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Biometrics: What, where and why

Mary Brandel | March 11, 2010
Biometrics are slowly gaining acceptance. Here are the most common forms and uses of biometrics and forces shaping the market

According to a recent survey by Unisys Corp., rampant growth of identity theft and new regulations mandating increased protect of personal identification information are driving acceptance of biometrics.

Market Overview

Biometrics have experienced setbacks over the years, in the form of inadequately planned deployments, inherent limitations of the technology and fears about violations of privacy and civil liberties, Most says. But she sees overall momentum in this market, predicting global revenues for biometrics core technology will reach nearly $11 billion annually by 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 19.69 percent.

This will be due in part to significant transformations over the next 10 years, she says, which will include improved ease of use, accuracy and performance; lower prices and increased reliability of capture devices; and the embedding of capture devices in everything from PDAs, PCs, point-of-sale terminals and ATMs to vehicles, security gates and home appliances.


Most says that the biometrics industry has historically been dominated by a highly fragmented core of vendors producing the various technologies biometrics requires: sensors; pattern recognition and matching algorithms; integrated devices (sensors plus algorithms); and platform software.

Consolidation is on the rise, however, as exemplified by the buying spree of L-1 Identity Solutions, which snapped up finger scanning software vendor Identix and face recognition software vendor Viisage Systems (which had previously bought iris recognition application vendor Iridian).

Until recently, the competitive focus has been limited to accuracy and performance, Most says. However, maturing business models will evolve from product- to service-based offerings, she says.


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