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Biometrics market 2016 predictions: Q&A with Jason Chaikin of VKANSEE


The global biometrics market has seen significant growth over the past few years, driven by the increasing number of vendors integrating fingerprint sensors in their mobile devices.

A recent report by Biometrics Research Group, Inc. forecasts the inclusion of biometrics in mobile devices will generate approximately US$9 billion worth of revenue by 2018 for the biometrics industry.

Meanwhile, biometric modalities such as face, voice and eye-based recognition are emerging from their early development phase and are slowly being integrated into mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Additionally, governments around the world are increasingly integrating biometric technologies for various projects, including e-passports, e-driving licenses, border management, and national IDs.

VKANSEE is a developer of fingerprint sensors for mobile devices, boasting an ultra-thin (1.5mm) optical fingerprint sensor that delivers four times the resolution and a 300% greater efficiency rate over current iOS and Samsung fingerprint sensors.

As we near the end of the year, BiometricUpdate.com had the opportunity to interview VKANSEE President Jason Chaiki, in which he shares his own predictions and thoughts on emerging trends for the biometrics market in 2016.

What are some of your key predictions for the biometrics market in 2016?

Jason Chaikin: Biometrics will continue to become more pervasive in everyday life because passwords are broken. Greater numbers of people will use mobile payments and more and more apps will leverage the fingerprint sensor as a result of Android and IOS opening their sensor API. Other modalities, especially face recognition and to a lesser degree Iris recognition will have some exposure to the mass market – their performance and ease of use will directly determine their rate of adoption. Once the capture problem for iris is solved and there are some interesting activities around this now, I believe iris can become the dominant contactless biometric.

I also think there will be a real separation of the wheat and chaff in biometrics. The mass market is a cruel teacher and modalities that make optimistic claims on their performance will be debunked for one reason or another. One example is the ultrasonic sensing of fingerprints and where it it’s looked good on paper for many years, unfortunately it continues to fail to intersect with market requirements despite heavy investment.

What do you think the adoption rates for fingerprint sensors will be in 2016?

With more than 50 phones attaching fingerprints in this 2015 period, the predictions from analysis like IDC and Acuity seem right on track with more than 500 million sensors in 2016. The Biometrics Research Group, Inc predicts that 650 million people will be using biometrics by the end of 2015. With growing user adoption, what’s important to me is that the trend of hyper-growth is continuing to track and not necessarily if there will be 550 or 650 million units next year. At this point it’s all about agile execution rather than demand, in my opinion.

Why do you think there is a growing number of mobile device manufacturers implementing fingerprint biometric sensors in their devices?

Unlike other features such as display screen and camera resolution, biometric sensors have not really been driven by consumer demand. No one was really asking for these features but after Apple pioneered the use of fingerprint sensors in 2013 it created the demand. Biometric sensors are now a buying criteria for many consumers that have had good experiences with biometrics – they like the convenience and security.

Can you discuss the differences in past, present, and future security issues with mobile payment technology?

In the past, because of low adoption rates, there weren’t any significant security issues with mobile payments, as they didn’t present such interesting target for hackers. Google wallet is an example of this – not many people used it, despite the relative widespread availability. Presently, we are on the cusp of real mobile payment adoption as our mobile lifestyle continues to drive new behavior and services. According to an article in Mashable, “Panera Bread tells us Apple Pay represents nearly 80% of their mobile payment transactions, and since the launch of Apple Pay, Whole Foods Market had seen mobile payments increased by more than 400%”.

According to statista.com, $431 billion dollars represents the current total volume of mobile transactions worldwide and again there were no recognizable security issues. To me, this shows that merchants have an opportunity to engage in a new way with customers and I would be surprised if these relationships are not nurtured, which brings us to the future. So, bringing us into the future, I can see new trends upsetting traditionally models. I’m not just talking about ApplePay pushing into Paypal, or other transactional disruptions to credit or debit card systems. What I’m thinking about now is how we interact. For example, when I pass near a McDonald’s in Japan, I’m enrolled in their rewards program, I get notified that one block away is my favorite teriyaki burger with free fries if I order now. With a few selections I order on my phone before I get there, avoiding the long line and accumulating reward points. Retailers can serve us just what we want because we want them to know it and participate in letting them know it.

This kind of scenario is fertile ground for a number of security issues. I personally believe that our current semi-federated top down security model could be replaced by bottom up model. In this kind of model, biometrics protect users’ information, and the user can choose with whom and when to share it. I call this the ‘privatization of identity’, but with exception of some academics there doesn’t seem to be much thought leadership in this direction from what I can see.

What other trends in the biometrics industry can we expect to emerge in 2016?

Newer modalities such as heart-print and ear-geometry have a chance to meet market requirements and if successful, can have some design wins for incorporation in 2017. I think we can expect new industrial designs in biometric sensors. Under-glass sensing with cool LED illuminations are probably just a few design cycles away from mobile phones and other devices.

I also think that sensors will get stronger against fake fingerprint attacks. Anyone can do an internet search and find step by step guides using simple household compounds like glue and a laser printer to made molds and impressions that work almost 100% of the time on current capacitive sensors.

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