It is often surprising to many that biometric technology is more than 100 years old, although its automation wasn’t until the 1960s. As early as the 1970s, there was the first working fingerprint recognition algorithm and a prototype for speaker recognition and it was also the rise of facial recognition.

By the end of the 20th century, biometrics had become a fairly matured technology and there was use of features such as authentication, identification and access control applications. However, it was the 21st century that really saw these technologies grow and become much more commonplace. Today, we have access to incredible technology, such as a huge array of smart devices at our fingertips and increased security with a range of biometric security technology.

Discover more about how a fingerprint entry system can increase safety in your business or how a smart doorbell can add another level of security to your home safety.

It’s not just security, however, where biometrics have improved over the past decade, there have been so many advances made within this area that have helped make our lives safer and easier.


This was the year that saw the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) use fingerprint biometrics to identify the 9/11 suspects.


Virtual assistants were introduced as voice recognition reached the world of consumer electronics. Apple introduced Siri as their digital video assistant across the operating systems which saw people able to ask questions and search for information by Siri recognising voice commands.

Following Apple, other operating systems and device manufacturers followed suit and many more virtual assistants were introduced, including Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, among many others.


2013 saw Apple bring fingerprint recognition technology to mobile phones to upgrade original PIN authentication to an inbuilt fingerprint scanner instead which could unlock phones and verify Apple purchases. After initially receiving mixed reviews, it soon became extremely popular, inspiring other mobile manufacturers to bring similar capabilities to their devices. This popularity meant that companies had to devise ways to make ultra-compact biometric fingerprint sensors and hardware to fit in increasingly smaller phones.

2014 – 2020

With the launch of Apple 5, mobile technology saw an unprecedented increase in biometrics and, right the way through to 2020, devices have experimented with a range of biometric technologies, including face and iris recognition, ultrasonic sensors and under-display fingerprint sensors, just to name a few.

Behavioural Biometrics

The use of behavioural biometrics has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. This form of identification works in the background to analyse and show how people interact with digital devices and their applications. Experts in security are using this to ensure that their systems are secure, even in the event of someone being able to pass through the initial barriers of authentication with stolen IDs.

An example of this is when banks have an initial PIN and password biometric set up at the access point for their app. However, once a user is in the app, there is no way to know if it is the correct user and this is where behavioural biometrics comes in. These systems sit in the background, analysing the profile that has been set up for the correct user, using a variety of parameters to see how the correct user has used their device previously. If any anomalies are found during these processes, the user is blocked to protect security.

Voice Recognition

The use of voice recognition in our devices has seen our lives made much easier, enabling us to interact with our smart devices. We can now use voice biometrics to ask our devices questions, set our schedules, alter our settings and authenticate payments – all by simply using our voice.

AI and Machine Learning

The incredible integration of AI has meant that devices can actually learn from our biometric identifiers and take into account changes that are likely to take place in the future, for example our age, environment, friction levels, etc. This will help the biometric systems in place to improve on performance and also on reliability.

Biometric Security Features

Throughout the last decade, biometric security has improved immensely, becoming available to the masses, instead of remaining for the use of government and security services. Today, we can take advantage of technology, such as smart doorbells and fingerprint door locks. More and more people are putting their faith into these examples of biometric security measures. Biometrics can help protect information, physical security, as well as for surveillance and this trend is set to continue, with this industry showing no signs of slowing down.

Claire Preece