My interest in the development of
biometrics became extremely personal this week when several clients
had issues using PayPal to complete a purchase on Acuity's website.
In one instance an Australian (with Oz based credit cards)
attempted to purchase a report from my US based company
while traveling in Canada. Turns out PayPal has implemented a
fraud detection scheme to identify suspect transactions and this one
raised alarm bells.
However, after multiple phone calls to PayPal, my client, and
from my client to PayPal and their credit card issuers, we
determined that it is not possible
to override the security scheme even if
the credit card issuer approves the transaction and the
PayPal to confirm their identity.
So, how much easier
would this be if the
client's identity could be verified
at the time of the transaction
via biometrics? What
would the ROI be considering my time, the client's time,
PayPal's technical support
rep's time, the credit card issuer's customer service
rep's time, the toll free line charges, the complex security algorithm, and so on.
Can you say high point of pain! Can you say I want my biometrics!
I do believe we are edging closer to the day where this kind of hassle
can be remedied by biometrics, and authenticating transactions - whether they be financial or
information based - will provide the largest revenue opportunity for the biometrics industry.
(For more in this perspective, I encourage you to reveiw
Acuity's latest market research effort
The Future of Biometrics.
A teaser for the report is included below as well as a link to
Executive Summary which can be freely accessed online.)
In the meantime, there is much work to be done to demonstrate
how biometrics can be a critical element of solutions that
serve our identity
needs rather than threaten them.
provides commentary on news items and market developments
that shed light on the state of industry progress on this front;
some more encouraging than others. These include Terrorist Toddlers (ok, not really), a recent spate of
industry IPOs, the ongoing TWIC saga, and the fundamental impact of
perceived solutions performance on the overall prospects for
the biometrics industry.
As always, your feedback is welcome.
And please feel free to forward your copy of the eUpdate
to colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.
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
The Future of Biometrics
Biometrics Market Research Report
Ok, shameless self promotion time. To encourage
those of you who have not yet reviewed The Future of Biometrics
(Brief Registration Required), here's what
some of your colleagues have to say about Acuity's latest
biometric industry research effort:
"Acuity has put together the definitive view of the current state of the
biometrics industry." - Steve Hunt, certified CPP and CISSP,
2006 CSO Magazine "Industry Visionary" Compass Award Winner, Named among
2006's 25 Most Influential People in the security industry by Security Magazine.
"Acuity's insight will help you throw away the rear
view mirror and understand where tomorrow's growth is coming from,
and why." - David B. Johnston, VP Market Development-Biometric Programs, AOptix Technologies Inc.
"Finally, a report that encompasses the entire biometric industry and
its markets - present and future. Acuity cuts to the chase without filler
and lays out both intelligent observation and prescient projections.
This is the biometric industry's roadmap to the future or oblivion
if they do not heed the message." - Bill Eldridge, Executive Vice President, Morpheus Technologies, Inc.
At $1295.00 USD, the report is priced to be accessible
to players at all market levels. Approximately 12,000
words of analysis and more than 150 graphs, charts and tables are included.
Here are some excerpts from The Future of Biometrics
The biometrics industry will experience significant transformation over the next ten to fifteen years. Technological capabilities will revolutionize ease of use, accuracy, and performance and greatly expand the use of biometrics for personal, commercial, and government applications. Maturing business models will evolve from product to service based offerings with the bulk of revenues transaction based.
The good news is that these dynamics will create an environment conducive to the level of market expansion needed to realize the promise of biometrics. The not so good news is that as growth continues and potential rewards increase so to will uncertainty and risk. Successful navigation of this market transformation will require a clear strategic vision of the inevitable future of the industry and the resources to exploit the opportunity gaps created by a market in flux
Mainstream ubiquity will occur as capture devices for most routine applications will become cheap, reliable commodities available in multiple form factors embedded in everything from PDAs, PCs, POS terminals, and ATMS to vehicles, security gates and appliances. As with most technology, these devices will blend into the landscape of modern life and become essentially invisible. Do you know who makes the hard drive in your PC? How the bank processes your pin number at an ATM? Convenience will rule and except for high security applications or high value transactions, where more specialized equipment may be required, biometrics will become utterly mundane and the technology to process them virtually interchangeable. Selection of modalities will be based on the circumstances of any given solution.
In the more distant future—beyond the timeframe of this report—the actual distinctions between biometrics modalities will blur, massive convergence will take hold, and individual biometric categories will disappear. This is more than just one technology winning out over another but an actual merging and morphing of the capture devices and the algorithms. Ultimately, capture devices and algorithms will be mostly indifferent, regardless of scale, to the nature of the type of pattern-data being captured.
Well, perhaps not mania, but three of the
industry's most well respected and established players
- AuthenTec, CrossMatch, Upek -
are out to raise significant capital in public offerings.
This will not only directly benefit these vendors but also the industry
at large expanding opportunities for investors anxious to stake their
AuthenTec hopes to raise $50.6 million, Upek $86.25 million, and
CrossMatch a whopping $225 million. Clearly, CrossMatch must be
catching some of the acquisition fever running rampant in the L-1 camp.
A second well funded, broadly based, and relatively large industry player
would be enormously beneficial to biometrics market development.
A base level of established competition validates industry potential,
increases strategic pressure in a positive way, and provides increased
security for government and commercial end users.
Though some competitors
may feel threatened by these IPOs, or even just envious,
this development is an overall win for the entire industry. The
growth of the publicly traded biometric
company portfolio will fuel even greater interest in the industry,
increasing the availability of private and public capital for
other players as these large infusions of cash build
investor market credibility.
This incident is near and dear to my heart.
As a mother of a 22 month old toddler and a frequent flier,
I was outraged (but honestly not surprised) to hear about the
"sippy cup' saga reported at Dulles International Airport. Granted,
this is not completely biometrics related. But clearly, if we had
more effective, reliable, user friendly airport security systems -
which ought to include
biometric identification - perhaps these type of incidents- which
are common and mostly unreported - would
become a thing of the past.
A mother, who became flustered by the flagrant
over reaction of TSA personnel to the
threat posed by the contents of her 19 month old son's sippy cup,
was accused of intentionally spilling
water from the cup and threatened with arrest. The offending item was seized
as the child was pointing and crying to get his cup back.
Those of you who are parents (or anyone who has been on a flight with an unhappy baby)
know how stressful flying can be for children, their parents, and
the rest of the passengers and crew.
Can you think of a good reason to go out of your way to
agitate a child before they even get on the plane?. The woman was willing to drink out of the cup to
prove there was nothing
dangerous inside (something I have had to do quite often). This is not only
a complete waste of limited airport security resources but IMHO a
Can we move on to genuine terrorist threats, please?
Solution Performance Strikes Again
Biometrics often face criticism, scorn, or
downright dismissal because of their inherent limitations - they
are not 100% accurate, performance varies with environmental conditions,
not everyone can use every modality, etc. Over the past several years
the industry has become reasonably adept at addressing these limitations
and diffusing associated misconceptions, false expectations, and
straw man arguments that
have little bearing on real world circumstance. However, a significant challenge
remains; clearly distinguishing the capabilities and performance of the
technology from the capabilities and
performance of the solutions which they enable.
Far too often biometrics shoulder the blame when solutions fail to
live up to expectations. Other issues ranging from physical infrastructure,
software and hardware integration, to human factors are often the culprits
that prevent effective deployment of a biometrically enabled solution.
Far too often it is the
biometrics industry that experiences subsequent setbacks or bad PR
perceived failure when in reality the biometrics technology may
have performed as expected. Here are a few recent examples
where the inability
to deploy an integrated solution on time or according to expectations
may negatively impact overall biometrics industry progress:
The MiSense trial at Heathrow airport
has been extremely well received
by the 3,000+ passengers who participated. Three linked services -
the first two biometrically enabled - designed to
speed and secure travel were tested.
- Capture of traveler biometrics at airline check-in and verification
of the resulting identity at the
entrance to security screening and aircraft boarding.
- An international registered traveler program captured
thirteen biometrics, issued an RFID smart card
and allowed the use of self-service border clearance gates.
- Biographic data from a traveler’s passport and travel itinerary were captured in real-time during
check-in, transmitted to and processed by the Border & Immigration Agency for background
checks prior to departure.
The program itself was developed and delivered within a year by
a consortium of
nine commercial and government organizations.
The processes worked well and the participants rated the experience very highly.
By most standards, a resounding success. The only catch, Heathrow in particular, and pretty
much any airport that would want to integrate these processes,
would require considerable physical modifications. Given the
infrastructure of today's airports, these systems simply do not scale.
Australia's SmartGate is in a holding pattern as integration issues
add six months to the originally scheduled public launch date.
the kiosks and gates are in place but a range of "unforeseen integration issues"
are to blame. The readers and kiosks are having trouble talking to each other.
Sophisticated biometrics ATMs designed for individuals who cannot
read or write installed by the Central Bank of India
in Vaisahli worked for less
than 10 days. The issue? They ran out of cash.
US Border inspectors rarely rely on the optical memory stripe
"laser visas" issued to
Mexican Nationals who routinely cross the border. 9M+ cards and nearly $60M dollars
later, there are nowhere near enough readers installed. And even if there were,
enforcing universal screening would create unworkable delays crossing the border.
According to one consular officer, the lines would stretch from
Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.
...and the TWIC delays keep coming
Let's not all jump up in dis-belief at once.
Once again, I must excuse my sarcasm but
once again, the initial implementation date for the TWIC
program has been pushed back (the original date was 2003).
And this is just for enrollment and card issuance;
there is currently no date certain for the deployment of readers.
Though given the state of the Mexican National laser visa program
(see previous section), the failure to anticipate US-VISIT exit
issues, the painstakingly slow pace of full fledged
Registered Traveler capabilities, and the controversy
surrounding and pushed back deadlines for REAL-ID, are any of us surprised?
This scenario has become far too familiar in the US. Large scale
ID programs integrally tied to key national security issues launched
with little debate and much fanfare languishing due to
any number of unanticipated social, political and technical obstacles.
Perhaps the creation of large scale, technology based
identification systems require more than a frenzy of legislation and a
200 page RFP. The sad truth is that with all the post 9/11
national security hype, it seems the US government
has accomplished painfully little to guide the development of
viable, secure, privacy sensitive large scale identification systems.
A more thoughtful and measured approach may be the most
promising answer to
address the issues associated with these programs. More
strategy, planning, proto-typing, testing, and transparent debate
are required to
the problems that need to be solved as well as the implications
of proposed solutions
before grandiose plans are launched and
details are left to be filled in at a later date.
Counting on Mobile Biometrics
The US Census Bureau goes biometric. In an
effort to radically increase efficiency and accuracy, and reduce costs,
the US Census Bureau will be distributing handheld biometrically enabled PDAs
to facilitate counting the masses. 500K customized units will help
save an estimated ONE BILLION dollars. Much of the savings
comes from reduced printing costs — the bureau won’t have to
print paper address books, millions of paper maps,
and about 40 million paper questionnaires. The biometrically enabled
units will also
help to achieve compliance with privacy standards and reduce census
taker liability BUT convenience and cost savings
are the bottom line for the single largest deployment of mobile biometrics
in the world.
For custom research, analysis or strategic market
development consulting, visit Acuity Market
Intelligence or call +1 303 449 1897
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