and a detailed plan for integrating data from the law
enforcement agency’s older Integrated Automated
Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
“Successfully integrating data from IAFIS to the
new NGI system required creating a schedule to
convert IAFIS information and move it to the new
system in off-peak NGI developmental and IAFIS
operations times,” Mr. Mears says. The agency’s
identification capabilities couldn’t be compromised, so “the two systems had to operate in parallel as function was incrementally migrated. Users of
either system could not be impacted.”
One of the biggest challenges facing biometric tech
project teams is security. It’s not just about delivering unhackable biometric devices. Organizations
implementing these technologies must understand
that they are only as secure as the back-end systems
they rely on.
Tim Meyerhoff, sales and product management
director for Iris ID Systems Inc. in Cranbury, New
Jersey, USA, says that project teams delivering and
installing biometric technology, particularly that
aimed at identification within organizations, need
to be up on the latest “spoofing” techniques hackers
use and heed related security recommendations.
(Spoofing is when a hacker impersonates another
person or program.)
These companies also need to work with human
resources to have contingency plans for employees
who can’t use a biometric device.
“In a biometric deployment, you will always have
an outlier or someone who just can’t use the sensor
or someone that refuses to,” Mr. Meyerhoff says. “You
have to have a plan B, like issuing a card and PIN to
those users.” During previous projects, he’s encountered people who can’t use iris scanners because they
wear patterned color contacts and others who object
to biometric devices for religious reasons.
And project teams shouldn’t assume a client will
take care of the basics after a new system is installed,
he says. “Encryption key settings
and passwords are often overlooked,” he says. “A year or two
down the road, we’ll find that a
client is still using all the system
defaults.” —Christina Couch
The New Space Race
After a string of high-profile failures, the commercial space industry is trying to show it
can rebound quickly by launching new projects and testing.
In June 2015, an unmanned rocket launched by SpaceX exploded minutes after takeoff.
The organization concluded that the problem was a faulty steel strut. In response, the
SpaceX team began individually testing every strut it used. Using these lessons learned,
SpaceX completed a project to launch another Falcon 9 rocket into space in December
and then bring it back to Earth—just a few weeks after the space transportation company
Blue Origin successfully landed a suborbital rocket back on its launch site. Both organizations are sponsoring reusable rocket projects.
Another company, Orbital ATK, saw its rocket Antares explode after takeoff in October
2014. The day after the crash, “the company embarked on figuring out how we were going
The biometric market is
expected to be worth
billion by 2020, up from
US$10 billion in 2014.
Source: BIS Research
The U.S. FBI has sponsored projects to build
better biometric identification systems.
“In a biometric
you will always
have an outlier
who just can’t
use the sensor
that refuses to.
You have to
have a plan B.”
—Tim Meyerhoff, Iris ID
Systems Inc., Cranbury, New