Mobile operating system developer Indus OS has partnered with US-based Delta ID, a company which provides iris recognition technology, to roll out iris-based Aadhaar authentication on smartphones. The authentication feature will also be available in the 12 Indian languages supported by Indus OS. The new update with Aadhaar authentication feature will be available on Indus OS by the end of this quarter.

As of now, Indus OS comes integrated on 6 domestic smartphone brands like Micromax, Intex, Karbonn, Celkon and Swipe. A joint statement from both companies said that the feature will be open for government services such as UPI, Digilocker and Aadhaar Pay and for other mobile wallets. But the company hasn’t mentioned private applications that will support Delta ID’s iris authentication feature. MediaNama has written to the company for more details and will update the story once they respond. Rakesh Deshmukh, CEO of Indus OS told MediaNama that the company’s “existing and future smartphone brand partners can explore” the option of integrating iris-based Aadhaar authentication. But he didn’t clarify whether existing partners–Micromax, Intex, Karbonn, Celkon, Swipe–are already signed up. He also did not mention the names of private apps that will support the feature but added that the company is yet to finalize “OS layer for the technology” which it expects to release by this quarter.

Note that last year, Delta ID received approval from UIDAI, the Aadhaar issuing authority, for providing biometric authentication services. A Mint report from August 2016 points out that Delta ID was working with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) for integrating its iris recognition technology. OEMs manufacture small smartphone equipment like chips, display units, cameras etc., while ODMs designs and manufactures a product depending on brand specs.

As of now, the Delta ID seems to be focusing on mobile payments sector in India, but the company’s website pointed out that it has also been using iris recognition in smart vehicles for identifying and monitoring drivers and in smart lock systems used in residential homes.

How the software will authenticate with UIDAI database

Delta ID mentions on its website that only smartphones with a front facing infrared reader and camera can support iris based authentications.  The company claims that its iris-based authentication feature will work in 4 sequences:
– When a user initiates an authentication request, the mobile OS first encodes the iris information of the user and then encrypts it with UID’s public key.
– The encrypted information is sent to the UIDAI server for a match
– UIDAI server responds with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response.
– If the response is ‘Yes’, the consumer is authorized to make a payment or authenticate him/herself.

Other services using Aadhaar based authentication

Several companies including banks in recent times have adopted Aadhaar based authentication. The government has also been encouraging Aadhaar based payments with its recently launched Aadhaar Pay service for banks which runs on top of the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) framework. Currently, 14 banks have signed up for Aadhaar Pay and IDFC Bank was first off the mark to launch the new payments system. Last month, a Chennai-based payments company launched FSS Aadhaar Pay, a biometric-enabled merchant payment acceptance system. Mahindra Comviva, the VAS and fintech arm of Tech Mahindra, launched a merchant acceptance solution for the Aadhaar Pay in February.