Clear CEO makes case for share of potentially lucrative biometric digital health credential market
People will get used to widespread health screening. That point was emphasized in an interview of Clear Chairman and CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker by CNBC about the company’s attempt to leverage its biometric identity capabilities to corner the multi billion-dollar digital health credential market.
Clear launched its Health Pass in May to provide a health credential that shares the user’s health status without divulging further personal information by linking health data with a digital ID with facial recognition. The health data is supplied in the app’s initial form by a questionnaire, but the app is architected to accept data from other sources, such as test results, or perhaps in the future vaccination records.
How widely will access be controlled in this way?
“People are accustomed to moving through an airport security check, and that’s the sentiment that many hospitality companies are saying, is that health screening would need to be the sort of thing that people get used to,” IDC Senior Research Analyst for Hospitality and Travel Digital Transformation Strategies Dorothy Creamer told CNBC.
In addition to Clear’s established markets at airports and sports facilities, that means restaurants and hotels, which industries Creamer sees increased demand from.
CNBC notes that IDC has forecast the market for apps and other software supporting business reopening at $4.3 billion.
“Just like screening was forever changed post-9/11, in a post-COVID environment you’re going to see screening and public safety significantly shift, but this time it’s beyond airports,” Seidman-Becker told CNBC in the interview.
“While we started with travel, at our core we’re a biometric secure identity platform,” she added.
The Tony Blair Institute has come out in favor of digital health credential secured with biometrics, but the World Health Organization has warned that the implementation of “immunity passports” could lead to increased risk of virus spread, the direct opposite of its intended effect.
Shortly after Health Pass was announced, a pair of U.S. Senators asked for a response from Clear to a series of questions about data privacy within 30 days, which means a response is expected within the next several days.
Clear has also been named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, placing 39th. The company was number 22 on the same list in 2019. In its write-up, CNBC acknowledges that Clear’s travel facilitation business has been greatly impacted for the worse by the pandemic so far, but goes on to explain Health Pass.