By Pablo Izquierdo, general manager of I-Med
Whether through fingerprint, facial or iris recognition - or recognition of any other physical attribute of an individual - biometrics has occupied an important place in business processes throughout the world, measuring people's characteristics with a high degree of certainty and reliability.
During the last decade, biometric systems have been incorporated into various economic and social activities in Chile, being used primarily to secure banking transactions, affiliation agreements, employment contracts, health care voucher purchases, and processing of electronic medical licenses, among many other applications.
The ability to ensure that a person is who they say they are and biometric technology's maturity has standardized use among Chileans, who in the fingerprint have a solution that makes identity theft almost impossible, thus preventing fraud.
Using biometric systems requires no special cards or devices, but a simple fingerprint reader that facilitates and speeds up all kinds of procedures, drastically cutting down wait times for customers.
With 10 years of widespread deployment in Chile, in conjunction with the electronic healthcare voucher, the challenge today is to apply this system in all public and private processes. Replacing paper with fingerprint-signed electronic forms allows a dramatic change in streamlining procedures and controlling benefits, especially in a country like Chile, which is characterized by excessive controls.
This system of identity verification and digital signature is already used by pioneering firms. Good examples are affiliation contracts, health claims, insurance policies, cash advances, telephony contracts, and delivery of security keys.
Also, well-advanced projects include eliminating paperwork to obtain credit or open a bank account. Doctors will be able to sign prescriptions electronically, keys will no longer be needed to unlock cars or to enter homes, and people may even no longer need to carry wallets around with them. All thanks to the spread of the digital fingerprint.
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