Open systems / Interoperability

Meeting government and payment industry requirements for interoperability



After enrollment, the fingerprint or a so-called template of characteristic features extracted from the print will be stored. Creating a template is a one-way process and it is impossible deriving the original fingerprint image from a minutia template. Storage can be done in a central database, a local database or in an individual device such as a smart card, token or biometric passport. Many countries respect privacy and regulate storage of personal data including fingerprints. While the United States store fingerprints from all citizens as well as visitors, most European countries including e.g. Germany, France and Italy do not allow permanent storage of biometric data in a centralized database. The largest world biometric project, the Aadhaar in India with more than 1.2 billion people enrolled, operates with a central database, but stores only standardized fingerprint templates and no fingerprint images.

There may be different reasons for storing the template in a database.

– A police officer in the field may need to check a print up against a register of criminals
– A company may have networked access control systems with all their employees registered in one place.
– A bank may want to store prints centrally to avoid issuance of duplicate cards or to be able to issue new cards when cards are lost

Systems in need of storing prints/templates in databases normally require interoperable solutions meaning that they are organized to allow multiple suppliers of key components. In this way, the logistical and financial risks of losing or having a monopolistic supplier is managed. To ensure this, data format standards for fingerprint images and templates have been created by organizations such as ISO and ANSI with heavy contribution from governments. These standards ensure that prints or templates collected may be accessed by all sensor suppliers compliant with the standard.

NEXT sensor systems are based on inter-industry standards, time constant features like minutiae and patterns and follow established standards for template creation, feature extraction and matching including e.g. finger image data ISO/IEC 19794-4 and ISO/IEC 19794-2 finger minutiae data.

Interoperability of the NEXT sensors with world’s leading biometric algorithm providers has been verified by our customers and partners, as well as through independent research studies such as this published by University of Madrid in 2014. Many of the NEXT biometric algorithm  partners are also independently certified by NIST for performance and interoperability (NIST MINEX).

Today all known small and medium sized sensor systems are proprietary meaning that they are not interoperable – templates enrolled in databases or portable devices may be used by the same vendor solution only.

Application demand for interoperability

The following applications are based on print/template storage in databases only, on local storage in card/device only or on storage both locally and in databases :

Cards – Financial InclusionCard and databaseMandatory
Cards – Retail bankingCardRecommended
Cards – Government IDCard and databaseMandatory
Cards – Corporate AccessCard and/or backboneOptional
Government IDDatabaseMandatory
Government ID IndiaDatabaseMandatory (certification)
Access Control – DevicesLocalOptional
Notebooks – CommercialLocal and/or databaseOptional
Notebooks – ConsumersLocal onlyNot required
SmartphonesLocal onlyNot required


Open systems
Open / interoperable systems allowing dual sourcing is mandatory in most governmental and payment industry applications
Monopolistic customer relationship
Proporietary systems seek to create a monopolistic customer relationship – unacceptable for most governments and financial industry solutions
Only templates may be stored
In many countries, including India, Germany, France Italy, databases of full prints are not allowed – only templates may be stored
BSoC concept
If the authorities in India choose to implement a BSoC concept, they will using a small or medium sized sensor have to re-enroll the 1.2 billion people today registered in th UIDAI databases