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Biometric Performance Standards and Metrics

These performance standards, or metrics, are widely used by the biometric industry in order to gauge the effectiveness of the various biometric technologies.  These standards are not particular to any specific biometric technology, they apply to all of the technologies.  The standards are as follows:

  • The False Acceptance Rate;
  • The False Rejection Rate;
  • The Equal Error Rate;
  • The Failure To Enroll Rate;
  • The Ability To Verify Rate

At the present time, there is no central, governing body which monitors and regulates the performance standards that are given out to the public by the various biometric vendors.  As a result, there is controversy within the biometric industry over the performance standards claims by vendors of their products.

For example, vendors can tend to overstate the results of these performance standards, without much questioning from the  public.  Although biometric vendors do use “real subjects” in evaluating their products, the test environment does not reflect real world usage and simulations.  However, there has been a move to monitor these performance standards, with the creation of the International Biomeric Industry Association and the BioAPI Consortium.

What are the implications of this to you, as the business owner?  First, before you purchase and implement a biometric system, you must look beyond the performance standard numbers set forth by the vendor.

Try and look up previous customers who have purchased and are currently using the system you want to implement.  This can be done by asking for client testimonials.  Also, as stated previously, implement a pilot project first to see if the biometric system you want to purchase will really be the best suited for your place of business.

Second, these performance standards should not be used  individually in order to gauge the effectiveness of the biometric system you are purchasing.  Rather, you need to look at a combination of them in order to get a true picture of the security threshold you plan to implement or enhance at your place of business.

We will explore in more detail each of these biometric performance standards in tomorrow’s blog.