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Optimism reigns in biometrics market as post-pandemic agendas take shape

Optimism reigns in biometrics market as post-pandemic agendas take shape

Dramatic revenue growth is forecast for the next five years in biometrics and in digital identity, and the market has been particularly active over the past week in official digital ID documents and credentials.

Ghana is using contactless biometrics for vaccine records and the UK government has unveiled plans for another boost to its digital identity infrastructure. Thales is striking at the biometric payment cards market, and FacePhi, SITA and Collins Aerospace have unveiled wins in the aviation space, while the CEOs of Integrated Biometrics and Incode discussed the future of the identity with Biometric Update.

Top biometrics news of the week

Records are being created for COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Ghana with contactless biometrics through a partnership formed by Simprints, Gavi and Arm. The project is reported to be the first of its kind, and will enable authorities to confirm vaccination, such as for travel credentials, and ensure timely delivery of second doses. Interest in the country’s biometrics deployments also pushed news from last week that the government intends the Ghana Card to function as a biometric passport beyond the ECOWAS region into the top stories of the week on Biometric Update.

Thales says its biometric payment cards are ready to be ordered and rolled out by issuers, citing its 20 ongoing projects in the area, and bringing a testimonial from early adopter BNP Paribas. The card offered by Thales is also the only one fully certified to major EMV payment schemes, the company says.

The UK government is introducing trustmarks for private sector digital identity products and amending the legal status of digital identities in a bid to make them as trusted as passports, and will also hold consultations on how the digital ID should work, and how it should be governed. The announcement coincides with the country’s struggle with how widely to implement digital health passes when a quarter of the population has no traditional ID credentials, but iProov CEO Andrew Bud says COVID has pushed digital ID development forward by three to five years.

Digital identity could be a top driver of biometrics industry growth over the next five years, industry representatives say in a Biometrics Institute survey, which comes just as a new market forecast pegs the biometrics market at the end of that time frame at just over $44 billion. Two-thirds of industry experts told BI that the pandemic has accelerated biometrics adoption, echoing Bud on digital ID, and a majority see a need for tighter regulation in some key areas.

Major investments in the digital identity space, which MarketsandMarkets forecasts will reach $49.5 billion a year in revenues by 2026, continued with AuthenticID raising $100 million to expand its biometric identity proofing into more verticals. While an impressive amount, that is dwarfed by the estimated $14.7 billion value in all-stock acquisition of Five9 by Zoom to build biometric contact center services into its pandemic-boosted platform. Clearview AI closed its own $30 million funding round to grow its law enforcement facial recognition business.

Airports are getting busier in many parts of the world, and biometrics from FacePhi are being adopted by a Latin American airline, from SITA by Rome Airport, and from Collins Aerospace in Japan. Canada’s Border Services Agency tested facial recognition at the country’s busiest airport in 2016, a report has revealed, matching the faces of millions of travellers against a list of people suspected of presenting identity fraud risks, without disclosing it was doing so, meanwhile.

As private digital health passes proliferate with differing degrees of state support around the U.S., and public health passes roll out elsewhere, Yoti’s John Abbot compares the health data challenge in aviation to post-9/11 API implementation, and emphasizes the need for a common standard that does not involve airlines holding any additional personal information about their passengers.

As people return to the skies, and to large public events like big league sports, Sports Illustrated looks at the latest efforts to enforce bans on dangerous and disruptive fans, and by extension a still largely-nascent market opportunity for facial recognition. Trueface CEO Shaun Moore describes the role the biometrics provider plays in such a scenario.

Cognito has launched a service to enable easy integration of biometric identity verification, including document verification and liveness checks. The new Cognito Flow provides a full stack of online verification capabilities, the company says, with no- or low-code implementation.

After growing Integrated Biometrics from a team of five founded in 2008 to a global leader in fingerprint biometrics with 90 employees, CEO Steve Thies is retiring. He shared his thoughts on the people he has met in the industry, the future of identity and the importance of differentiation with Biometric Update in an exit interview.

Incode CEO Ricardo Amper explains the philosophy behind the company, including why its biometric engine was built in-house, and the advantage of its technology for high-security scenarios to Biometric Update in an interview. The company’s background in photography and fully automated approach set it apart from other companies in the space, Amper says.

Please let us know of any content we should share with the biometrics industry and digital ID community in the comments below or through social media.

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