The iris is an internal organ, completely covered by a transparent layer called cornea. It remains unaffected by external conditions, and does not change with age. Hence, iris recognition is more stable and reliable. Fingerprint recognition does not work as reliably for people across age groups and occupation. It is severely affected by what people touch or do with their hands, making it unfit for a large section of population that is involved in manual labor such as, construction workers, farmers etc, that may end up damaging their fingerprints. Many young people have soft skins with wrinkles that affect scanning of their fingerprints and many older people have dry and brittle skin that does not have the appropriate contact for scanning. Thus, iris scanning provides higher level of security compared to fingerprint scanning.
Facial recognition falls short when it comes to security and reliability. Computer algorithms are not able to draw enough uniqueness to reliably distinguish one face versus the other, or correctly recognize your own face the very next time. Even worse, face recognition can be easily spoofed by using a picture of the user.
The iris scanning process is simple and easy to use – just a very short glance at the smartphone is all it takes to scan the eye to authenticate the user. It starts and ends in the natural action of lifting and bringing the smartphone in front to use.
Additionally, iris scanners are fairly inexpensive. They use a slightly modified front/back facing cameras found in almost all smartphones. In the near term, iris scanning will be able to share the same front/back facing cameras used for taking pictures, further reducing the incremental cost for mobile manufacturers to add iris scanning.
With iris providing a higher level of security, reliability and ease-of-use at lower cost and complexity, more consumer mobile devices are expected to provide this technology as “passwords” for us to easily access our devices, applications and services.