Aware Inc.: Own Your Identity

Bob Eckel, President & CEO of Aware Inc

User authentication is a key component in millions of digital applications globally. Primarily using passwords and security questions, these methods were designed to keep user data secure and private. Unfortunately, these contemporary authentication methods have proven to be fraud-prone and frustrating to use, and new, stronger authentication methods have grown in demand to combat the rising trends of identity theft and data breaches. Biometric solutions provider Aware Inc. aims to address these troubling trends, providing its customers with a biometrically based authentication option for greatly increased security and convenience.

Aware has been a leading global provider of biometrics software products, solutions, and services for more than 25 years. Bob Eckel, the President and CEO, leads the charge as an established executive with a passion for leadership, growth, and addressing today’s most pressing digital identity concerns.

We at CIO LOOK caught up with Aware in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Trusted Authentication Solution Providers 2021.” We talked with Bob to gain insights about how Aware is providing critical biometric functionality for applications.

Let us dive right in.

Who is Aware

Aware’s industry-leading biometric technology helps organizations across virtually any industry—from financial services and enterprise security to government, law enforcement and civil identity—collect, manage, process, and match biometric images and data for identification and authentication purposes.

Aware’s mission is to bring biometric solutions to life so that individuals and organizations can own their identities. It involves utilizing biometric technology such as facial or speaker (voice) recognition, to empower people to control how their identity is being used and do so in a secure, convenient way.

Aware is also at the forefront of today’s mobile biometric identity management solutions, with direct experience through its large installed base and in the mobile world. Biometric technology has become increasingly mobile, enabled by the cameras and microphones found in today’s mobile devices to enroll and authenticate individuals safely and securely from virtually any location. Aware has enabled over 30 million biometrically powered mobile transactions in 2021 alone.

Unique Solutions and Applications

Bob expresses that historically, Aware has relied on developing software development kits, often referred to as SDKs. Aware’s proven SDKs function like building blocks and create a foundation for engineering to build a specific solution for a customer.

Aware has since assembled and configured these building blocks into core business offerings that can be marketed, sold and integrated directly by users, developers, and integrators on both traditional and SaaS-based models. Aware’s core offerings include:

  1. Knomi, a premier mobile biometric authentication framework that enables enrollment, authentication, document capture and verification, and facial and voice matching for identity proofing. Knomi uses mobile devices to conduct secure and frictionless biometric enrollment and authentication without passwords. Knomi also features passive liveness detection to determine whether a user is a living person and not some attempt to spoof the system (like a photo, mask or video recording).
  2. BioSP is Aware’s industry-leading middleware offering; a modular, open platform that enables biometric systems with advanced biometric and data processing and management functionality in a web services architecture. It’s used by employers and customers at scale to facilitate the secure storage of identity data and coordinate between authentication systems, and can be configured by Aware or by the customer.
  3. AwareABIS is Aware’s automated biometric identification system, providing a wide array of biometric identification solutions for any sized civil or law enforcement community. Supporting fingerprint, face and iris recognition, AwareABIS is a flexible, modular platform that can be aligned to a variety of customer needs.

Customer Driven Philosophy

Aware has three primary values that drive its strong relationships with its customers.

  1. Biometric Expertise: Aware prides itself on its deep technical expertise spanning multiple decades and leverages this expertise to help customers achieve their specific goals and exceed their overall expectations.
  2. Customer Intimacy: Aware builds long-lasting relationships with its customers by anticipating and understanding their ever-changing needs, with complete rapid response and follow through.
  3. Ease of Conducting Business: Aware is easy for customers to do business with, regardless of their specific need, industry, or application. Customers who do business with Aware can expect a fast, flexible, and proven company that gives them the attention they deserve.

Adoption of Newer Technologies

According to Bob, “It’s always a good rule of thumb to stay on top of the latest technology advancements to ensure your offerings remain applicable, available and desirable to customers.” Aware’s biometric offerings are designed to be highly flexible and configurable so they can both be adapted to changing user needs and integrate easily into a customer’s workflow, even as technologies advance.

Aware’s integration-ready biometric solutions can effectively replace an existing password-based authentication workflow with minimal effort compared to alternatives and reduce the time to market significantly. Aware can do this because it doesn’t focus solely on technology. Instead, it distinguishes itself by sitting at the convergence of identity, biometrics, artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, adapting to changing market needs and emerging challenges more easily than other providers.

A Good Will for the Community

Because many of Aware’s employees are socially conscious or have strong ties to their local communities, Aware is proud to offer paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to allow them to volunteer for the organizations they feel passionately about. Aware also provides its employees with additional volunteer opportunities, typically around STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Aware routinely encourages employees to support virtual learning opportunities through organizations such as BoSTEM (a Boston-focused charity) so that students who are struggling with these subjects don’t fall behind.

Lastly, Aware is proud to have a strong intern program. Aware routinely and consistently gives aspiring individuals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the industry, providing invaluable work experience for the interns and unique viewpoints on the company and its products for the organization.

Envisioning a Secure Future

As Bob notes, biometrics have evolved a lot in recent years, growing greatly in prevalence. He has witnessed biometric applications taking hold in both the government and commercial space, either to provide safeguards around personal identity to ensure privacy and security, or to enable commercial transactions in a much more secure and convenient way than traditional password-based authentication methods.

With these trends in mind, Aware believes that over the next 5-10 years, consumers will finally be able to take back control of their identities and how they are used in today’s digital world. Instead of conforming to the many outdated authentication methods currently imposed by the companies, such as passwords and security questions, people will instead take control of how their personal information is used and take advantage of the passwordless nature of biometrics to do so.

With a long track record of success in the industry and modern mobile authentication solutions already available, Aware expects to be at the forefront of this trend and play a vital role in ensuring people can manage their identities in a secure, convenient, passwordless future.

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