Biometrics is authentication through the measurement and statistical analysis of the unique physical and behavioural characteristics of people. The technology is used for identification and access control. Similarly used for identifying individuals who are under surveillance. Basically, biometric authentication accurately identifies people by their intrinsic physical or behavioural traits.

Two main types of biometric identifiers depend on either physiological characteristics or behavioural characteristics.




Physiological identifiers relate to the composition of the user being authenticated and include:

  • facial recognition;
  • fingerprints;
  • finger geometry (the size and position of fingers);
  • iris recognition;
  • vein recognition;
  • retina scanning;
  • voice recognition; and
  • DNA matching.



Behavioural identifiers include the unique ways in which individuals act. These behaviours include:

  • recognition of typing patterns;
  • walking gait; and other gestures.



Authentication by biometric verification is mainly used in corporate and public security systems, consumer electronics and point-of-sale applications. In addition to security, the main objective of biometric verification is convenience. That is to say employees neither have passwords to remember nor security tokens to possess.


Components of biometric systems include:

  • A reader or scanning device to record the biometric factor being authenticated.
  • Software to convert the scanned biometric data into a standardized digital format and to compare match points of the observed data with stored data.
  • A database to securely store biometric data for comparison.



RFID technology uses tiny radio frequency (RF) transmitters and receivers to uniquely identify objects. This has become an increasingly popular alternative to bar code technology in supply chain management. RFID does not require direct contact or line-of-sight scanning. Instead, RFID tagging uses small transponders, called tags, for identification and tracking purposes. The total system includes:

  • Transponders placed on or in objects to be identified;
  • A set of read/write devices at security checkpoints;
  • A host system application for data collection, processing and transmission; and
  • An identification database, also known as a back-end database

Using RFID as an alternative for barcodes is increasing in use. Among its benefits:

  • RFID can identify individual objects, animals or people without direct line of sight,
  • It can identify many items (a thousand or more) simultaneously; and
  • Can scan items anywhere from inches to feet away depending on the type of tag and RFID reader. Read time for RFID tags is typically less than 100 milliseconds.

Barcodes, on the other hand, require direct line of sight and closer proximity than an RFID tag. They also take longer to read. Because barcodes represent a product type versus an individual object represented by an RFID tag, additional information cannot be obtained. In addition, barcodes are not read-write, and because they are printed on the outside of the object are limited in terms of reuse thanks to wear and tear. RFID tags are not so easily degradable and are better protected.

NBS Digital Technologies is uniquely positioned and has the right knowledge, skills and partnerships to help your business keep abreast of the digital world.


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