Biometrics can be an alternative to conventional authentication technologies

The advantages of convenience have to override privacy concerns

The number of global biometrics smartphone users is expected to reach 471.11 million in 2017 from 43.23 million in 2013. During this period, the user base would have transitioned from the early adopter phase to the early maturity phase, giving biometrics technology the opportunity to outstrip existing technologies such as two factor authentication (2FA). By 2019, biometrics will be a mature technology and would have naturally migrated to mobile devices.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Biometrics Go Mobile: A Market Overview, finds that the biometric revenue from smart phones is expected to increase from $53.6 million in 2313 to $396.2 million in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 39.6 percent.

“Due to existing hardware capabilities across devices, most of the growth is expected from facial and voice authentication technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan ICT Global Programme Director Jean-Noël Georges. “While the uptake of biometric technologies will get a boost from the proliferation of new devices with fingerprint authentication capability, their acceptance will be tepid until the market develops more sophisticated and accurate authentication software.”

Biometric technologies need to compete with other easy-to-use identification technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and they also require significant investments in sensors and infrastructure. Moreover, in many countries, especially in Europe, privacy is a sensitive topic. As biometrics provides personal information, individuals are still reluctant to be tracked using such data.

Both Apple and Samsung launched mobile devices with embedded biometric features in 2013. While Apple was a trailblazer, including fingerprint sensors to access the mobile handset, Samsung simply followed the former’s lead by using the same biometric technology instead of adopting more innovations such as iris recognition.

Currently, biometric technologies are not fully designed for massive deployment and individual use. Users’ security confidence is low due to the technology’s non- optimized false acceptance rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR) rates. As there is no standard regarding biometric, mobile manufacturers have been deploying proprietary solutions.

The explosion of social media, mobile commerce and mobile payment globally is driving the need to have a more secure identification to validate digital transactions. Nevertheless, disruptive technologies have greater chances of becoming successes only when they are easy to use. Recent customer experiences have shown that biometric is ideal for new applications such as payments.

“Biometrics solution providers should have a regional strategy in order to specifically adapt the product or service to local privacy rules,” observed Georges. “A respect for global standards, or at least a common set of rules, will have a strong impact on their uptake all over the world.”

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an email to Edyta Grabowska, Corporate Communications, at

Biometrics Go Mobile: A Market Overview is part of the Smart Cards ( Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related studies include : 2014 Global Smart Card Forecaster, World Certificates Markets—A Focus on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), Trusted Service Management, and Government ID and Corporate Access. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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