Mobile Biometric Market Analysis

Market Analysis Brief

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Biometrics Comes Face-To-Face With Its Fiercest Challenge: Silicon Valley
On September 11, 2001 the world changed and Washington DC became the center of gravity for identity technology. Silicon Valley companies that had never bothered with DC area offices flocked to the US Capital. They eagerly offered their hi-tech expertise in exchange for highly lucrative contracts in the post 9/11 identity investment frenzy.

Twelve years later - nearly to the day, on September 10, 2013, the identity world changed again. The center of gravity picked itself up and relocated to Cupertino California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. With the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Apple, the iconic human factors company that made WYSIWYG a word, reconceived the mobile phone experience, and made tablet computing cool, gave the identity marketplace and the biometrics industry in particular, a big, wet kiss.

Silicon Valley is now poised to make a run on the commercial side of the biometrics market where convenience, authentication to a personal device, and a “frictionless” user experience trump security. The “Market Makers” of Silicon Valley are descending on the biometrics business with a relentless focus on massive consumer adoption and convenience driven human factors investments. This market attack will be fast, bold, and take the biometrics industry by storm. Companies that have struggled for years serving security-based government identity needs (military, police, and civil), longing for day the commercial market would “take off”, now risk rapid displacement.

Trendsetter Apple has introduced frictionless security, albeit an initially low level of security, via the iPhone 5S’s integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Users can unlock their phones and confirm iTunes purchases with a simple touch of their finger. Dismissed as “toy” security on the one hand and a “dangerous” foray into privacy invasive and irrevocable authentication on the other, Apple’s iPhone 5S nevenrthelesss, permanently raises the bar for mobile phones while breaking down seemingly impenetrable barriers for biometrics.

What can existing biometrics players do? Identify their location on the Mobile Biometrics Market Landscape and the Mobile Biometrics Application maps (see pages 10 and 11), determine their position on the consumer, commercial, government continuum, and focus on how they can provide differentiable advantage in high volume commercial/consumer markets.

Then seek out key Silicon Valley (and other technology leadership players), preferably through close “insider contacts”, that currently are, or should be, operating in this arena. Understand their business strategy, objectives, culture, and customers, and present a biometrically enabled solution that offers them a significant differentiable advantage. An advantage that would take them at least 2 years and $500 million to develop themselves.

Now, more than ever, it is time for biometrics players to lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way!

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For more of Acuity's latest Mobile Biometric Analyses see the The ABC's of Mobility: Apple, Biometrics, and the promise of Consumer-Centric privacy and the Mobile Biometric Landscape.

You can also find detailed analysis of the consumer market for mobile biometrics in The Global Biometrics and Mobility Report: The Convergence of Commerce and Privacy.