them or simply steal them, and suddenly you’re in trouble. But it’s a little bit harder to steal your biometrics. Well, it’s near enough impossible actually. It means that biometrics are a more secure way of keeping your data from prying eyes.

They’re increasingly affordable

As the prevalence of biometrics has grown, the cost of using them has declined. It’s much more cost-effective to verify the identity of 200 people using biometrics than it would be using the old police mugshot approach. It means that companies can now ensure greater security, integrity and accuracy in identity verification than ever before – for a fraction of the price.

They’re convenient

We want things easy, and we want them now. Typing a 4-digit code wasn’t an easy enough way of opening our smartphones, so biometric verification came along to speed the process up. And using our card reader to make online payments was becoming a bit laborious, so now many banks just use biometric verification to make payments. Biometrics are a far more convenient way of processing everyday tasks like these.


Is AI and biometrics the future of online security?

Biometric verification has come a long way since the days of criminal mugshots. But the next stage of its journey is already happening.

Looking at the screen is a very simple and convenient way of unlocking our phones. But what about when we need to make sure that only one person is in front of the screen? How do we make sure we’re speaking to the right person? If there were two people using a phone, they could simply swap places after that initial check.

In some cases, it’s clear we need an added layer of verification. That’s where AI comes in.



At Comprobo, we use AI-powered biometric ID verification to make sure that our online assessment software is secure, reliable and protects the integrity of exams. Once the face of a participant is checked against their ID, our AI invigilator can continue to monitor the test-taker to prevent cheating or candidate substitution. If the candidate moves away from the screen, the AI will pick up on it.

But online exams aren’t the only area where AI and biometric ID verification could be used. For example, let’s say a hospital needs a more robust way of protecting a patient’s health records. By incorporating our biometric ID verification into their data security protocols, they could add an extra layer of security whilst also making it easier for doctors to access those records. 

Our plugin could easily be used in other industries as well. What if a bank wanted to make sure that a person was opening an account under their own name? Our verification would make sure that person matched up with the ID they upload to the system. With biometrics, security challenges like these are made safer and seamless.

If you’d like to learn how our ID verification plugin could solve your organisation’s security challenges, feel free to get in touch.