But extinction by 2030?
By 2030 the physical identity credential will have gone the way of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, replaced by secure virtual credential embedded in mobile devices, according to predictions from Acuity Market Intelligence.
By 2022, annual production of smart, biometric “physical” identity credentials – including ePassports, national identity cards, and driver licenses – will peak at more than one billion a year. But after that there may be a decline leading to eventual extinction.
The road is already being paved to enable this transition. “More than 220 biometrically enabled smartphone models are currently on the market,” says Maxine Most, principal and lead analyst at Acuity Market Intelligence. “By 2018, all smartphones will include biometrics and by 2020, feature phones will be obsolete. The global deployment of this platform is the tipping point for full-scale adoption of digital identity.”
Several U.S. states have begun evaluating mobile driver licenses and similar initiatives are underway elsewhere. “We are in the early stages of developing global standards for digital identity. Smart virtual credentials enabled by biometrics are an important step,” Most explains. “Biometrics on smart devices will be multi-modal, used for active and passive authentication, and stored both locally and in secure clouds depending on the application and level of risk.”
These virtual credentials will not only be used for identity. “Biometric-based virtual credentials will also eliminate the need for separate payment mechanisms,” says Most. “By 2025, biometric authentication will be standard for trillions of annual payments and information transactions and by 2030 physical payment mechanisms such as debit and credit cards will become inconvenient and increasingly not accepted. Secure, anonymous biometric authentication will replace multiple forms of identification and payment mechanisms.”