October 28, 2013 -
By 2018, 3.4 billion users will be using biometrics on mobile devices, generating almost US$8.3 billion in revenue for the biometrics industry. That’s the predominant finding from a recent report on the market from Goode Intelligence.
In particular, the report finds that fingerprint sensors will become standard in most high-end mobile devices by 2015 and will eventually become common in all mobile devices shipped during 2018.
The report, Mobile Biometric Security – Market Forecast Report 2013-2018 is now available from Goode Intelligence and notes that the consumerization of biometrics, convenient mobile device protection, mobile commerce and increasing multi-factor authentication solutions are major drivers of the market.
“Biometrics on mobile devices is not a new concept; the first commercial device to embed a fingerprint sensor was launched back in 1999. What we have now, and what has changed in the last 18 months, is a much more favourable environment in which biometrics on mobile devices will flourish” Alan Goode, author of the report and founder of Goode Intelligence said.
“We believe that there will be a rush by consumer smart mobile device (SMD) manufacturers to emulate Apple by embedding and integrating biometrics technology into their next generation devices – not just fingerprint sensors but other biometric technology as well. This will become even more important in the post-smartphone world when wearable technology and smart cars/houses/cities will offer us a much more personal computing experience – in this world biometrics may well hold the key for identity and user interaction.”
** It should be noted that the following portion of this article is the opinion of Adam Vrankulj, and not of Goode Intelligence **
Goode’s perspective that Apple will be emulated by other manufacturers is a common belief, but there’s also a significant contingency (myself included) that says Apple has been designing and working on fingerprint sensing capabilities alongside many others in the market and is just the first out of the gates. Apple has a tendency to do this, and it’s a big part of its corporate image. A bold move, yes, but I’d argue that it’s hard to say others in the market are simply copying what Apple has done.
In many ways, industry heavyweights have been playing a waiting game in the market – waiting to see the consumer response to the first-launched biometric smartphones. For Apple’s part, its likely waiting for an Android manufacturer to launch a smartphone with an open fingerprint sensor (for third-party app access) to see how the consumption base responds. Everyone is playing the same game, but they just have different roles in this development.
Though Apple tends to restrict its developer and user community in a locked ecosystem, don’t be surprised if the Touch ID is suddenly opened up to greater app development besides a device unlock and iTunes purchase function. The Touch ID is very much about convenience and less about security and I doubt Apple would have acquired AuthenTec last year and launched the higher-price tag 5S just to authorize unlocks and 99-cent app upgrades.