Security concerns drive biometrics acceptance

JUNE 27--Despite being viewed as space-age technology, biometrics is slowly moving into more mass-market uses, according to Cahners In-Stat Group (Scottsdale, AZ; www.instat.com)

JUNE 27--Despite being viewed as space-age technology, biometrics is slowly moving into more mass-market uses, according to Cahners In-Stat Group (Scottsdale, AZ; www.instat.com). The high-tech market-research firm projects that, driven by improvements to the technology, increased concerns about security, and most important, a decrease in price, sales of biometrics will steadily increase to $520 million over the next five years.

"For many, biometrics remains a novelty, something for use only in the most extreme cases of access control," says Marlene Bourne, senior analyst for the In-Stat Emerging Semiconductor Applications Service. However, the scenario is beginning to change. " With the explosion of electronic documentation and e-commerce, security concerns have become paramount," says Bourne. As a result, biometrics will become much more commonplace than many would have ever expected.

Revenues derived from biometrics sales are a combination of hardware and services. Currently, biometrics companies are generating nearly two-thirds of their revenues from services. That ratio is not expected to change appreciably, as services are an important part of most biometrics technologies.

And, despite increased interest in the use of eye scan in ATMs, facial scan will be a very competitive technology for this particular application. From a consumer standpoint, facial scan is viewed as less intrusive; as a result, facial scan will be the preferred technology.

A report issued by Cahners In-Stat Group, "Security Via Biometrics: It's;s in the Genes," takes a look at four key biometrics technologies (eye, face, hand, and finger scan), including how they work, who's using them, and why. Forecasts of the technologies and markets are provided through 2005, as well as brief profiles of some of the major players.

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