Biometrics industry could lose $2B this year from pandemic, but facial recognition market to grow

Biometrics industry could lose $2B this year from pandemic, but facial recognition market to grow

A new report from ABI Research forecasts a revenue drop of $2 billion this year in the biometric device market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a boost to facial recognition from longer-term investment in new identification and surveillance systems.

“Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Biometrics Market” is a new 10-page report from the market consultancy, suggesting the sale of fingerprint devices will slide by $1.2 billion in 2020.

“Contact biometric technologies like fingerprint and vein have been dealt a substantial blow due to new governmental regulations targeting contact and close-proximity interactions. Fingerprint biometrics vendors are struggling to uphold the new stringent hygiene and infectious control protocols. These regulations have been correctly introduced for the safety of users and personnel, but they have also affected sales in certain verticals,” explains ABI Research Digital Security Analyst Dimitrios Pavlakis.

The total market for biometric devices is still expected to total $28.2 billion in 2020, despite a hit to the government and security market of $1.1 billion.

“On-premises physical access control, user registration, identification, and workforce management systems have been greatly affected in the enterprise and commercial space, but these applications also spread into healthcare, law enforcement, border control, government, civil, and welfare,” Pavlakis adds.

Companies like Gemalto and Idemia have already adapted their offerings to include touchless fingerprint technologies, the analyst notes.

While hygiene concerns are expected to impact contact biometric devices for public use, fingerprint sensor vendors in consumer markets, such as Fingerprint Cards and Goodix, will be affected by slumping smartphone sales.

Pavlakis also acknowledges that biometric AI firms are adapting, with a forced evolution he referred to in a recent webinar creating opportunities in IoT and smart city applications for monitoring infection rates, and new data-sharing initiatives coming out of outbreak mitigation measures.

The report suggests that face and iris recognition are becoming more prominent, and as algorithms are updated to work with or around facial occlusions, the value proposition of these technologies for smart city and surveillance applications has improved. The addition of temperature screening sensors to biometric systems is also seen as a market booster.

Chinese firms like SenseTime, Megvii, Alibaba and Baidu are the primary AI investors in the space, according to the report.

Acuity Market Intelligence Principal Analyst and Chief Strategist Maxine Most called the drop in fingerprint technology demand a month ago. Research and Markets, meanwhile, has identified biometrics among industries seeing more demand during the pandemic.

Analysts explore impact in different industries

A report on “Understanding How BioMetrics(sic) Technologies are Tackling COVID-19” from Privat Lux Limited sees the pandemic creating a massive opportunity for the industry, with governments and international organizations expanding their application of biometrics.

Technologies once deemed intrusive will be deployed to stop reduce COVID-19’s impact, the report says. The 31-page report breaks down the opportunity this opens up by modality, and identifies some key players.

The overall airport operations market will grow at an 11 percent CAGR from $8.5 billion in 2020 to $14.5 billion by 2025, according to a new appraisal by MarketsandMarkets, with biometrics and thermal sensors driving the growth.

“COVID-19 Impact on Airport Operations Market by Technology and Region – Global Forecast to 2025” is a 141-page report showing biometric solutions will have the highest CAGR of any technology type in the market. Facial and voice recognition in particular are expected to be used for passenger identity checks, check-ins, and flight boarding.

Asia-Pacific suffered a 24 percent decline in passenger volume in the first quarter of 2020, according ot the report, but Chinese airports are investing in 5G-powered robots for terminal operations, and the region is expected to be the top market region this year.

The replacement of fingerprint scanners with facial recognition systems will be a major driver of the homeland security market due to the pandemic, a Markets and Markets report claims.

“COVID-19 Impact on Homeland Security Management Market…” anticipates major growth in AI and cybersecurity spending, and suggests disruption to the air travel market could be followed by increased investment in new technologies.

The Asia-Pacific region will have the greatest share of the homeland security management market in 2020, according to the report, in part due to robotics deployments. The report also breaks the market down by technology and end-use, and provides forecasts to 2025.

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