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MeReal Biometrics Combines Biometrics and NFC Technologies for New Card Solution
The company, based in France and Hong Kong, is selling an ID card for the hospitality industry that leverages Near Field Communication, as well as biometrics and acoustic signals, to vary the level of security for access control, payments and VIP services.
Using simply NFC on traditional cards spares an individual from having to provide a fingerprint, Blot says, though the technology has limits as well. "It comes down to the level of identification—who I am versus who I say I am," he explains. Although an NFC card can authenticate the card itself, it cannot guarantee that the person holding the card is the same individual who owns that card's account. "This can be quite important," he says, especially in the gaming industry, in which online gaming is becoming popular and makes authentication considerably more challenging than it would be for a casino employee standing face to face with a player.
MeReal wanted a card that would work for physical or virtual access, gaming, payments and other applications, with a variety of use cases depending on a user's needs. The card's biometrics sensor can read and authenticate a user's fingerprint in less than one second before transmitting its unique ID number to an NFC reader, thereby ensuring the card's authenticity, and that the card user is who he or she claims to be.
Such flexibility is one of the card's strengths, Davies says. The system can be set up so that it allows a cardholder to enter through a general doorway using only the NFC RFID chip in the card, without requiring the fingerprint sensor. However, the fingerprint sensor could be used, or required, to enter a card holder's guest room. "Our card is dynamic enough to comply with the regulations that won't allow biometric data to be used at [for example] the front door or entrance of a hotel."
The card is expected to cost less than $20 when purchased in high volume, Blot reports. The card pays for itself with the functionality it provides to users, he adds. "You're putting a device into the hand of a customer that makes them far more loyal to the brand," Blot states. MeReal provides apps for users if so requested, while many companies are expected to utilize the card with their own existing apps and IT systems.
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