There is no single biometric modality that is best for all implementations. Commonly implemented or studied biometric modalities include: Fingerprint, face, iris, voice, signature and hand geometry. Many other modalities are in various stages of development and assessment.
Many factors must be taken into account when implementing a biometric system, including but not limited to: physical location, security risks, task (identification or verification), expected number of end users, user circumstances, and existing data. Each biometric modality has its own strengths and weaknesses that must be evaluated in relation to the application before implementation. The effectiveness of a particular implementation of biometric technology is dependent on how and where the technology is used.
Key decision factors for selecting a particular biometric technology for a specific application includes but is not limited to:
- The environment
- Throughput needs (the required speed of the transaction)
- Costs associated with obtaining and storing templates and conducting biometric recognition
- Population size and demographics
- Interoperability with existing systems
- Other user considerations — for instance, an access control system to a coal mine, where individuals might have very worn and/or dirty fingerprints, will not be a suitable environment for a fingerprint reader.