Biometric surveillance system demand will drive global facial recognition market to $12B by 2025

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The global facial recognition market is estimated to surpass $12 billion by 2025, according to a recent report by Adroit Market Research, with growth driven by strong government and private sector demand for biometric surveillance systems and technology such as 2D facial recognition, 3D facial recognition, and facial analytics recognition.

Stationary 3D facial recognition ranked first, accounting for some 60 percent market share in 2019 and expected to keep dominating the marketing throughout the timeframe. Systems equipped with 3D facial recognition can accurately identity a number of different facial expressions and positions, regardless of illumination level. The technology can easily be deployed in a dark environment and can identify a person from different angles, with a high probability to identify from a face up to 90 degrees in profile.

Through to 2025, North America will maintain its dominant position. The number of airports rolling out facial recognition is increasing in the U.S. A prominent example is Orlando International Airport which introduced in 2018 biometric gates for international arrivals and departures.

With large data troves vulnerable to cyberattacks, facial recognition boosts security because it relies on human features instead of passwords, according to the report. Chosen as a preferred method for data security, biometric facial recognition technology has so far been implemented in multiple industries such as construction, manufacturing, healthcare and law enforcement. Facial recognition has been integrated in ATMs in Spain, Tokyo, and Taiwan. Chinese company Alibaba is working with Alipay on opportunities to introduce facial recognition for online purchases.

In the U.S., the FBI, which already has a national database allegedly storing half of the population’s facial features, wants to leverage machine learning to identify suspects through their driving license. Last year, the FBI was criticized by U.S. lawmakers for its image collecting methods for its facial recognition database. Last year, Hong Kong piloted AI vision and prisoner-tracking technologies, while the UK ran a trial of iris and facial biometric screening for prison visitors to boost security and prevent drug smuggling.

The report names the leading companies developing facial recognition solutions, including NEC Corporation, Aware, Ayonix Corporation, Cognitec Systems, Gemalto, Animetrics, Daon, Id3 Technologies, Idemia, Innovatrics, Megvii, Neurotechnology, Nviso Sa, StereoVision Imaging, and TechnoBrain Group.

The market has become quite fragmented since 2018, the report says, due to a high number of global and domestic players, introducing facial recognition-enhanced solutions with digital and automation features. The report also investigates the qualitative aspects of the facial recognition industry, limitations and movement, as well as performs a competitive analysis of emerging players.

High interest in Chinese facial recognition surveillance tech at Intersec 2020

A number of Chinese tech companies were present this year at Intersec 2020 in Dubai where they signed partnerships with companies based in the Middle East due to a high interest in security and surveillance technology in the region, reports Albawaba.

IHS Markit reports Chinese companies account for nearly half of the global facial recognition market. According to Chinese news sources, China and Hong Kong own more than 20 million AI facial recognition-enabled cameras.

China has been repeatedly criticized for its biometric surveillance activity that has breached the human rights of Muslim people in Xinjiang. Activists are concerned China’s technology will become more popular and available for governments. Chinese companies such as ZTE, Huawei, Hikvision, SenseTime and Dahua already export their surveillance tech globally, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia. Dahua, Hikvision and SenseTime were some of the companies associated with the Xinjiang scandal.

Last May the planned deployment of artificial intelligence and facial recognition to a city surveillance network in Dubai raised concerns that the technology was being weaponized against freedom of expression in the name of public safety.

Enthusiasm for surveillance tech growing in India

Indian government agencies are embracing surveillance tools for identity recognition in police and intelligence investigations, and some regions are using data mining tools to monitor social media and ensure law and order, writes the Economic Times.

Similar to the Middle East, the surveillance technology in India is growing at a whopping rate, neglecting concerns voiced by privacy advocates, according to the report.

Some of the leading companies in the Indian market are Videonetics, Innefu Labs, FaceTagr and StaqU, alongside U.S. company Verint Systems and Japan-based NEC.

“We have seen tremendous demand from the government, with 60 percent of our revenue coming from the government,” said Tinku Acharya, MS, Videonetics. “We work with both central and state governments across 136 cities in India. We work with smart cities, law enforcement and with the army through system integrators.”

According to TechSci Research, the facial recognition market in India will register a six-fold growth by 2024, turning into a real competitor for China at $4.3 billion estimated.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is still accepting bids from Indian companies to build a national, centralized facial recognition database with images collected by surveillance cameras, after pushing back the deadline six times.

“Demand is growing from law enforcement agencies. Facial recognition is becoming mainstream in India. Earlier, we were seeing demand only from smart cities, but now police departments across India want surveillance,” said Vijay Gnanadesikan, CEO at Facetagr.

“The demand has shot up. Security has become critical for the nation. Law enforcement agencies are behind criminals in the use of technology,” said Tarun Wig, co-founder at Innefu Labs. “Most countries treat technology companies as an extension of their intelligence arm.”

Under a partnership with the military and law enforcement in different states, Innefu Labs’ tech is used in population surveillance at protests in Delhi.

While the tech is expected to help India’s understaffed and technologically backward police forces, many privacy activists worry that, in the absence of a privacy law, chances of misuse and inaccuracy will be high. Some academics are also concerned about biased data sets that can harm the marginalized and poorer sections of society.

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