Deploying the human body as a recognition tool is the next wave that may soon make passwords redundant.

According to a global report released by JWT on the future of payments, there will be 471 million global biometrics smartphone users by 2017. That’s a huge potential market.

Here are five ways in which biometric solutions are making passwords redundant across the globe.

1. Fingerprints

Made popular by Apple Pay where Touch ID by Apple works on fingerprint recognition.

2. Voice

Authenticates a user based on numerous vocal characteristics like vocal tract geometry, harmonics, pitch and range.

3. Retina

Developed in the 1980s. This method is based on the blood vessels at the back of the eye that have a unique pattern for every individual.

4. Heartbeat

Heartbeat or ECG scanning is more complex and hence not as popular yet but could get there going forward.

5. Facial biometrics

Face recognition technology measures and matches unique characteristics for the purposes of identification or authentication.

 

Source: http://www.gadgetsnow.com/slideshows/5-technologies-that-are-killing-your-passwords/photolist/55500091.cms


Nearly two fifths of Western European consumers (38%) are ready to pay using their smartphones while more than 70% of those in Africa and the Middle East are prepared to do so, research by Mastercard reveals. Consumers across all regions chose their smartphones as an alternative to the plastic card.

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study — a survey of 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East — also reveals that customers would rather use biometrics than PIN codes to secure payment, with fingerprint recognition technology proving the most popular method.

Out of those surveyed in Western Europe, Swedish consumers are the most eager for mobile payments, with 70% indicating their readiness to pay with their phone. 38% of Western Europeans trust fingerprint recognition more than they do PIN (30%).

Mobile payment readiness is 57% in Central and Eastern Europe, and fingerprint authentication (34%) is trusted more than PIN (33%). Preparedness is an average 64% across Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, where respondents have confidence in fingerprint the least (32%) and SMS code the most (36%).

Consumers in the Middle East and Africa do not generally trust PIN codes for payment (24%), the study also reveals. 32% are assured by fingerprint and 36% by SMS code.

Positive outlook

When it comes to digital innovations as a whole, 92% of those surveyed across all regions believe they are a good thing and have a positive outlook on the future of technology. Those living in technologically less developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital innovation than in markets where it is readily available.

Western Europe has the largest proportion of those resistant to digital change (17%), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace the latest technology. 27% of Russians, Turkish and Ukrainian consumers call themselves “eager promoters” of new tech.

“Not only is there a huge appetite for new ways to pay, but consumers overwhelmingly want to use their smartphones,” says Ann Cairns, president of international markets at Mastercard. “In fact, many are ready to do so right now. For decades, plastic cards have been the only reasonable alternative to cash, but consumers are saying loud and clear that they want digital innovations in all areas of life.”

Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2016/09/27/347498/study-shows-growing-appetite-mobile-payments-biometrics/


The first generation to grow up online — Gen Z— is also poised to rank as the most demanding consumer group in history.

That’s according to a new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology, which warns that retailers, restaurants and leisure companies will have to adapt to the wants and needs of Gen Zers (refers to those born in 2001 and later.

Having grown up with social media and assuming instant access to almost all things digital, from music to video to information, Gen Z want it all — and they want it now as they acquire apparel, cosmetics and experiences.

“The new technology products and services have broadened consumers’ range of choice and quickened the pace of life,” said Deborah Weinswig, managing director of Fung Global Retail & Technology. “It is hard not to see these creating a more demanding, image-conscious consumer.”

Gen Z comprises 19% of the U.S. population, and will rise to 25% in 2020. In the EU, the generation accounts for 16% of the population, and is forecast to peak at 21% in five years.

The only generation to grow up with the on-demand economy, Gen Zers likely will continue to be highly demanding consumers, whether they are requesting instant access to video, ride-hailing apps or delivery services.

“Exposure to near-infinite choice and access to near-endless information makes this generation more demanding than any of its predecessors,” Weinswig said. “As Gen Z matures, it will become more discerning, but its demanding nature is unlikely to be diluted. We think brands and retailers will be the ones that need to change, because Gen Z looks unlikely to compromise on its high expectations.”

Source:http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/report-get-ready-most-demanding-consumers-history


Soon it will seem almost quaint there was a time we looked at voice assistants as virtual friends who lived in our pockets and answered our questions.

After all, in a few short years, voice-enabled assistants like like Alexa and Siri have far surpassed the skillset of any real-life human assistant. And that likely means this is the point for an obligatory reference to Samantha in Her or Jarvis in Iron Man.

And that’s because voice technology really does have the potential to change everything.

Case in point: Because voice assistants can help consumers function in hands- and even eyes-free scenarios, a good early example of their potential is in an application like cooking, said Joe Migliozzi, managing director and global lead at Shop+, which is the dedicated retail and ecommerce arm of media and marketing services firm Mindshare.

“As these devices become a part of everyone’s kitchen, they can become a third hand, telling consumers recipes, reminding them when to stir the dish and explaining potential wine pairings for the meal,” he said. “This will be a big opportunity for food brands.”

And, according to Christina Ottomanelli, associate media director at marketing agency MMI Agency, voice-activated to-do and grocery lists are also becoming popular. Which, in theory, means someday even the wallets and purses of the more old-fashioned among us won’t be littered with scraps of paper.

“I imagine that data is collected from these to-do lists and will eventually lead to brands having the opportunity to promote their products [and] services based on a user’s needs,” she added. “Currently on Alexa, users are able to set reminders to restock essentials. I imagine that in the future, in conjunction with Amazon Dash, brands will have the ability to take the lead and set purchase reminders proactively on behalf of users.”

But it’s not just about food. Another advantage is that voice assistants can recognize different consumers and adjust their responses accordingly, which provides a more personalized experience for each user.

Purna Virji, senior manager of PPC training at Microsoft and a staunch voice advocate, used the example of asking for recommendations for a good book.

“It will show me, my husband and my son different recommendations if we talk to the voice assistant,” she said.

And while this certainly provides a good user experience for all, it’s really the tip of the iceberg in terms of how voice assistants will impact consumers’ lives going forward. To wit:

No more wallets

According to Chuck Fletcher, technology director of emerging experiences at interactive agency Razorfish, voice has proven to be an effective biometric identifier as secure as a fingerprint.

“A voice print can be securely kept on file and matched, allowing you to pay for items via your voice,” he said. “In fact, Google released an app earlier this year called Hands Free that lets users buy items in a few local stores in the San Francisco area with only the app and your voice.”

And that means George Costanza’s wallet is even closer to becoming a relic of a bygone era.

What’s more, Valerie Lisyansky, partner at product studio Swarm, said we may soon reach a point when we can simply command, “Pay bills,” and never have to waste any more time than that on creditors ever again.

“If we can speak and tell an intelligent system what we want, it can execute in the background without the need for consumers to get off the couch,” she added.

No more screens

But that’s not all. Voice assistants may also prompt the disappearance of screens as we know them as consumers ask their devices questions and receive verbal answers when, say, they are driving.

David Lau, vice president and head of paid search and programmatic media at digital marketing agency iCrossing, pointed to Alexa.

“The fact that it’s screenless – and Amazon’s most successful product – goes to show there is something to be said about having a virtual assistant on standby that you can activate by talking into the air,” he said.

Similarly, Lisyansky noted existing payment integrations in voice-enabled devices foreshadow a future in which consumers aren’t “limited by tactical user interfaces” and can do what they want with voice commands.

“I.e., I want something, I ask for it. I want an Uber…I just say it out loud. Swap Uber for any service or delivery you can imagine, like turning the heat up, the lights off, the music on,” she said. “Voice assistants have become their own interface — one that relies on carefully crafted commands rather than touch. Why should I hit a light switch, or even tap an icon on my phone, when I can easily say, ‘Lights, on’?”

Fletcher agreed voice technology gives consumers the freedom to simply speak what they want.

“Eventually, this feature might be built into our homes with all rooms being voice-enabled by default – to a point where we don’t even know where the microphones are,” he added.

Migliozzi agreed voice assistants will play a much larger role within connected homes as voice starts connecting all the lighting in the house, as well as cars in the driveway, security systems and entertainment devices.

Tony Briceno, head of mobile technology at digital agency Carrot Creative, however, said this bright future depends on as-of-yet-unmade advancements in machine learning, artificial and virtual intelligence and organic sensors – and it’s only then that voice will become an interface for everything. Indeed, hurdles remain for voice.

“One day we could all have personal AI assistants just like Tony Stark’s,” he said. “The voice assistant is an input just like a key on a keyboard, a tap on your phone or a dial on the radio.”

No more funnel

Amazon Prime customers that have a one-click payment method can already order physical products via Alexa and this may be a sign of further changes to the good ol’ purchase funnel.

In fact, Anthony said he is seeing a trend toward the collapse of the funnel altogether with voice search. In other words, consumers can search, browse and make purchases within the same interface, which changes the game for brands, marketers, retailers and platforms entirely.

“Currently you can already [search and browse], but you need an app for the checkout,” he said. “However, soon you’ll check out in that same interface [with] no web involved and voice as the interface throughout.”

No more search box

Voice assistants may also spur the death of the search box as we know it simply because it’s easier to verbalize queries than type them in many cases. And that means search engines cannot rest on their laurels as a consumer destination forever.

Instead, customers will access whatever apps or assistants most easily enable them to accomplish a given task, such as using the Zappos app to look for shoes rather than typing a shoe query into Google.

In a recent Bing Q&A, internet marketing consultant and SEO Ammon Johns noted the future of search could be less about links and more about providing information and empowering consumers to do things, which is driven, in part, by digital assistants. And that could mean that we’ll someday lose the search engine as a destination because information is on tap wherever we go.

Better quality of life for the elderly and disabled

And on the more feel-good than commercial end of the spectrum, voice assistants could also make life easier for the elderly and disabled who are no longer tethered to expensive voice tools with limited functionality.

“Voice assistants like Echo and devices like Android and Apple phones with built-in functionality have provided amazing leaps forward for people with impaired sight or mobility, as well as those with limited use of their hands,” Fletcher said.

Further, he said voice assistants are just the beginning as devices that incorporate artificial intelligence are getting smarter and becoming more easily accessible.

“The HoloLens, for example, will continue to become more affordable and widely available,” he said. “Voice can be a powerful tool in helping the sight impaired ‘hear’ what is around them with sound feedback — like dolphins or bats — and smart cameras that allow voice assistants to vocalize what is being seen.”

But beyond just enhancing quality of life, a voice assistant could also be deployed by an elderly or disabled person who needs to contact emergency services, Lisyansky said.

“A user [wouldn’t] need to pick up a phone and dial 911, but instead could say a code phrase to summon help, similar in function and use to the old Life Alert pendants, ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,’” she said.

 

Source: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/08/18/how-voice-technology-will-change-our-lives-forever