Biometric passports, vetting and mobile ID contracts back new high market forecast
Big-dollar digital ID contracts and biometrics market potential loom large in the week’s industry news, with a spotlight on Augentic’s passport project in Cameroon, InCadence picking up a major government contract in the U.S., and Estonia launching a mobile identification tender.
Idex Biometrics has launched technology it expects to deploy for mass adoption of biometric payment cards, selfie biometrics and remote identity verification from Trulioo and Yoti are being implemented by new partners outside of traditional fintech, all of which goes partway to explaining a new high forecast for the biometrics market’s worth by 2027.
Top biometrics news of the week
The newest version of the TrustedBio biometric-system-on-chip from Idex Biometrics speeds up biometric payment card processing to three times the speeds other processors in the market achieve, the company says. A biometric vector accelerator works as a coprocessor, contributing to the performance, and the TrustBio Max also features a large sensor surface area, efficient energy harvesting and support for lower-cost secure elements.
NADRA boss Tariq Malik has axed dozens of officials from the agency for participating in digital ID fraud, and Pakistan will verify CNICs to root out further cases, in a process which may involve biometrics. The United Arab Emirates is rolling out a new version of its digital ID card with advanced security features, Barbados is about to launch its cards, and Romania has launched its pilot, with nation-wide issuance expected in a year and a half.
An exclusive interview with Augentic CEO Labinot Carreti on the company’s efforts to speed up Cameroon’s biometric passport issuance reveals that bringing the project to issuance less than a year after the contract was signed and amid the pandemic is a testament to the motivated assistance provided by the country’s institutions. It also puts a number to the company’s investment in Cameroon digital ID infrastructure: $61 million.
The often under-appreciated accomplishment of modern biometric passports is the delivery of trust and a high level of identity assurance without compromising the privacy of the bearer, Thales Head of Business Development and Strategic Marketing Neville Pattinson writes in a Biometric Update guest post. Digital travel credentials are being developed to deliver the same benefits with further conveniences like advance check-ins.
Estonia has begun the process of issuing a new contract for mobile identification, which may involve the system moving to a biometrics basis instead of relying on a SIM. The current system has 225,000 users, and the new one is expected to reach operation in under a year.
The latest declaration on inclusive digital identity by G20 ministers goes little further than acknowledging that it is important, and needs work. Digital ID increased in importance during the pandemic for access to government services, but must not be the only way to engage with them. A learning phase will continue.
InCadence has won a contract worth almost $47 million from the U.S. Department of State for technology used in screening job applicants against biometric databases and watchlists. The 10-year deal will see the Ares Mobile Biometric System deployed to U.S. embassies for use by Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents.
Callsign Commercial Director for APAC Frank Tan believes behavioral biometrics could play a major role in stemming the tide of online fraud in Asia, as he writes in a guest post. High smartphone use in the region presents a ready opportunity for fraudsters, but also for behavior signals to upgrade authentication security.
Companies outside of traditional retail banking and financial services are adopting remote biometrics and identity verification, including a trio of wealth management firms contracting Trulioo, and a pilot for property sales in the UK. Canada’s governing political party used selfie biometrics in its nominations process, prompting a privacy watchdog investigation, while Yoti is contributing its ID verification technologies to an initiative to fight illegal wildlife-trafficking.
Identity may not be the best basis for online interactions, digital financial services advisor and analyst David Birch suggests. Zero knowledge proofs, verifiable credentials and strong authentication give society the tools to build credentials that verify entitlement, while preserving enough anonymity to protect everyone from the bearer to national security, Birch writes.
A vending machine has been unveiled that integrates with an app using biometric selfies for age verification against an identity document has been developed by Civic Technologies. No data is received or stored by the machine itself except the yes or no answer on age eligibility.
The global market for biometrics is forecast to reach $99 billion by 2027 in the latest Emergen Research report, with IoT applications and consumer products like passports and smartphones presenting major opportunities. The estimated figure is notable particularly because it comes in significantly higher than previous forecasts for the market’s future size, which have ranged from $44 billion in 2026 to $82 billion in 2027.
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