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FaceTec liveness and biometrics drive 320 percent revenue growth, onboard 15M a month

Exec argues for security beyond NIST mandate

selfie biometric authentication

Revenues for FaceTec grew by a spectacular 321 percent on a year-over-year basis in its first quarter of fiscal 2021, driven by dramatic increases in the use of its biometric liveness detection and onboarding technologies.

FaceTec says it conducted more than 1.2 million liveness sessions per day during April, serving more than 65 global channel partners and onboarding more than 15 million new users a month. Over its seven years, the company has served more than 175 million different users.

The growth in usage led to major year-over-year improvements across all aspects of FaceTec’s business, including growing margins compared to Q1 2020, when the company achieved profitability.

“Staying ahead of bad actors requires more than just theoretical defenses; we must put our security methods to the test in the real world,” states FaceTec CEO Kevin Alan Tussy. “We take direct responsibility for how our AI performs in our customers’ production applications, and have since we first deployed our 3D Face Verification Platform. Our hyper-focus on solving the problems in remote digital identity has not only produced the most secure and easy-to-use face verification available, but 18 months ago we pioneered what is still the only public biometric Spoof Bounty Program in the world. With more than 52,000 rebuffed attacks, the program has provided us with invaluable information, making our solution’s security second to none.”

Tussy also says FaceTec provides the highest level of liveness detection available, and can match face biometrics 600 percent more accurately than any 2D system. The technology’s accuracy and usability have improved significantly over the past year, and customers now get a comprehensive dashboard, free 2D passive liveness checks, 1:N de-duplication, anonymous age checks, and enhanced session analysis among new features.

FaceTec biometrics are used to secure accounts and access for banking and finance, border control, online dating, cryptocurrency, e-voting, e-commerce, national IDs, mobile driver licenses, and social networks.

“We are, of course, thrilled to experience this level of growth in our business, but we are also witnessing increased reliance on our software in mission-critical applications. Governments, large financial institutions, multinational corporations with very large user bases – and a lot at stake – are embracing our advanced 3D FaceScan AI,” says FaceTec SVP of North American Operations Jay Meier. “We’ll be making numerous customer announcements over the coming months that will literally change the way remote Identity Verification is done for entire populations. FaceTec has solved the user-authentication problems that have plagued the biometrics industry for decades. As a subject matter expert who has been analyzing biometrics vendors for over 25 years, it’s exciting to watch the Digital Identity landscape change right before our eyes as FaceTec powers security for more and more of the mobile ecosystems that we all rely on.”

The company’s version 9.1 release is one of the most important to date, according to the announcement, with an 800 percent improvement in Liveness algorithm performance and a faster, more intuitive user experience.

Differentiation within digital identity space

Meier also recently participated in a webinar hosted by Peter Kirkwood of K6 Strategy Consulting on how companies in the digital identity space differentiate themselves from the competition.

Along with FaceTec, representatives from Invixium and Kuma spoke about their approaches to differentiating their companies in a market where, as Kirkwood points out, many similar claims are made by competitors.

Kirkwood asked if differentiation is strong enough in digital identity, with participants suggesting focuses on features and price have created a noisy marketplace, with technology providers not doing enough to solve their customer’s problems. Solutions aggregating the intellectual property of others are not adding real value for customers, Meier points out.

Customers often do not exactly understand the nature of the problems they are facing.

“The devil in the details” and the nuances of a given technology determine its effectiveness, Meier says, but many companies are too invested in legacy technologies to make needed changes.

Kirkwood asks how meaningful the barrage of claims to highest accuracy are, and Kuma’s Mark DiFraia notes that outside of heavily-regulated verticals and federal government requirements, usability is the key factor.

Understanding is also a problem, however, for customers, and maybe even vendors.

“What’s the difference between a biometrics salesman and a used-car salesman? The used-car salesman knows what wrong with the car,” Meier quips.

The lack of a better solution is why the password persists, he says.

The trustworthiness of claims made by companies was discussed, along with the balance between security and low friction user experiences.

Kirkwood also warned that an industry full of companies pursuing the same benchmarks, like NIST’s FRVT, and standards, like NIST’s SP 800-63-3, is not differentiating. Meier said NIST is late responding to threats in the wild due to the limitations of its mandate, and should not be considered the benchmark for current customer needs anyway.

Thinking in terms of customer goals, which are more about winning more business with a lower cost of acquisition than they are about digital identity as such, was agreed on as the way to differentiate your company within the identity space. Orchestration of authentication tools may be the way to enable that connection between the technology and goals of businesses buying or licensing it.

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