27 December, 2004
A panel of ID industry experts provided predictions for 2005. One of these glimpses into the future will appear here each day during December.
by Brooke Browne, onClick Corporation
In the industry, every year we hear how biometric technology is expected to grow and generate tremendous amounts of revenue in the years to come. However, the technology has always tended to fall short of predictions, and a lack of adoption into the corporate environment does nothing to promote consumer awareness and use.
In the last year the Department of Homeland Security has done an excellent job in moving forward with initiatives to secure the US, as well as encourage other countries to do so. Sticking to their guns despite the predictable backlash from a few loud voices, their implementation of fingerprint scanners across the US’s entry and exit locations has created a whole new awareness of biometrics as it applies to terrorist prevention and citizen protection. There’s no doubt, as places like the UK and Australia begin embarking on their own initiatives, government use of biometrics will become increasingly common at a very rapid rate next year and the following few years.
It’s a ladder system of sorts that will generate growth beginning with the government. The priority to implement biometrics for immigration control and terrorism prevention will encourage business to enlist the technology for their own security issues. And finally, after being included in the efforts by these large entities, consumers will see biometrics as a tool of their own, taking on the technology for the convenience factor.
Specifically, the most widely used biometrics that will be intrinsic to all sectors is fingerprint. We may not see fingerprint biometrics become as prevalent as we would like, but there will be growth in the industry, as there always has been. Many large scale projects and evaluation phases (i.e. the frequent flyer program being tested at various airports) will have been wrapped up, and decisions to move forward with the technology could motivate others on a smaller scale to do the same. IBG’s market report for 2004-2008 (http://www.onclickbiometrics.com/ebusiness/ocbioweb.nsf/wContent/ AboutBiometricsIBGreport?opendocument) stated that by 2006 the revenues across the entire industry should reach $2.6 billion. Fingerprint technology is the most widely used, and will account for a large portion of that revenue.
It’s hard to say if we will meet or exceed IBG’s expectations, but one thing is clear: fingerprint biometric vendors and manufacturers must continue to improve upon the total solution, meaning that hardware and software must compliment each other and integrate seamlessly into existing systems while offering more than just a means to circumvent passwords. Price will also be a huge determining factor of success. Privacy concerns related to misinformation from a lack of education on the technology will diminish, and larger established companies will put their seal of approval behind it, using their pull and unlimited resources to create more awareness among consumers. IBM, Microsoft and LG have begun already. At the rate that fingerprint technology is being tried and tested within various products, services, security and access solutions, there is no reason why we shouldn’t expect the best outcome for the technology.
Visit onClick on the web at www.onclickbiometrics.com.