Biometrics market to double

Biometric technology is certainly not new, but with a market worth $3 billion (1.5 billion) in 2008, it is still comparatively niche compared to the fast growing security IT industry overall.

That's the findings of recent market analysis by ABI Research, which also predicted that renewed interest and investment in an array of biometrics technologies around the world will drive spending to more than double its current rate, totalling $7.3 billion (3.7 billion) by 2013.

"Over the next five years the effort to create standards for biometrics technologies will be rewarded with a significant growth in biometrics system adoption," said Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research.

He said interest in biometrics was kick-started by terror attacks in the early years of this decade, but that this interest has taken time to lead into sales and adoption. In response to electronic border or fraud initiatives, Collins predicted growth will be driven by increased emphasis on security in both the public and private sectors, but will be underpinned by a raft of technology standards that have enabled more interoperable systems to emerge. "Face, iris, hand, and speech recognition systems have emerged and are being adopted independently and alongside fingerprints, which will continue be the dominant biometric measurement for some time to come," said the researcher.

But its study warns that it will, nevertheless, be increasingly essential for organisations and companies to understand the potential of each of these technologies, as well as the potential to combine them to drive system efficiency and reliability, as they look to them to secure their environments, facilities, equipment and data. "There is also an emerging interest in biometrics as means toward greater convenience, simplicity, and speed in the transactions of daily life," he added, citing the fact that biometrics are being offered more often in laptops and mobile phones to secure, but also speed and simplify log-in while "registered traveller" applications are emerging to speed passengers through airports, like the UK's e-Borders' initiative."

"Biometrics will increasingly move from being the traditional preserve of large-scale public sector systems to adoption in small-scale private sector and even personal systems use," said Collins.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.