Kent biometric institute opens

Prominent figures from the biometrics research and technologies sectors came together on April 2 to celebrate the formation of the United Kingdom Biometrics Institute (UKBI).

Apr 19, 2007
By David Howell

Prominent figures from the biometrics research and technologies sectors came together on April 2 to celebrate the formation of the United Kingdom Biometrics Institute (UKBI).

The centre, initiated by Kent University’s Department of Electronics and supported by Kent Enterprise, will aim to enhance the productive exchange of knowledge and expertise in the UK across all stakeholders. There are increasing opportunities for successfully deploying biometrics technologies, not just in current high profile applications such as the National ID Card Programme, but in the financial sector, in healthcare, in securing documents and, indeed, in any situation where a high degree of confidence in individual identity is important.

Professor Michael Fairhurst, head of the Department of Electronics at Kent, said: “The rapidly developing field of biometrics is providing both opportunities and challenges to the academic research community, to government, and to UK industry. The formation of UKBI is a major step forward in giving this area of technology – which is now a worldwide enterprise – its own UK voice, helping to keep the UK at the forefront of developments.”

Carole Barron, Director of Kent Enterprise, said: “UKBI will enable the UK to become a leading international player in the application of biometric technology. It will provide the stimulus required to pioneer innovative ways of generating major national economic benefits and create a unique collective resource of data, knowledge and information to underpin scientific research and commercial research and development in the field of biometrics.”

UKBI will work closely with organisations such as the International Association for Biometrics (iAfB) and the European Biometrics Forum (EBF) to form and develop partnerships for future innovation and development. The iAfB and EBF are strategic partners in UKBI.

Biometric technology will soon find its way into passports, ID cards and electronic payment systems.

Forces across the UK will now have a resource they can call on when expert knowledge is required in the burgeoning area of biometric technology.

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