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ePassports market to reach $10.2 billion by 2015 with 500 million ePassports issued


Biometrics will experience measured growth due to international cooperation concerning border control.  Security agencies around the world are collaborating on travel security, which has led to greater implementation of electronic documents and readers.

With countries aiming to replace existing travel documents with electronic passports, otherwise known as ePassports, the paradigm has shifted towards a highly secure, truly interoperable international border infrastructure that incorporates fast and reliable identity authentication with biometric verification.

An ePassport is the same as a traditional passport book with the addition of a small, embedded integrated circuit or chip.  The chip stores the same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport, as well as the passport holder’s picture stored in digital form.  An ePassport also contains a unique chip identification number and a digital signature to detect data alteration and verify signing authority.  The document also can store additional data in the chip, as defined by specific issuing governments.

Biometrics Research Group estimates that revenues within the global ePassport market will reach US$10.2 billion by 2015.  Vendors that will benefit most from this revenue stream will include:

  • Gemalto, an international digital security company providing software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cards and tokens in addition to managed services
  • Giesecke & Devrient, a German-based company that provides banknote and securities printing, smart cards, and cash handling systems.
  • Morpho, a division of French multinational Safran, which specializes in security solutions; and
  • Oberthur Technologies, is another French secure technology company, providing security services in smart cards, printing, identity, and cash protection.

These vendors will work in conjunction with governments around the world to issue the new, standardized and secure travel documents. In our estimation, the emerging ePassport standard will create a higher level of streamlined international border security that can be customized for the specific requirements of each individual country.

Biometric Research Group believes that within the next decade, the ePassport will be the ubiquitous travel document.  The research firm estimates that nearly 500 million ePassports have been issued worldwide by over 100 countries and that approximately 485 million are in circulation.  Of these, 54 countries have opted to store facial and fingerprint data in the travel document.

Biometrics Research Group provides forward-looking and systematic data about the global biometric market, allowing industry stakeholders to calculate political, economic and investment risk.

Read more Biometric Research Notes.

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