Perhaps one of the more underrated features of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile is the slick looking Windows Hello feature that takes biometric authentication to the next level. Windows Hello is poised to start accepting your face, your fingerprint, or your iris and unlock your phone or computer in a blink – No pun intended. Well, ok maybe it was intended. But there are a couple of outside-the-box considerations to take into account when you think about what this really means.
First, let’s get some of the negatives out of the way. Not every computer is going to have Windows Hello. As a matter of fact, not very many at all will have it to start. Few computers have fingerprint scanners and fewer still have front facing cameras that can utilize this new feature. Facial recognition does not work with your typical Netbook selfie cam. Rather, you need a relatively sophisticated IR camera in conjunction with a normal webcam. Even the new Lumia phones have this kind of camera. So, cheap laptops need not apply.
A whole new world
But what you’re getting with Windows Hello is not just security. You’re getting a whole new Era of biometric sensors coming to the most popular PC platform on the planet. This is Touch ID all over again. Sure a few OEMs tried it here and there. But, do you remember how fingerprint sensors started to appear after Apple dove in? Not a coincidence. Microsoft adding biometric security to the Windows Platform is going to be just as big, if not bigger.
We haven’t yet had direct hands on experience with Windows Hello, but videos and hands on pieces are surfacing that show how Hello is working, and spoiler alert, it’s working very flipping fast. Anyone who has worked in a cubicle knows how powerful Windows Hello could be. Imagine sitting down in front of your computer after gabbing with Sheila from accounting. You don’t have to enter that convoluted garbage storm of a password that your IT department made you come up with that’s 17 characters in length, with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, and doesn’t include any dictionary words, personal information, or vital statistics of any known celebrities. All you have to do is pop your mug in range of the camera and you’re in. Simple and fast.
On phones, We’re getting a highly accurate facial recognition system integrated into a mobile operating system. Sure, this has existed before, but it has been by no means popularly accepted. Not that putting it on Windows 10 Mobile qualifies as ‘popular’ (OH! sick burn), but still. Android’s version of facial recognition has never been much more than a gimmick. Microsoft could start to make this real in a great way.
Taking it to the masses
But going even further than that, I want to circle back to desktops for a moment. Microsoft is going to bring biometric ID to the masses with Windows Hello in a way that no one has. Biometrics are going to become even more ingrained and commonplace into our technology and society which is a pretty big deal when you stop and think about it. Plus, we haven’t even talked about iris scanning yet.
You remember back in the 80’s and 90’s when TV and movies had to impress on their audiences how secure a building was? Most of the time they did it with iris scanning. It’s so techie cool to be able to scan your eyeball, Demolition Man style, only without the pen and dismemberment.Iris scanning has the cool factor going for it, and facial recognition has extreme ease of use going for it. Both of these concepts are bringing us into the future of computing. That alone is enough to get me excited about this.
Bottom line, Windows Hello is not just a gimmick. This is a real feature that brings real solutions to real world problems for both consumers and enterprise customers. Biometric security is the future of computer security, and Microsoft is embracing this idea wholeheartedly. It won’t be long before we are all using our faces, eyes, and fingers to log into all of our devices.
What do you think? Are you excited to stroll into the future with biometric security? Are you unconvinced perhaps about how useful the tech will be or how well it will work? Sound off in the comments and let us know where you see this going. And remember…Be well.