Biometrics is a market that, in many ways, is kind of getting started. We've seen some applications for this technology trickle down into everyday consumer hands with things like the Fujitsu (News - Alert) Arrows smartphone and other devices, as well as the Apple Touch ID system, but it's not what anyone would call “ubiquitous.” At least, not yet; a new report suggests that, by 2020, the next generation biometrics market is going to be a very big market indeed, measuring in the multi-billion-dollar range.
The new report in question, generated by MarketsandMarkets, led off with the bombshell report that the market for next generation biometrics was going to reach over $24 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9 percent for the years 2015 through 2020. The report also segments the next generation biometrics market down by geographic participants, breaking down the field into the North American market, the European market, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market and the rest of the world market, here covering Africa and the Middle East. In 2014, the North American market represented better than a third of the overall market at about 35 percent, and is expected to generate impressive growth with a CAGR of 17.7 percent through 2020. However, it won't be the largest growth source; that title will go to the APAC market, generating an 18.9 percent CAGR through 2020.
Several firms will have a hand in the growth of the next generation biometrics market, including firms like France's Safran SA and Thales (News - Alert) SA, but also South Korea's Suprema Inc., several United States firms including 3M Cogent, Bio-key International and Cross Match Technologies, as well as the earlier-noted Fujitsu in Japan.
The market itself, additionally, covers a wide variety of different technologies. Not only does it cover things like fingerprint recognition, but it also covers voice, vein, signature, iris and even palm recognition, among several others. It even covers the various market applications for such technologies, considering the healthcare field, finance and banking, and even government operations within its purview.
We all know that biometric technologies are a big deal, and with good reason. The password / username system of security has been shown falling asleep on the job on several occasions, and it's become increasingly clear over the last few years that something stronger is needed. The cries of “stronger passwords” only go so far; it's not easy to remember the string of numbers, letters, random characters—and as one Dilbert strip put it, “squirrel noises”—that should go into a strong password. It's only worse if several such passwords are required, and even more so if the passwords are routinely rotated. Biometrics delivers a great solution to this problem, allowing people to carry an ultra-strong password that can't be readily stolen or duplicated and never needs changed. That's going to really shake up security, and potentially make our mobile commerce ventures a lot safer.
Thus it's not a surprise to see that the next generation biometrics market is likely to prove a huge one indeed. There's too much value in such systems for it not to be a big deal, and seeing these tools better put to use is likely to be helpful for all concerned in the end. I look forward to a day when I can get my email with a thumb scan, and I'm likely not alone on this one.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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