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Keeping PCs Personal: Why Offer Biometric Solutions for PCs

March 2021 by Maria Pihlstrom, Global Marketing Manager at Fingerprints

The PC market just had its first major growth in over a decade. Worldwide PC shipments grew 10.7% in the fourth quarter of 2020, with a 4.8% growth over the year. In the last year, personal computers of all forms were at the heart of the world’s unparalleled and rapid digital transformation and robust consumer demand has driven PC sales, especially in regions maintaining stay-at-home guidance.

Despite previous predictions that smartphones would kill the PC, computers remain an invaluable consumer device for all ages and numerous use cases - from remote working and virtual learning to shopping, socializing and entertainment. These new consumer behavior trends are all set to endure into the post-COVID era too - one strong indicator being the 16.2% YoY growth the gaming PC market saw in 2020.

PC is a growing and increasingly competitive market, evidenced by the entrance of new players from the smartphone world. With market growth and competition comes an opportunity to differentiate and offer a product with greater convenience and security.

Why biometric authentication for PC?

2020 brought more balance between phone and PC usage, but much can be learned from consumers’ love of mobile. Fingerprint has replaced PINs and passwords as the most popular way to authenticate on mobile, with ease of use and security the biggest drivers. As smartphone OEMs push for market share in the PC space, biometrics is increasingly being recognized as a differentiator that can enhance the user experience
Consumers want it too. When we asked consumers how they imagine using biometrics in the future, PC was the second use case top of mind after biometric bank cards. By 2026, we estimate around two thirds of PCs will have a fingerprint touch sensor so for those looking to get ahead, the time to move is now. Now a widely used and trusted technology, biometrics is a selling point, adding value to PCs in numerous environments.

A new home for biometrics

In the home, a fingerprint sensor in your laptop or PC keyboard makes unlocking as simple as a touch of a button. It can also bring instant access to personalized settings and logins to shared devices. For those in busy households, especially with children sharing the device, this can help keep personal browsing, apps, games, and services just that – personal. Biometrics can also make shopping online more convenient and secure. With biometric payments gathering pace via cards and smartphones, there’s opportunity to offer consumers a harmonious UX across online, mobile and in-store payment authentication.
A major strength of PC is consumers’ preference to use form factors like laptops and PCs for more complex, sensitive activities such as managing finance and booking holidays, where mobile browsing isn’t as convenient. Here again, biometrics can complement this use case. In an age of heightened privacy concerns, empowering consumers to add additional layers of authentication to their browsing lives is invaluable.

Workplace biometrics

Even before the pandemic, remote working was a growing trend, and flexible working will endure into the ‘new normal’. Biometrics offers a simple means of adding strong authentication to access servers and corporate apps for remote work security, without the need for simply more PINs and passwords. Corporate PINs and passwords are a pain for workers and enterprises alike. Requests for stronger, more complex passwords that are easily lost is costing enterprise IT departments millions a month in resetting forgotten passwords. Meanwhile, 6 out of 10 consumers feel they have too many passwords, and 99% of enterprise users admit to using the same passwords across apps. Not only is this a frustrating UX for workers, but systems are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches - a vicious circle. Biometrics is the authentication silver bullet – a means to improve authentication and security across the corporate network, without adding to the burden of PINs and passwords.

Biometrics in the workplace also enables employees to unlock their device quickly and easily. Moving around a busy office again, this takes away the nuisance of entering a password or PIN every time. For shared devices, it can also tap into those personalization benefits too, instantly logging into a worker’s account and ensuring only those with the correct permissions can access sensitive materials and areas of the enterprise network.

The biometrics business case for PC

Biometric PC login is not a new technology, but it is one that’s evolved and gaining significant momentum. Long gone are the sensors of the past that were not properly explained to consumers and delivered a poor UX. With the PC market booming, integrating and properly introducing biometrics can help PC players differentiate and support a myriad new use case.

The lifecycle of PCs is far longer than competing devices, meaning there is a real opportunity to target the market with a more premium product. The most advanced fingerprint biometric sensors on the market can be integrated into the power button, in touchpads, on the side, or even into existing keys as a multi-use feature in a range of colors. With increasingly innovative, flexible designs emerging – from 2-in-1 tablet convertibles to notebooks – OEMs have the power to bring high performance, trusted biometrics into new products, without compromising design or UX.

The value of both PCs and biometrics has never been clearer. Adding a much-used and trusted authentication technology to PC, then, is surely a no-brainer for OEMs to differentiate and get ahead in an exciting growing market. Fingerprints is already active in supporting top-tier PC OEMs to bring biometric-powered solutions to market. Learn more about how it can support bringing biometric smartness to your PC.

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