Using a fingerprint scanner is a straightforward deal, register your finger once and use it every time you need to authenticate. Be it mobile phones, access control systems, or your PC, the process remains more or less same across different devices. Performing identity authentication with fingerprint is way easier and faster than other approaches such as PINs, passwords, OTPs, security questions, etc.
Devices that come equipped with an inbuilt fingerprint sensor, usually offer only basic functionality out of the box. However, sensor functionality can be extended to perform additional tasks as well as use it for third party apps. Fingerprint authentication functionality can be extended using fingerprint scanner applications.
Despite offering the superior security and convenience, not all devices come equipped with a biometric fingerprint scanner. A large portion of PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. is shipped without an inbuilt sensor. However, most of these systems support fingerprint authentication out of the box and an external fingerprint device can be integrated effortlessly.
But what if you need to integrate an external fingerprint scanner with a third party application? For example, if you are a programmer and want your app to be able to use fingerprint for user authentication, what are your options? This is where fingerprint scanner apps and SDKs come to the picture.
This article talks about fingerprint app for different platforms / devices, fingerprint SDKs and compares them with Touch N Go, Bayometric’s state of the art biometric solution.
Free fingerprint scanner applications: drivers, bundled SDKs and APIs
When you buy a fingerprint scanner, the vendor will provides you all important bits and pieces that you may require while configuring your fingerprint device. These bits and pieces include device drivers, SDK (Software Development Kit), APIs (Application Programming Interface), etc. Device drivers enable your device (e.g. computer, tablet, etc.) to access hardware functions, control and operate the hardware (the fingerprint scanner in this case).
While Drivers are required for your device to address and control an external device; SDKs are used for programming your device to perform different functions. It usually does it in the form of APIs. API or Application Programming Interface allows your fingerprint scanner app to access different pre-programmed function libraries supplied by the vendor without the need to code them from scratch. Most SDKs utilizes a DLL or ActiveX/COM (Component Object Model) to interface with an application. Developers can reference these objects to utilize the fingerprint functionality from any desired application.
You pay differently for free fingerprint scanner apps
Vendor supplied fingerprint scanner SDKs, APIs are usually available free of charge or at a very low licence fee. Free or low cost of vendor provided SDKs generally lure developers to use them. Free fingerprint SDKs save upfront cost, however, the developers send up struggling with the integration process.
Fingerprint scanner applications and SDKs that allow you to integrate fingerprint functionality to your solution may look like a great deal as you have to pay nothing. However, their price is paid differently.
You may end up struggling with the integration process for weeks, may be months. It will result in delayed projects or missed deadlines. Unavailability of adequate sample code and documentation is another problem with vendor supplied free SDKs. Without adequate sample code and documentation, implementation can be a time consuming affair and developers end up looking for sample code all over the internet.
Developing a stable and accurate system is another issue with free fingerprint scanner applications. Developers have to invest precious time in implementing core biometric functionalities such as enrollment, quality check, etc. Security is a crucial aspect in any biometric systems and without implementing basic biometric data security; the application may end up being a problem rather than a solution.
To meet industry standards such as WSQ or ISO, organization may have to purchase third party licence, which incur additional cost in case of free fingerprint scanner applications.
Touch N Go: all-in-one biometric solution
Touch N Go is an all-in-one biometric solution which is developed with the best in class software development approach to overcome issues present in standard SDKs. Touch N Go was developed keeping general and specific issues developers face while integrating fingerprint scanners with their applications. Its highly reliable and high performance fingerprint recognition API allows developers to quickly integrate fingerprint recognition ability to their solution with just four lines of code.
There is no need to waste time on understanding fingerprinting enrollment and quality check concepts as Touch N Go already comes equipped with best in class fingerprint enrollment, administration and security features. A head to head comparison of Touch N Go with standard SDKs is provided in the following section.
Free fingerprint scanner applications vs. Touch N Go
You get what you pay for. Free fingerprint scanner applications or standard SDKs may look lucrative; however, you have to bear the cost of delayed integration process, missed deadline and extra time invested.
Using Touch N Go complete biometric solution allows developers to integrate fingerprint hardware with their solution in the matter of minutes. It becomes impossible for free fingerprint applications and SDKs to compare with Touch N Go in case of ease of integration as they take weeks before being usable.
Free SDKs often come with inadequate documentation and sample code, hindering integration process and costing precious time of developers. In case of Touch N Go, proper and up to date documentation along with sample code in multiple languages is provided.
Free fingerprint applications are often found to be suffering from lousy implementation when it comes to ensuring image quality. They will let a poor quality scan register without applying stringent quality checks, which creates problem in authentication and may produce false acceptance and false rejections. False acceptances can be fatal in some cases resulting in security breaches, timesheet manipulations and more. Touch N Go’s smart enrollment system lets only high quality images pass through the registration process. Stringent quality checks at initial level saves from a lot of problems later.
Free SKD is often delivered to you as DLL’s, which you can install on your system in order to add desired functionality to your application. This required coding and configuration, and without adequate documentation and sample code, the process becomes increasingly complex. On the other hand, Touch N Go comes as a complete system with all the required functionality already in place that allows you to quickly integrate your fingerprint hardware with your application.
Touch N Go reduces the development time to 1 -2 days whereas free fingerprint SDKs will typically take 4 – 6 weeks.
With free fingerprint scanner applications, developers have to spend a lot of time in enabling basic functionalities like fingerprint enrollment, quality control, etc. before the systems is stable and usable. However, Touch N Go, being a turnkey biometric software solution, eliminates unnecessary procedures and let developers integrate the fingerprint hardware within minutes.
Fingerprint scanner manufacture provided free SDKs do not offer inbuilt security. It’s up to the developer to ensure security of stored biometric data as well as while it is on-transit. On the other hand, Touch N Go comes equipped with bank-grade encryption to secure stored data as well as data on transit.
In case of free fingerprint SKDs, programmers need to develop database management procedures from scratch. Exception handling is also taken care by the developer to avoid undesired outputs. However, in case of Touch N Go, you get all data management and exception handling processes deployed in design.
Ensuring scalability of the system with manufacturer published free fingerprint applications is a costly affair, which often comes at the cost of performance and security. Touch N Go is designed keeping scalability requirements in mind and support any number of users and locations without any impact on the performance and security.
Unlike free fingerprint SDKs, which have to be recompiled and updated in order to apply changes, Touch N Go comes with no system dependencies.
With Touch N Go you get a dedicated account manager and support engineer unlike hardware manufacturer published free fingerprint SDKs, which focus mostly on selling hardware.
Fingerprint apps for windows 10, PCs and android mobile devices
Since the introduction of first iPhone in mobile space and Windows 8 on PCs, OS manufacturers have been pushing the limits to create an app-based ecosystem around their products. They have been inducing programmers to develop for their platform so that their app catalog does not lag behind the competition. iPhone had a head start in building such a digital ecosystem; however, Android did not take long to outnumber the Apple’s apps. Though Windows 8 and later are PC operating systems, it has also pushed app ecosystem to offer mobile and PC functionality on a single platform.
In today’s app based ecosystems, fingerprint scanner apps have a specific purpose: to extend the functionality of your fingerprint hardware and make it more usable. Most present day fingerprint apps support a wide array of operating systems running on different hardware.
Fingerprint scanner in mobile devices
Today, mobile phones are in the forefront of consumer IT applications. They have shared the burden of PCs and computers and have been doing all sort of tasks that once required you to turn on your computer. Now when mobile phones are used in all sorts of transactions including high value banking and financial transactions, security of these devices cannot be taken lightly.
Fingerprint scanner in mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. has made a permanent place in their specification sheets. Manufacturers are even going an extra mile and coming up with cutting edge technologies for fingerprint scanner in mobile devices such as under-display, ultrasonic fingerprint scanner in mobile devices.
Android remains the most popular operating systems for smartphones and tablets, most of which comes equipped with a built in fingerprint scanner. Recent versions of Android support a wide variety of biometrics and come with the native ability to store and process biometric data including fingerprint templates.
Fingerprint scanner app for android can be used for a variety of use cases. Since most android devices come equipped with an inbuilt sensor, enhance the functionality of the sensor that is not offered by the operating system natively. For example, a third party app can be used to extend the functionality and perform actions with double taps, swipe, etc. Users may launch a specific app, turn off the screen, and turn on the flashlight, etc. with these actions using a fingerprint scanner app for Android.
Fingerprint scanner app for windows 10
Microsoft have had dominance in PC OS market with more than 85% PCs booting with Windows. Fingerprint scanner app for PCs has been in use since the inception of computerized fingerprint recognition. Built in fingerprint sensors are uncommon in PCs, however, a fingerprint scanner app for PC quickly adds the required functionality. Fingerprint scanner app for PCs have been used for voter registration, banking, civil and law enforcement applications and now with Windows 10, PCs are able to offers better than ever support for biometric hardware.
Windows 10 offers the richest support for biometric authentication than any other version of Windows operating systems so far. It means that fingerprint scanner apps for Windows 10 can now take advantage of native biometric support for the biometric hardware.
Plug-ins are fingerprint scanner apps for Windows 10 that add extra functionality into the core components of the systems. For example, a Windows 10 app published to do a certain task (e.g. a To-Do List App) may not natively have ability to use the inbuilt device fingerprint scanner as not all Windows 10 devices may have it. But if a user installs the application on a Windows 10 device with a fingerprint sensor, the publisher may choose to offer a plug-in instead of modifying the core app to deliver fingerprint authentication ability. In this case the plug-in fingerprint scanner app for Windows 10 can be used to invoke the biometric authentication ability.
APIs, SDKs, device drivers, etc. are important bits and pieces that come handy when you need to integrate an external fingerprint scanner. Integrating an external fingerprint scanner to devices running newer versions of operating systems is fairly easy. You just need to connect the scanner to your device and follow on-screen options. In some cases, it asks for devices driver installation and in a few minutes, your sensor should be ready to use.
However, integrating an external scanner with third party applications may be a different story altogether, which requires you to use a compatible SDK (Software Development Kit).
Standard fingerprint scanner SDKs, which are provided by the vendors for free, may look like an attractive deal as you do not have to pay anything to use them. However, integration with free fingerprint SDKs can be a cumbersome process. Getting a complete biometric solution such as Touch N Go, not only accelerates the process but also enable you to make the most of your fingerprint hardware.