By Mohammed Murad

People interested in biometrics frequently ask what the difference is between the terms identification and verification. While the two words may seem interchangeable, they mean very different things to a biometrics-based recognition system.

Here’s how it works with our iris-based solutions.

The goal of the identification process is to locate an unknown person’s name by comparing his or her live biometric samples with potentially hundreds of thousands of templates previously stored in a system’s database.  This is often referred to as one-to-many matching. An example might be a border patrol agent looking to identify a suspect by looking for a match among existing templates.

Verification is about authenticating a user’s identity by matching a submitted biometric to see if it matches a specific database template. This verification process is called one-to-one matching.  An example might be an employee using an access control card to enter a high security area.

Checking the database to confirm the person’s iris is a specific match with a stored template verifies identify.

Our IrisAccess iris recognition systems use algorithms to compress each iris template to a small file of 512 kilobytes. That small size enables almost instantaneous results even when identifying or verifying people from large databases.

(Mohammed Murad is vice president, global sales and business development)