Global Market Insights estimated that the biometrics market will be worth $31 billion by 2023, with future growth driven by consumer-facing applications like mobile authentication.
Consumer electronics, healthcare, banking, and even the home safety industry are integrating advanced biometrics capabilities into their products, services, and operations.
This is in part because biometric technology is performing better and is more accessible. In addition, Biometrics-as-a-Service solutions are emerging that enable businesses to utilize biometrics through the cloud. The service-based model, which has revolutionized other enterprise applications, is now seen as the way biometrics will go truly mainstream.
Biometric Applications in Banking and Telecommunications
Technology titans from Apple to Samsung are driving the adoption of biometrics for authentication.
For example, the Galaxy S8 comes with fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, and iris scanning capabilities. Microsoft developed Windows Hello for its Windows 10 devices, allowing people to log into their PCs using their fingerprints, irises or faces.
Enterprises are taking full advantage of these features. Lloyds Banking Group recently announced that it will start testing a service that will allow Windows 10 device owners to access their banking accounts via biometric authentication. Instead of using a username and password to access online banking, customers can use their faces or fingerprints.
The applications go beyond banking. Airtel, MTN, and other mobile network operators use biometrics technology to register prepaid SIM card buyers. In Nigeria, some individuals exploit the anonymity SIM cards provide to coordinate kidnappings, terrorist attacks and other such activity.
In response, Airtel and MTN implemented an accurate biometrics application that allowed them to take multi-fingerprint scans of SIM card buyers. This discouraged would-be criminals from using prepaid services because transactions were no longer anonymous.
Biometrics as a Service (BaaS): How BaaS is Changing the Biometrics Industry
Growing at a compound annual growth rate of 17.11 percent, according to Research and Markets, BaaS solutions provide a cost-effective means for enterprises to access advanced biometrics capabilities.
A BaaS application offers a cloud-based platform that delivers biometrics onboarding, duplicate checking, and authentication capabilities. Businesses can enroll employees and customers by scanning their fingerprints or taking facial images and then using them to detect duplicate identities or people on watch lists. Then as employees and customers, their biometrics can be used for authentication when accessing account information or to perform transactions.
Before BaaS, there were limited options to integrate biometrics capabilities into business operations. Government agencies and large corporations have the technical resources needed to do so, but it was more difficult for smaller organizations to keep pace.
With BaaS, companies don’t have to integrate biometric technology. That’s all taken care of by a BaaS provider.
Some BaaS providers offer integration services so that businesses can integrate BaaS capabilities into their existing systems, such as their mobile applications. This is expanding the use cases of biometrics.
Why Biometrics is Becoming Mainstream
Use of biometrics requires that certain security issues be addressed. For example, while facial recognition software can be used in place of passwords, fraudsters could use photos, videos, and even masks to “spoof” biometric systems by impersonating their victims.
Leaders of the industry are addressing these challenges. With respect to facial recognition, today’s biometric authentication systems perform “liveness detection”, designed to prove that a user is actually in front of the camera. Liveness detection is a minimum requirement for organizations adopting biometrics authentication based on facial recognition.
Software improvements aren’t the only drivers of biometric integration. The devices are becoming more affordable and effective. Even some entry-level smartphones are equipped with a fingerprint scanner: the ZTE ZMAZ PRO costs only $99 through MetroPCS.
Another factor that’s driving biometrics usage among consumers and enterprises is that the technology leads to better customer experience and security than passwords. According to Dashlane, U.S. consumers link 130 online accounts with a single email address. The average person receives “forgot password” emails 37 times per year, indicating people have a hard time remembering passwords for dozens of accountants.
Fingerprint scanning, iris recognition, facial recognition and other biometric avert these issues because they represent what people are as opposed to what they know. Consumers don’t have to “remember” their fingerprints.
The industry is flourishing. As adoption expands, it will be interesting to see how companies utilize biometrics in everyday business applications.