Biometrics companies innovating for a range of use cases amid solid financial conditions

Biometrics companies innovating for a range of use cases amid solid financial conditions

Growth prospects for biometrics companies and optimism for the potential of new technologies are the themes of the week’s top biometric news. Fingerprint Cards may have the next advance in in-display smartphone fingerprint sensors, while Idex Biometrics is shipping its key system for biometric payment cards, and Keyless has announced a successful seed funding round to back its passwordless authentication app. Financial results for the second quarter are rosy compared to most industries, and a digital health credential has been declared “good ID.” Even governments still appear to be spending on identity technology.

A new kind of fingerprint system may soon be in development, as a patent filing by Fingerprint Cards to protect its invention of a lower-cost ultrasonic fingerprint sensor system has been published in the U.S. The company filed the original patent, which describes the idea’s use for in-display smartphone biometrics, last year in Sweden.

Financial IT interviews Fingerprint Cards SVP and Head of Business Line for Payment and Access Michel Roig about the role of biometrics in the “new normal,” the push towards mass adoption of biometric payment cards, and the proliferation of devices which need to be secured.

The TrustedBio biometric-system-on-chip from Idex Biometrics has reached shipments in the run-up to the mass market launch of biometric payment cards. The market could reach $2 billion for Idex within three years, according to an investor presentation by company executives.

Research and present trends indicate cash is going away, but digital payments require biometric technology to provide the necessary security, LoginRadius Co-founder and CTO Deepak Gupta writes in a guest post this week. Consumer and regulator sentiment is now aligning with the industry in this area, he argues.

A $2.2 million funding round announced by startup Keyless for its use of multi-party computation in biometric authentication was also among the top stories of the week on Biometric Update. The company plans to launch its Keyless Authenticator app soon to support remote working with passwordless technology that prevents phishing.

The consultation phase in a biometric national digital ID contract process for the Malaysian government has closed. A separate contract for biometric border control technology is expected to be announced by the government in the third quarter to replace a cancelled $828 million deal.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has completed a pilot for a pre-registration process as it prepares to register citizens for its biometric national ID. A pair of partnerships for digital ID were also launched in the country’s private sector, one with Mastercard and one with Element.

EU agencies will soon test biometric border processes for its entry-exit system at land borders, as they attempt to meet both security and frictionless travel experience objectives. The Idemia-Sopra Steria system will be tested for its ease of integration with national systems.

The UK government is planning a new document checking service like that used in Gov.uk Verify to assist with online application processes and access to government services. New Zealand’s government is working on a Digital Identity Trust Framework, and a ForgeRock director believes the government in Australia should take its time to make sure it gets it myGovID system right.

Governments, the aviation industry and businesses are taking action to transition air travel towards fast, contactless processes with no long lineups or chokepoints with digital identity and biometrics. The TSA is planning a digital ID app, touchless temperature scanning is going live at airports in Hawaii and Canada, while an airport in China has launched a facial recognition system in line with One ID.

The first digital health credential has been approved by ID2020 as “good ID,” with BLOK Bioscience’s self-sovereign identity-focused immunity passport reaching certification. The seal of approval is based on conformance to 41 technical requirements, and could help garner support for the tool, the very concept of which remains somewhat controversial.

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Vaccine Issue discusses the potential role of biometrics in establishing trust in immunity status as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic with Simprints Co-founder Toby Norman and IRespond CEO Scott Reid, as well as representatives from organizations like European Digital Rights and Médecins Sans Frontières. The key takeaway is that there are data security and privacy challenges still to be met.

The latest round of financial results was mixed, but generally provided justification of the strategies of each of Zwipe, Idex Biometrics, Fingerprint Cards, Ping Identity, Synaptics, Intellicheck, or at least a reason to anticipate revenue growth in the future. Whether Hytera’s U.S. business will survive, meanwhile, seems to hinge on the related question of whether Motorola will collect its damages in an intellectual property theft suit.

An innovative approach to voice biometrics has Omilia well positioned to take market share in the contact center market, CEO Dimitris Vassos tells Biometric Update in an interview fresh off the company’s $20 million funding round. The resulting differentiator is passive biometrics that work from just a few seconds of speech on the IVR side of the process, and continue running during interactions with an agent.

Even amid the pushback on the use of facial recognition in surveillance technologies, the biometric modality has a key role to play in the smart cities of the future, according to an article in Smart Cities World. Interviews with leaders from Digital Barriers, Capgemini, NtechLab and Forrester suggest increasing use in applications like contactless access control shows facial recognition will be accepted, but a Planet Smart City executive says smart cities could function without it. The experience of Alphabet in Toronto, where its Sidewalk Labs subsidiary has been abandoned due to economic, and possibly political infeasibility, is explored by OneZero. A small number of people, from an open government advocate to former Blackberry co-CEO Jim Balsillie were gradually joined by other opponents of the project as details emerged and data privacy and security fears grew.

The fall-out from Reuters expose on Rite-Aid’s use of facial recognition is examined by SC Magazine, which notes the need for companies to carefully consider how to implement the biometric technology to avoid the ire of regulators as they catch up to the present situation.

Do facial recognition systems work with masked faces, or not? CNN tries to answer the question by talking to Trueface CEO Shaun Moore, Tech5 Co-founder Rahul Parthe, Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology Researcher Claire Garvie, and a pair of experts from academia. The answer, of course, is that it depends.

Phonexia has joined the Biometrics Institute, joining more than 240 other organizations worldwide, the company announced in a blog post, to participate in the independent and impartial international forum for the ethical use of biometrics.

If you would like to share an article, opinion, or conversation with the biometrics industry and broader digital identity community, please let us know in the comments below of through social media.

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