Biometrics poised to enjoy explosive growth

Biometric security technology is rapidly moving into mainstream markets for network security and mobile commerce, according to newly unveiled research.

Three technologies in particular - fingerprint scanning, iris scanning and face recognition - have recently entered the mainstream due to an increased focus on homeland security, said Erik Michielsen, director of RFID and ubiquitous wireless at ABI Research.

But the field as a whole is hampered by a pervasive lack of uniform standards, an important consideration in a security effort that spans the globe.

"Because of the market opportunities biometrics developers and vendors have been afforded in the last three years, biometrics is now moving to broader markets based on low-cost, high volume deployments," said Michielsen.

The ABI Research study, Biometrics & Identity Management, found that identification and authentication accuracy are critical to identifying threats to national security, public safety, and secure business transactions.

Both silicon-based and software-based technologies will play a role, the report predicts. It pointed out that biometric chips from Authentec for fingerprint scanners are already going into WCDMA mobile phone handsets in Korea (Korea Telecom) and Japan (NTT DoCoMo).

The fingerprint scanning market has experienced over 300 per cent growth in 2004, said Michielsen, and in August Authentec shipped its three millionth fingerprint sensor.

At the network level, Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn OS which includes an updated biometrics suite, will help to drive down costs and spur further innovation in the consumer and corporate markets, the ABI Research study concluded.

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