Today, Apple launches the iPhone 5s and the announcement is bigger than the phone: this is the advent of biometrics hitting the mainstream.
To date, biometrics has been restricted to security applications, border protection and "Big Government" civil Identity programmes. But the launch of the iPhone 5s with embedded fingerprint biometrics will act as the catalyst for a new phase in the adoption of biometrics by consumers like you and me.
Unlike Government rollouts of biometric technology or big corporate installations, the introduction of biometrics on the iPhone will bring in the era of consumer convenience and personalisation through automated, electronic personal identification.
To date, use of biometrics has been restricted to accessing a physical area or confirming the identity of an individual for security purposes. Never before has biometrics been embedded into a consumer device which reasonably will be rolled out to 120m people in the first year. Initially, users will get used to the convenience of accessing their phone with the swipe of their fingerprint, but hot on its footsteps will be the innovations of the developer community who will begin to leverage the fingerprint biometric device for personalisation of an online experience or simple payment through their mobile phone.
It is not the biometric which delivers the change, but the new online "anywhere" access, personalisation and payment services that will follow. Best of all, it will change the perception of biometrics from an Orwellian technology to something which has real use and meaning to the throws of Apple users around the world. And where Apple goes, Samsung, Nokia and everyone else will follow...