Biometrics’ position in IoT is hot but security issues are looming large

ABI Research predicts that 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. Consumer and banking will see 19% and 12% growth rates, respectively.

“After establishing a foundation in smartphones and user authentication, the biometrics market is branching out and entering the evolving IoT ecosystem,” says Dimitrios Pavlakis, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “The revenue shift will happen as the market focuses on consumer devices and securing more investment from mobile and computing device OEMs, as well as large banks and credit card companies.”

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 biometric technology rapidly advances within these 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. Hackers, even ones in governmental settings, provide evidence of this challenge.

“Just a few months ago, a data breach within the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management saw more than 21 million people have their fingerprint biometric data, including social security numbers and other sensitive information, stolen,” concludes Pavlakis. “This can be seen as a turbulent prelude on what is to come and disrupt the biometric security market, unless OEMs and platform providers focus more on increasing protection rather than decreasing cost.”

This is the major task that multi-vertical companies like Safran Morpho, M2SYS, 3M Cogent, and Crossmatch have on their hands right now. While other smaller, albeit still strong players, like Nuance, Agnitio, Aware Inc., and BIO-key focus their efforts on specific segments and evolving markets.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Biometric Technologies and Applications Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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