As credit crunch continues, biometrics bucks the trend

Market analysis from ABI research predicts that increased interest and investment in a variety of biometric technologies is set to push total spending to £3.7 billion by 2013, more than double the current rate. Despite the current economic downturn, experts expect the biometric sector to continue to prosper for a number of reasons.

While biometric authentication technology has been slow to take off, Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI research, believes that terror attacks have been a big factor in the increase in awareness. Increased emphasis on security in both the public and private sectors are also big drivers. Collins stated that while “Face, iris, hand, and speech recognition systems have emerged and are being adopted independently, fingerprints will continue to be the dominant biometric measurement for some time to come”.

Jim Fulton, VP of DigitalPersona – a biometrics and authentication specialist – is not surprised by these predictions and believes that the projected increase in spending could even be a result of the economy’s fragile state.

Traditional methods of authentication like passwords and smartcards can often become a significant drain on resources. Password resets and replacing lost smartcards are regular tasks for many IT departments and waste both money and staff time. Incidents like these are eliminated by the efficiency of biometric authentication as individuals are identified via their physical attributes rather than by what they know or by an object they have in their possession.

Organisations of all sizes are now considering biometric authentication, not just for the additional security, but because of the simplicity and increased transaction speeds. As the technology is becoming more ubiquitous we are now seeing it used for  tasks as serious as securing borders or as simple as checking a book from the school library.

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