Preparing for the iPhone X and the Future of Facial Recognition Technology

As we approach the holiday season, both consumers and IT professionals are considering replacing their old devices with a whole new lineup of smartphones, phablets and tablets. Whether you’re treating yourself, adding to your wish list or considering options for your next enterprise rollout, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of introducing the latest technology into the workplace.

Let’s peel back the onion on this season’s most highly anticipated device, the iPhone X, to explore its new facial recognition technology and outline important security considerations.

Face It: The iPhone X Marks the Spot

A standout among the wide array of options to choose from, the Apple iPhone X ships today. Aside from its record-breaking price tag and use of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology on its all-glass display, Face ID is undoubtedly the most intriguing new feature from an enterprise security perspective.

Although Google Android made it possible to unlock devices via the front camera when the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system (OS) was introduced, it has not been widely utilized by manufacturers due to its security limitations.

Samsung introduced iris scanning for the Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8, moving past dependence on the front camera for verification. This approach keys in on the eyes alone, making it bit of an outlier compared to other facial recognition technologies that evaluate the user’s entire face.

The X-Factor: Face ID

What makes Apple’s method different from those employed in the past is its ability to create a precise 3-D map of the face using a slew of new hardware additions beyond the front camera, including:

• An infrared camera;

• A flood illuminator;

• A proximity sensor;

• An ambient light sensor; and

• A dot projector.

Apple upped the ante by removing the physical home button and fingerprint scanner in the iPhone X. Rumor has it they’re considering doing away with finger-scanning technology altogether starting in 2018.

Do consumers match Apple’s level of confidence in facial recognition technology? According to a survey of internet users conducted by Morning Consult, there’s no clear consensus, with 34 percent in favor, 26 percent unsure and 39 percent opposed to the new technology. Competing device manufacturers, on the other hand, are rushing to ensure that their future device lineups include 3-D sensing capabilities to compete with Apple’s new flagship phone.

What’s Next for Facial Recognition in the Enterprise?

To understand the full implications of facial recognition technology, keep your head in the news. See how the storyline develops with Apple’s future releases, consumer adoption of the iPhone X and further investments in facial recognition technology by leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Beyond staying abreast of these developments, ensure that you have invested in a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution that is compatible with all cutting-edge devices — smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops alike — and capable of securing their users, apps, content and data. Make sure your solution offers same-day support for the latest and greatest OS updates from Apple, Google and Microsoft so you’re prepared to support all new features and functionality.

Selecting a UEM with built-in identity and access management (IAM) functionality will grant the right users access to the enterprise apps and resources they need from the devices of their choosing. To ease simplicity and convenience for users, ensure that your IAM solution offers single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA) capabilities. For added security, make sure it supports conditional access to native and cloud apps.

Getting started with UEM has never been easier. Sign up for your complimentary access to a full-production IBM MaaS360 with Watson environment, yours to try for one month.

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John Harrington Jr.

Portfolio Marketing for IBM MaaS360

John has spent the past 6 years working for an industry-leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based unified endpoint management (UEM) provider, specializing in product marketing. In this capacity, John works closely with product development and offering management counterparts to develop creative assets and messaging that differentiate IBM MaaS360 with Watson as the industry’s first and only cognitive UEM solution. John represents IBM through his participation in live educational webcasts, industry events, conferences and trade shows, and is a blog contributor on SecurityIntelligence.com. In his spare time, John enjoys exploring the city of Philadelphia with his fiancée and their two beagles. He is an avid cyclist, cook and home brewer who loves watching his favorite sports teams dominate (all except for that last part; he is a Washington Redskins fan).