IPOs, deployments and analysis aligned: face biometrics growth is exploding
Face biometrics were the top theme of the week on Biometric Update, with implementations for remote customer onboarding, identity verification, airport processes and digital health passes, plus a strong IPO for Clear and machinations for another by Onfido. Moves by governments, meanwhile, to issue biometric passports and use biometrics for immigration status, voter and SIM registration also prompted widely-read articles.
Top biometrics news of the week
Cameroon’s biometric passports have reached production, sparking renewed interest in a recent story on the project, and making it one of the most-read of the week on Biometric Update. Augentic has been contracted to provide timely passport issuance, reducing a process previously prone to excessive delay to as little as 48 hours.
Efforts to regulate artificial intelligence appear to have begun in earnest, which could create an opportunity for innovators, including third-party service providers, to deliver the protections legislators are demanding in the EU, and to some extent the U.S., writes Innovatrics Founder and CEO Ján Lunter in a Biometric Update guest post.
Investment money is rolling into the remote onboarding market, in what Acuity Principal Maxine Most calls the “tornado phase,” which is characterized by an acceleration in demand, as well as increased funding. Onfido has turned its focus to New York for a prospective IPO, it appears based on an accounting standards decision, while Ipsidy is planning to uplist to the Nasdaq to raise up to $24 million. Meanwhile, Belgian digital ID app itsme announced €24.7 million funding round, and IDnow has acquired Ariadnext in a €50M deal.
Supporting the forecast of rapidly increasing demand, an Onfido executive says selfie biometrics are a top authentication choice for younger adults, while Innov8tif and Fourthline data shows persistent fraud issues related to ID documents. Addressing that demand, Yoti added a new customer and BeyondMinds became ISO 27001-certified.
Signicat has launched the Trusted Connections brand to reflect its evolution into a global provider of a comprehensive suite of digital identity solutions for businesses. As the company notes in a blog post, it has come a long way from its founding in 2007 to provide digital signature technology to Nordic financial services.
In the runup to the deadline for EU citizens residing in Britain to resolve their settlement status, numerous failures of the UK’s EU Exit: ID Document Check app were reported, prompting panic and confusion among applicants attempting to submit their biometric ID document scan and selfie for facial authentication. Repeated failures resulted in applicants being blocked for 24-hours. Many other applicants reported no problem at all, and 6 million applications were received in total, with more than half a million applications pending at the deadline.
The deadline for biometric registration of mobile phone accounts in Bangladesh was also this week, and a three-month grace period before unregistered SIMs are deactivated has commenced. The database, which includes biometric, SIM and device data, was implemented by Bangladeshi company Synesis IT.
Biometric voter enrollment has resumed in Nigeria, now with an online portal to ease remote registration. Nearly 2,700 registration centers have been opened to capture the biometrics of previously unenrolled people over 18 years of age and to provide service to those who need to replace their voter cards ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Clear raised just above $400 million in its IPO this week, pricing above its expected range at $31 per share and then starting trading 24 percent higher still. The stock closed the week above $47, up over 50 percent in its first three days of trading. CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker sees air travel eventually becoming the biometric access control provider’s smallest vertical, with strong potential in office and healthcare deployments.
Isorg has raised €16 million (roughly US$19 million) in a Series C funding round. The company plans to open a new location in Asia in the months ahead, and file for FBI certification of its FAP20 and FAP60 fingerprint biometric modules for security applications.
Moss Corporation CEO Paul Moss interviews StoneLock GM and VP of Global Sales Yanik Brunet for Thrive Global about the company’s roots in privacy-first facial biometric software, and the role he has played in its development. The discussion goes into some depth on the characteristics startups and entrepreneurs need to succeed.
Ex-Simprints COO Sebastian Manhart tells the Aid, Evolved podcast that the lack of accurate identity data caused an accountability problem in global development, which led the company to turn to biometrics as the best available tool to solve it. Manhart says the marketing materials of Western biometrics companies were not worth much in many developing-world contexts when Simprints was starting out.
Robust growth in airport biometrics continues however, as automated gates with Idemia face biometrics have been installed for international flights at LAX, with more on the way. United and SITA joined Future Travel Experience’s online event to discuss the successes and future plans of SFO’s curb-to-gate biometric system, and CBP has warned that airport traffic is recovering, advising U.S. travelers to download its app.
The latest round of digital health passes includes an implementation of the EU DCC for Belgium by Zetes, Air Canada adding a health status-sharing capability to its airline app in partnership with Amadeus, and Vietnam launching a trial of its credential. Emirates has began expanding its use of the IATA Travel Pass, and Yoti shared details of its work on proof of testing for Virgin Atlantic flight crews, while India is in negotiations.
In a fascinating, though at times highly technical two-day workshop, the EAB explored the evolution of the NFIQ biometrics assessment tool, the differences between versions 1, 2, and 2.1, and how effective it is for assessing touchless and synthetic fingerprint data. In addition to NIST, ATHENE, PLUS, euLISA and the German Federal Police, experts from HID Global, Veridium, Shanit, Thales and Secunet gave presentations and joined panel discussions.
People and organizations should be cautious in their adoption of biometrics, Hal Granoff, Callsign’s head of U.S. Market Development writes in a guest post, lest they be kept out of their systems by false negative matches, bias, or friction, or compromise security and privacy. A behavioral biometrics layer can address all of these concerns, Granoff argues, and as understanding of the technology increases, he says, so will people’s comfort with using it.
As the technology is adopted for a broader range of applications, biometrics are trending away from dependence on a particular device, BIO-key CTO Mira LaCous tells Security Magazine. LaCous talks about the benefit of behavioral biometrics being able to provide assurance that a person is who they say they are, without providing information that would allow that person to be identified.
This is an area Citi Ventures is particularly interested in, as Managing Director Matt Carbonara tells Biometric Update in an interview, as it seeks to support innovation in its own operations and earn a return on investment. BioCatch is in Citi’s portfolio, and more biometrics investments, particularly to help preserve data privacy, could be among the roughly 15 investments Carbonara’s group expects to make this year.
Zenus CEO Panos Moutafis and academics Sachin Gupta and Matthew J. Schneider makes the case for keeping sensitive data at the network edge, rather than in the cloud, for Harvard Business Review. The researchers explain the concept, and how data architecture based on principles of data limitation, aggregation and alteration can partially address concerns about privacy.
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