Contactless biometrics market to see significant growth: ABI Research
The covid-19 outbreak has brought biometrics to broader use and public attention for early detection, patient screening, and public safety monitoring, and will impact different markets and verticals in the long term, according to a new report from ABI Research.
The “Taking stock of covid-19” report examines a slowdown in the shift of network architecture towards edge processing and 5G rollout, applications of AI to fight the outbreak, and in a section on digital security, the consultancy describes “a big moment for biometrics.” That moment may be encouraged by an uptick in ecommerce transactions, but the effects of the pandemic are expected to be widespread in the biometrics industry.
Biometrics are being rapidly adopted by key markets for surveillance, border control, law enforcement, healthcare, and biotechnology inside China, with facial recognition systems adapted to detect individuals not wearing facemasks, the report notes. The push to identify partially concealed faces is taking “biometric AI and ML algorithms to the next evolutionary step,” and fever detection technology is being deployed through equipment such as handheld or body-worn biometric devices, and on a large scale through CCTV networks.
In the short term, face and iris modalities are likely to continue expanding, but applications using fingerprint and vein recognition are being used less, and the report notes the Indian government’s action to limit biometric identification during the outbreak.
In the longer term, ABI predicts that contact forms of biometrics are likely to suffer in areas like enterprise, healthcare, border control, and other workforce management and access control applications. Governments will prioritize face and iris technologies, despite many law enforcement, border control, and other systems relying on Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFISs). Investment is expected to increase in facial biometrics, iris recognition, related technologies like fever detection, and analytics for behavioral patterns and emotional or psychological state.
The report concludes that average selling prices for contact-only systems will decrease, while investment in contactless modalities increases, among other broad market changes.
“ABI Research predicts that COVID-19 will also cause another chain reaction on the data protection front, putting additional pressure on citizen rights and related legislation, circumventing a good deal of privacy concerns for the sake of additional surveillance and monitoring operations,” the report authors write. “It falls on the governments and biometric vendors to create citizen-centric solutions, and adding the necessary restrictions.”
This is the only way for biometric technology to be leveraged for virus containment which preventing the accumulation of PII and biometric data in the hands of a small number of entities without limitations on their actions.
“This is not an organic transition, but rather a forced evolution for the biometrics market (emphasis in original), and one that is very likely to yield quite volatile results over time, while shifting global priorities.”