Windows Hello will allow users to log in to PCs and tablets using facial, iris or fingerprint recognition, Microsoft announced this morning. The new feature will work alongside another one named “Passport” that will authenticate users as they sign into apps and websites.
New hardware necessary
“Windows Hello offers enterprise-grade security that will meet the requirements of organizations with some of the strictest requirements and regulations,” writes Microsoft Windows exec Joe Belfiore in a blog post. “It’s a solution that government, defense, financial, health care and other related organizations will use to enhance their overall security, with a simple experience designed to delight.”
Microsoft is working towards the release of Windows 10 later this year, and announced the new features as part of the buildup. Of course, in order for the features to work to their potential, hardware will need to be upgraded to include a fingerprint reader, an infrared sensor and other biometric-ready hardware.
The timing of the announcement was presumably designed so that hardware manufacturers will have sufficient time in which to build-in and test the necessary technology before Windows 10 is released. Microsoft has already been working with manufacturers in order to ensure that Windows Hello-ready devices are on sale by the launch date.
Safe from hackers
Existing devices which have an Intel RealSense 3D Camera will be compatible with facial and iris recognition features of Windows Hello. Other companies will surely start working on readying their devices as soon as possible.
Those concerned for the safety of their biometric information have been assured by the company that their data would be stored locally on their device and remain anonymous to reduce the consequences of it being compromised.
Windows Hello is the latest in a series of initiatives from Microsoft designed to improve natural user interaction with its products. Previously the company introduced the Kinect motion sensor for the Xbox, and the Cortana personal assistant for Windows phone users. The new feature marks the first time that a new user interaction will be offered to such a wide range of customers.