The digital door lock market is expected to grow 28% between 2019 and 2023. But our descendants might look at our “advanced” digital locks the same we look at the rocks and wooden picks used by our ancestors for security.
The technology of the future will minimize the need for hardware by using human biology as a lock and key. Here’s why you need to invest in biometric locks.
Understanding Biometric Locks
Biometric locks are one of the exciting areas of smart home technology that make us feel like the future is now. To understand what is considered a biometric lock, look no further than the root words “bio” and “metric.”
“Bio” signifies life and organic matter. “Metric” simply means “to measure.” So “biometric,” in relation to locks, is anything that uses your biology as a metric to permit access.
Most of the access control systems we’re familiar with require a key, combination of letters, numbers or symbols. But biometric locks use your unique biological markers instead of a physical key, code or password.
There are different levels of smart lock “intelligence.” Some simply authenticate your unique biological signatures without actually identifying you as a person. You are simply a code labeled with specific access.
More advanced systems can identify you as a person. When you’re scanned by advanced biometric systems, your data isn’t only processed as a set of data points with permission to access (or not). These systems match your identity to your biometrics.
Biometric locks that use your fingerprint are some first bio locks to be widely available. But they certainly aren’t the only types of biometric locks and won’t be the last.
Types of Biometric Authentication
Most of us are familiar with the fingerprint lock system. It’s available on our phones and has evolved to our home and business locking systems too. There are many types of biometric locks, some are more common than others.
Fingerprints, Hand and Vein Geometry
There’s more than one way to use your finger or palm as a key. Fingerprint locks use the unique impressions and patterns on our fingertips to identify us. Hand geometry scales this concept to the entire hand. It looks at our palm lines, finger lengths and other values.
Vein geometry uses the unique placement of the veins in your hands to identify you. It releases electromagnetic light (invisible to the human eye) into the skin where it’s absorbed by the hemoglobin in the veins and takes a picture. The presence of electromagnetic light makes veins appear black in the photo.
Voice recognition technology simply breaks down the audio components of the unique way you speak to identify you. But how does voice recognition work?
The study of speech and linguistics is complex. But to simplify things, think of your voice as emitting tiny vibrations whenever you speak. The same way you can see the sound vibrating a large half-stack speaker at a concert.
These vibrations occur at different wavelengths. If you were to look at these wavelengths, you would recognize patterns. Voice recognition technology processes your unique speaking patterns to identify you.
Iris and Retina
Both the iris and retina can be scanned to identify you. If you need a recap, the iris is the circle of color in your eyeball that contains the pupil. The retina is a white slimy ball that holds the iris and is full of blood vessels and nerve endings.
Iris and retina recognition work in the same way, but they analyze different parts of the eye to identify you. Like vein geometry, low levels of infrared light is absorbed to reveal the unique patterns of either the iris or retina.
Yep, biometrics scientists have left no distinguishable area of your face untouched in their research. Believe it or not, some studies report more accurate identification from the ears than your fingerprints! Ear recognition research reports a 99.6 percent identification accuracy.
Ear recognition technology analyzes the unique curves of your ear to identify you. It simply scans the ear area and uses a specific algorithm to process specific biological markers.
There’s Still More!
In addition to analyzing each of these individual facial features, systems can also identify other facial features. Along with collectively analyzing multiple facial features together to increase security.
There’s also DNA recognition technology. However, collection of biometrics enters a gray ethical area when it’s used commercially. So a lot of it is still in the works.
1. Next Level Security
With enough determination most standard locks are breakable.
Doorknobs are very easy to “pick.” A simple kick to the door next to the lock can be enough force to break the dead latch, the mechanical locking feature in the doorknob. A paper clip, hair pin and a few hours of internet article reading are enough to unlock a doorknob without a key.
Deadbolts, manual cylinder bolt locks, combination locks and padlocks are all also breakable without much effort. It’s worth mentioning that the presence of a traditional lock may deter lazy criminals. But they won’t withstand motivated and seasoned crooks.
Biometric locks are the superior lock for both commercial and residential security.
2. No Password Needed
We’ve been told that the best passwords are elaborate, unrecognizable, completely unique and very hard to remember. The problem is that most of us need to write our passwords down somewhere to be able to remember them. Especially for accounts we don’t access frequently.
Many of us opt for storing passwords on our phone notes or in a document saved to the cloud. But unfortunately, both of these seemingly “safe” digital spaces are hackable. Even if you keep passwords on a piece of physical paper in your home, it can easily be stolen or simply lost.
3. More Difficult to Duplicate
Fingerprint locks aren’t immune to duplication by more advanced hackers. But it would require a very sophisticated criminal operation to pull-off. There are three main ways a fingerprint can be duplicated.
The first is by someone making a mold of your unique finger signature. The only way to do this is to physically lift fingerprint imprints from a locking device, then to transfer them to a skin-like material, creating a dummy finger. It’s not easy to get a clean enough print to duplicate.
Researchers in Germany were able to digitally duplicate a fingerprint from a high resolution photo and create a dummy finger with a 3-D printer. The only other way to get a clean fingerprint is to hack a government agency and leak or steal citizen fingerprint data.
4. Allow You to Take Control
The traceability of biometric locks is a major benefit for parents, employers, stores and anyone wanting to monitor bodies.
Parents never have to wonder if their child really was home when they said they were with biometric lock. Administrators of the lock can track who used the door at what time. On the other side of the spectrum, parents can be reassured that biometrics locks are the most advanced lock for keeping children safe while they’re away.
This is also a great system for businesses who want to track employee start times. They can also be used to track employee behavior while they’re in the office. Heat patterns, voice and heart rates can all be tracked and used as data to determine productivity, character and behavior.
5. Hygiene 2.0
Fingerprint locks were revolutionary before the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re using a fingerprint lock for a small household the safety issues presented by requiring multiple people to touch a surface with their hands may not be as intense. It’s difficult for a commercial building to use fingerprint locks and also ensure safety.
But as we mentioned earlier, fingerprints are only the beginning for biometric locks. The industry was moving towards commercially used retina, voice and facial recognition before the pandemic. Hygiene and contamination concerns raised by COVID-19 have created a stronger demand for the technology.
Biometric Locks are the Future
In the near future the smart technology in our homes, vehicles, phones and televisions will be seamlessly integrated into the buildings we enter, the transit systems we use and the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. Biometric locks are likely to become nearly automatic parts of life.
It’s also likely that the biometric locks of the future won’t be separated as “facial” or “eye” recognition. They will likely be multi factor scanners that will look at many individual markers to authenticate access everywhere.
Are you ready to bring your security system into the future? We’re here to help!
Ensure the safety of your biometric lock system. Schedule a professional lock installation!