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The integration of new technology

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New technology is coming thick and fast. 3D printers that can print buildings, 3D bioprinters that can print steak, and bendable mobile phones are just the tip of the iceberg. But when a technology comes along that aims to completely ‘replace’ the existing, is it really as simple as an initial reveal followed by mass circulation?

Chip and Pin technology has persistently been a source of much distress. You can keep your pin a secret, but if somebody sticks a camera to an ATM then they can easily access your finances by cloning your card and using it in conjunction with your now not-so-secret pin. This troubling thought has been the source of much debate this week with the announcement that many in the security technology industry would like to bring fingerprint recognition to British cash machines. And while the technology seems infallible – recognising vein patterns underneath our skin which are unique to each individual – there is much more to be considered than how impressive the innovation is. Current credit cards still feature a magnetic strip, despite this technique being more or less obsolete within the UK. Why? Because the US still relies on this method, and this makes our cards compatible abroad. And it wouldn’t be as simple as quickly fixing a fingerprint recognition device to each ATM. Everyone would need to log their prints, the cost for updating the thousands of machines across the country would be vast and what about compatibility? Cards would need to be chip and pin, magnetic strip AND fingerprint friendly.

Despite being an interesting innovation – an undoubtedly fit-for-purpose one at that – it is unlikely that, as is being claimed, the technology will eclipse chip and pin within a short space of time. As we saw at the CES 2013, there is no shortage of cutting-edge technology ideas in the world. But adoption of such technology will always be a gradual and painstaking labour of love, requiring a great deal of expert project management. And in the mean time? Cover your pin.

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