In the 1990s, Bloomberg realized the nature of computing was changing and work patterns were evolving as people were no longer tethered to a desktop or home computer. In fact, working remotely was becoming the norm rather than the exception. To enhance the user’s experience, while maintaining a secure computing environment, Bloomberg decided to provide subscribers with flexible, but secure, ways to access the Bloomberg Professional service at work, from home, and increasingly, on mobile devices.
To do this, more than a decade ago, Bloomberg introduced biometric authentication to meet the needs of institutional and individual clients who wanted a more secure login process for the Bloomberg Professional service. Today more than two-thirds of the 315,000 business and financial professionals who subscribe to Bloomberg use its biometric authentication devices every day to login to the Bloomberg network.
Over the years, Bloomberg designed, developed and deployed two exclusive and complementary strong authentication tools; the B-Unit, and a finger image sensor on the Bloomberg keyboard, which was first introduced in 2004.
The keyboard-based finger image sensor analyzed points on a finger image and ensured that the terminal’s login credentials were more sophisticated than the standard user name and password combination. Today, the iconic Bloomberg keyboard is used by more than 90 percent of Bloomberg subscribers.
The B-Unit, a portable, credit-card sized device that also provides authentication by analyzing points on a finger image, was designed for subscribers to access the Bloomberg Professional service from almost any Internet-connect computer, smartphone or tablet device. (We call this service “Bloomberg Anywhere.”)
Research, innovation and user-centric design have been central to Bloomberg’s DNA for 30-years. Bloomberg continues to make its market-moving news, real-time data, and analytics platform even more accessible, intuitive and convenient to use for clients. And, we are increasingly doing this for third-party platforms as well in terms of enabling them to integrate with the Bloomberg Professional service to serve mutual clients.
As the nature of computing evolves, and the needs of financial and business professionals change, we will continue to pioneer innovative solutions to meet our clients’ needs. As a recent New York Magazine article noted, Bloomberg “put itself at the forefront of an emerging tech trend.” And, we’re excited to do more of the same in the future.
Contributed by Adam Goldsmith, global head of hardware product development, a division of the CTO Office at Bloomberg LP.