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Fingerprint Scanners vs Facial Recognition Post-COVID19

I. Fingerprint Era

Used by 57% of businesses, Fingerprint scanners are the most common form of biometric technology. They are generally cheaper, more accessible, and commonly found on doors for access. They have been proven versatile and practical since the development of the automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) in the 1980s. But the emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic has introduced or at least magnified other concerns that trump accessibility and practicality. Health and safety has been pushed to the forefront of the checklist when determining which biometric authentication method businesses choose.

II. Health Concerns Circling Fingerprint Scanners

Growing concerns about fingerprint scanners being a contact-heavy surface has been the topic of discussion between biometrics and medical experts recently. A recent study published on the Lancet Microbe's has shown that viruses such as COVID-19, can last up to 4 days on glass and 7 days on plastic. Both of which are common components in fingerprint scanners. Many organizations such as the New York Police Department have already suspended their biometric (fingerprint) access control due to this fact. Some government and judicial institutions in Egypt have also replaced their biometric (fingerprint) attendance systems with attendance sheets until further notice due to the coronavirus.

Although it is easy enough to disinfect fingerprint scanners religiously, this may not be the most practical option. Nor does it alleviate health concerns by the general public. Despite some companies developing touch-free fingerprint scanners to provide a more hygienic solution, this still leaves a huge opportunity for other biometric authentication methods to fill the gap left by traditional fingerprint scanners.

 III. Rise of Facial Recognition

The consensus in the industry predicts facial recognition overtaking fingerprint scanning due to its innate touchless therefore hygienic characteristic. Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been a surge in companies opting for facial recognition rather than fingerprint scanners. Cellphone companies, most notably, have been replacing their phones' access control components from fingerprint scanners to facial recognition. With cameras being readily available in almost all devices (ie. laptops, cellphones, and tablets), transitioning to facial recognition can be seamless.

There are numerous advantages to Facial Recognition. Facial recognition only requires a camera, which makes it easy to integrate into current or available systems. Remote verification is possible as it only requires the user to show his or her face. Facial recognition also offer a higher acceptability rate compared to fingerprint scanners as over 2.1 million people in the US alone are amputees, according to a study conducted by the ABIresearch.

Despite these advantages, however, there are also several concerns surrounding facial recognition. But the uncertainty behind the COVID-19 Pandemic's effects on the fingerprint scanning industry makes facial recognition poised to increase it's popularity even more.


Lilo Office is a touch-free Daily Time Recording System that offers more safety and the same security! It minimizes potential health risks in the workplace by replacing a high-contact surface fingerprint scanner. E-mail us for inquiries at​.

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