It has been a while since
the the last edition of
the eUpdate. I hope
you will forgive the lapse.
The good news is that demand for Acuity's services has increased geometrically
- a trend reflecting increased demand across the
identification solutions market.
(I also became a mother at the end of 2005, which has increased
demand for my personal services as well! ). The not so good news,
publication of the eUpdate
With a bit of breathing room and improved resource allocation,
I can now bring my attention back to sharing some of Acuity's
experience, observations, analysis and crystal ball gazing with you.
Acuity is not alone in experiencing increased market demand.
Security/terrorism driven border management and control
continues to drive business especially in the EU,
ATM and mobile phone based financial transactions
continue to gain traction in Asia, and
enterprise physical and logical access markets are
materializing in the US (and not just in the minds of
hopeful vendors and wishful pundits).
The nature of the business is also changing. End users are
more sophisticated, industry requirements more specific, and
vendors are finally making the move towards
problem solving rather than technology touting.
Believe it or not, though I would never go so far as to say
it is the year for biometrics ( bad flashbacks anyone?), this market is finally showing
maturity and with it genuine pro-active market development. Acuity is
confident that 2007 will bring about the entry of new,
more sophisticated market players, significant advancements in key technologies,
and a sense of competence, tempered with humility, in regards to what biometrics can and cannot do.
...Now if we can just get past those niggling large government ID programs that
seem to be in a perpetual state of almost happening: Registered Traveler, TWIC,
UK National ID, Real ID ...
As always, your feedback is welcome.
And please feel free to forward your copy of the eUpdate
to colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.
Finally, we moved recently so please note out new mailing address:
Acuity Market Intelligence
540 W. Linden St
Louisville, CO 80027 USA
C. Maxine Most
*For more in-depth analysis and strategic market development
expertise, Acuity provides highly targeted custom
research and consulting services and
also publishes comprehensive biometric and identification solutions
market reports and forecasts.
C. Maxine Most
Acuity Market Intelligence
Acuity Market Intelligence | 640 W Linden St | Louisville, C0 80027| USA
+1 303 449 1897     www.acuity-mi.com.com
Industry Consolidation ... Finally
This past year was a harbinger of things to come in terms
of ongoing biometrics market development. Two presumed market leaders emerged.
L-1 inhales competitors at an unprecedented rate.
L-1's 2005 $100M investment in Viisage has spawned a new breed of
A multi-biometric company claiming solutions status spanning
core technology, secure credentialing, document authentication,
and fingerprint and government consulting services.
In a matter of months,
L-1 has incorporated key industry players including Identix, Iridian,
SecuriMetrics, and Integrated Biometric Technology.
Regardless of L-1's success in capitalizing on this aggressive market play,
the company's level of commitment (i.e. investment)
and rapid acquisition strategy
has brought a new level of credibility to the marketplace and
bodes well for all.
Pay-by-Touch steam rolling into POS market
With "transaction processing" written all over their trailblazing,
Pay-By-Touch seems determined to become
the defacto choice for retail operations wanting to take the biometrics
plunge. They have built a substantial consumer base (3M+ enrolled and counting)
by improving consumer convenience and reducing retail transaction fees.
They too have been on 2006 buying spree that began with closing the deal to acquire
their main perceived competition - BioPay. Two additional
acquisitions - the purchase of S&H Solutions and
1,000 merchant accounts from Camelot Systems - helped solidify their
position as "leading biometric authentication network for loyalty and
payments, and the only company that integrates biometric
authentication, payments, personalized marketing, and payment
processing". With a $265 M warchest, there is no question
they will continue to scoop up
any industry player ( biometric or not) that poses a
threat or has promising
complementary technology or services.
Ingram Goes POS With Biometrics
Ingram Micro, the world's largest technology
distributor is now in the retail POS and data capture equipment
game. Just to get a sense of how big
these guys are, Ingram offers "solutions and services to nearly
165,000 resellers by distributing and marketing hundreds of
thousands of IT products worldwide from nearly 1,400 suppliers".
As part of a new market expansion strategy, they have established
a new division dedicated to the retail sector and will be providing
everything form barcode scanners, receipt printers and scales
to Automated ID and Data Capture (AIDC) products including RFID,
smart cards and biometrics.
While it is doubtful the industry will experience a sudden onslaught of
POS based biometric sales - though Pay-by-Touch is certainly working hard to make
this happen - long term prospects are greatly enhanced by this move.
Ingram has not only tacitly endorsed POS based biometrics but has also created
a mammoth global distribution channel. Something biometrics
is in great need of for every industry and application area.
The UK versus the National ID
The action is non-stop in the UK National
ID debate. Score to date: UK -3: National ID -0. But seriously, it must seem to many watching this
so called "debate" that the chances this program will
materialize anytime in the near future are fading fast.
This is yet another example of legislators getting ahead of
themselves before fully understanding the issue and implications
of creating a large-scale civilian ID program.
Not to single out the UK in this matter ... just look at the US-VISIT exit program.
It was quite clear from inception that US-VISIT exit would
require significant infrastructure investment (e.g. road construction at the
Canadian and Mexican borders), yet somehow the US Congress now
seems shocked that that the exit part of the program has
been put on permanent hold by the DHS because "the technology
is not ready".
The bottom line is that there was never a reality based plan or
adequate resources allocated to solve the problem. True, there
are technology issues
but they pale in comparison to the logistical and operational ones.
And as for the UK, it is more than likely that
when the political smoke has cleared, he UK National ID
will suffer a similar fate. The complexity and expense -
not to mention the public dissent- is bound to lead to indefinite postponement.
Real ID Reality Check
Let's all move to Maine. All least in this State
the elected officials
have the smarts to take a hard look at the realities of the Real ID Act.
In a near unanimous vote on a non-binding resolution
(a popular move in the US these days),
Maine's Senate and House of Representatives approved a
joint resolution urging President Bush and the Congress to repeal the
Real ID Act of 2005. It simply states
"the Maine Legislature refuses to implement the Real ID Act of 2005."
The sound bite form Maine Senate Majority Leader Libby Mitchell
says it all: “The federal government may be willing to burden us
with the high costs of a program that will do nothing to make us
safer, but it is our job as state legislators to protect the people
of Maine from just this sort of dangerous federal mandate.”
A quick visit to Senator Mitchell
provides the full text of the resolution
which is impressive in it's brevity and cogent assessment of the issues.
Maine is not alone. Georgia, Wyoming,
Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state
are expected to pass laws or adopt resolutions
declining to participate while
Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri,
New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming already have
active legislation against Real ID.
(eUpdate readers may recall that in June 2005 Acuity published the following:
"The only good news is that this unfunded federal mandated is
likely to face such strong opposition from States struggling
with sky rocketing Medicare costs, onerous (and expensive)
federal education testing requirements and significantly
lower tax bases due to federal income tax cuts, it will die
a painful death long before it has the opportunity to become
a total debacle." )
Will PIV go the way of TWIC & Registered Traveler?
Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong
in Dodge? Once again, please excuse the American colloquialism
but if I am not mistaken it has been more than 5 years since
9/11 and we are just beginning to see stirrings in the
much-lauded TWIC and Registered Traveler programs.
The US DHS just issued a $70M contract to Lockheed to
produce ~800 thousand cards without specific plans for
readers and a fair bit of scuttlebutt from unnamed
sources close to the project that the price quote is so
low as to be suspect and the cards are unreliable.
Registered Traveler now appears to be firmly in the
hands of the commercial sector, which is not an issue
unto itself but certainly raised concerns about the priorities,
and/or competence of the TSA under the DHS.
So now enter PIV. How much faith should we have that this
program to create uniform standards for US government IDs
will genuinely come to fruition and not fizzle out as did
it's ambitious predecessor programs? The track record to
date is not so good. Yes, some benchmarks have been met
but only by the most generous standards. And after a year
of inter and intra agency chaos, OMB FINALLY
moved beyond the rhetoric of political appointees and
listened to the civil servants who said there had to be a
single agency solving the problem and managing the project.
There are some very smart folks working on this project and
they have managed to produce enough cards by the deadline -
even if the DoD's Mike Butler (on loan to GSA for the project)
had to spend the night in a Philadelphia parking lot and drive
the first batch to DC the next morning.
This is a true story. According to
Government Computer News, Mike Butler, chairman of the Government Smart Card
Interagency Advisory Board, master of the DoD's CAC
program and on loan from DOD to GSA, drove to Philadelphia
Thursday afternoon to bring the cards back to Washington.
The cards were not ready when he arrived and because
the manufacturing plant didn't have enough notice
(24 hours is the requirement), he was not allowed inside the building.
So, Butler spent the night waiting in his car in the
parking lot. At
6:30 a.m. the following morning, Butler received 30 cards and
hit the road, arriving in DC just in time for
The bottom line: A Legislative or Executive mandate is one thing,
figuring our how to define, design and implement
large scale ID programs is quite another.
80 Million Iris's Enrolled in India
According to the folks at LGE Iris, the State of
in Andhra Pradesh in India has successfully enrolled 80 Million
individuals in a government program designed to control
and manage the distribution of state-issued food ration cards.
This is the first truly large scale biometric deployment intended for 1:n
searches where use of "n" accurately describes the size of the database.
Now that the enrollment phase is complete, it will be interesting
to see how quickly and with how few gotchas this
system can be made 100% operational. This application certainly has the
potential to change the discussion from "possibility" to "practicality"
in regards to deploying interactive biometrics for populations of
tens of millions.
Thinking Like a Market Development Guru ...
From the Gurus of emerging technology market development -
The Chasm Group - a recent edition of Philip Lay's Under the Buzz
email "viewsletter" discusses short, mid and long-term planning with
an emphasis on what he calls "Horizon 2" planning.
Acuity refers to this as the market development path
from short-term priorities to long-term vision which requires
a clear strategic map for transitioning from initial market entry
points to expanded market presence.
Though Lay is the managing director of TCG Advisors - a Chasm Group
practice focused on
restructuring enterprises for emerging market opportunities -
this piece is well worth the read for anyone interested in technology
based market development.
Under the Buzz is published periodically and you can review
this edition and all previous issues and subscribe for free on the
22, 23 May 2007, London UK
This innovative new conference and exhibition will have a heavy focus on ePassports, national identity cards, and driving licenses. It tracks the continuing fusion of traditional security documents with digital technology, such as smart card chips and biometrics – and takes an in-depth look at issues such as document vulnerabilities and the handling of imminent challenges.
Contact: Mark Lockie at Science Media Partners
+44 2920 560458
For custom research, analysis or strategic market
development consulting, visit Acuity Market
Intelligence or call +1 303 449 1897
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