For the first time, biometric authentication is broadly available to 3rd party app developers with the release of iOS8 via Touch ID. There is a direct correlation between increasing security and decreasing usability, which almost always leads to discussions on how best to “balance” between the two. With biometric authentication, that discussion doesn’t have to happen.

This breakthrough is near and dear to my heart. Back in 2010, I was a co-inventor on the “Image authentication and security system and method” patent for mobile banking at JP Morgan Chase. For avid readers, feel free to sift through the gory details of the patent. For the rest of you, the patent describes the ability to use biometric authentication for mobile banking through these methods:

1.     Leverage the mobile phone’s front facing camera to scan a person’s face – think “biometric selfie”.

Patent reference: “image capture of the customer engaging in the transaction using an image capturing device integrated with the electronic device.”

2.     Compare that “biometric selfie” against a certified copy to determine if it’s really you.

Patent reference: “comparing…the stored image with the captured image to authenticate the customer…the data may further include facial patterns, retinal images, and physiological information such as…fingerprint.”

3.     Users don’t have to do anything “extra” to trigger this authentication – it just happens “passively” in the background.

Patent reference: “receive and process signals from the electronic devices in active or passive manner…a phone accelerometer triggers a camera integrated with the electronic device to capture the customer.”

Whether it’s mobile banking, or Digital Transaction Management, users are looking to complete critical transactions quickly and securely.  With DocuSign for iOS8, we’ve taken advantage of the new TouchID capability to make it even easier and more secure for customer to transact while on-the-go (see DocuSign Mobile Solutions to learn more).  I’m incredibly excited to see how other 3rd party developers take advantage of this innovation. Thank you Apple for opening up Touch ID and getting us one step closer to a world where security and usability can coincide without compromise.

Excited? Share your thoughts in the comments below or @DocuSign