How the biometrics market is entering the evolving IoT ecosystem

By 2021, the biometrics market will reach $30 billion and shift its revenue focus, moving away from the governmental sector to emphasize opportunities in the consumer and banking sectors, according to ABI Research. Consumer and banking will see 19% and 12% growth rates, respectively.

biometrics market

The need for increased security

Digital services are quickly becoming the norm for the everyday user. As more of us leverage online financial services, from purchasing insurance to managing our bank accounts, the need for increased security and in particular, identity protection, has become critical.

The shortcomings of passwords have been known for years, so the continued growth of biometrics is welcome, according to Jonathan Scudder, Lead Architect for OpenAM at ForgeRock. “Biometrics are an incremental step in removing the risks associated with password-based authentication, and the use of fingerprint or facial recognition technology can boost security with minimal impact to user experience. High-end smartphones already offer these capabilities, but until they are universally available, biometric authentication will struggle to become the industry standard.”

“Two crucial obstacles need to be overcome on the way to a more biometric future. The first is to avoid looking at biometrics in isolation; contextual factors such as risk scoring and continuous security checks throughout a session are essential if you really want to raise the bar on security. Secondly, IoT offers an unprecedented opportunity to gather and share sensitive personal data, and yet the industry still treats identity and security as an afterthought. Incorporating more biometric capabilities into devices is a step forward, and needs to be accompanied by a far broader reprioritisation of security and identity in IoT,” Scudder added.

Biometrics growth areas

Border control is currently one of the highest growth areas in the government market sector. Employee authentication is the focus of enterprises, as are smartphones in the consumer sector. Specifically, fingerprint technology in smartphones will signal disruptive growth to the current consumer landscape.

Fingerprint sensor shipments are expected to hit close to two billion by 2021, with this marking an overall growth rate of 44%. The increase will show biometrics becoming particularly relevant in the automotive, data management, healthcare and telemedicine, smart home, and wearables IoT market segments.

“As consumers get used to static biometrics and even behavioural biometrics as part of everyday life, the revenue focus within the biometrics market will inevitably shift towards consumer technology and banking. What’s important is that organisations invest in biometric technology that makes the authentication process as secure and as simple for the consumer as possible. For example, in future we will be able to prove who we are online using just our face – a selfie – eliminating the need for remembering traditional passwords altogether and putting the user back in control of their identity,” Paco Garcia, CTO of Yoti, told Help Net Security.

Security legislation

As biometric technology advances within different sectors, market players need to be on the alert for new security legislation that could potentially affect companies’ business strategies in the years ahead. The influx of new devices featuring biometric sensors in the connectivity world and the emergence of new applications in the banking sector means an increase in overall market value, but it also means that security has fewer chances to catch up.

Biometric technology has the power to revolutionise authentication in the banking sector as it satisfies both high levels of security and user convenience, according to Ian Hermon, Product Manager Payments Security, Thales e-Security.

“Typically banks would be able to authenticate users in less than one second by comparing a real-time scan of a finger with a customer’s profile stored in a database. This in turn would enable banks to minimise costs related to printing, scanning, indexing, transport, archiving and shredding of paper documents. However, the continued success of biometrics and widepsead acceptance of the technology relies on security teams having a highly secure solution to protect the authentication process and any associated stored data,” Hermon concluded.