Government IDs Are Getting Smarter

Across the globe, people are traveling more than ever before. In fact, the number of international travelers has increased every year since 2009.

With this trend expected to continue, both travelers and governments are looking for ways to make the process of traveling internationally more efficient, cost-effective, and, most importantly, secure – a combination that will require the development and adoption of smarter documentation.

That’s why our new Global Analysis of the Government ID Arena report reveals that the government ID market will grow 17% between 2018 and 2023. This represents a tremendous opportunity for smart card technology companies and partners.

Governments Are Taking Security Seriously

Legacy documents, which rely on punchouts, holograms, engraving, and other physical security features are not only expensive to produce, but also run the risk of being counterfeited. Even electronic documents, such as e-passports, are vulnerable to fraud. That’s why many countries, including India, China, Indonesia, and many throughout Africa, are migrating to smart documentation.

The number of smart card shipments is forecast to increase from 618.8 million in 2018 to 732.7 million in 2023. This growth is linked to many credential programs kicking off or ramping up in the forecast period and will see a shortening of the gap between legacy and smart credentials, with 44% of all world credentials in circulation in 2023 having a smart format, up from 37% in 2018.

National IDs will drive much of this activity, as we forecast 490 million units to ship in 2023 (up from 440 million in 2018. This is due to several large-scale national ID projects kicking off in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Italy, supported by the ongoing deployment of eID credentials in Japan, Turkey, and the Philippines.

Moving Beyond Identification

Many countries are beginning to establish biometric databases to assist with social security and government services. From a business perspective, this eliminates the set-up costs of having to ascertain the biometric information of the population, as the database would already exist and there would only be the need to provide the smart credential to link to the database.

This concept of making IDs multipurpose is not just limited to biometrics. In African nations, for example, there is a clear focus on providing national IDs that have payment functionality, bringing financial inclusion to a largely underbanked population, and increasing commerce among countries within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) trading bloc.

Who Is Driving ID Innovation?

Innovation in the market will primarily be driven by smart-card vendors Gemalto, IDEMIA, G+D (including Veridos), and Bundesdruckerei. With a commanding 63.7% share of the smart card market in first half 2018, these vendors are poised to take advantage of opportunities for governments looking to overhaul legacy credentials and stay ahead of more rigorous standards.

Roadblocks & Barriers

Though the government ID market is ripe with opportunity for smart card vendors, there are some potential stumbling blocks. For example, while smart documents will inevitably overtake physical documents in terms of usage, there is still a long way to go. There are simply too many physical documents in circulation today. In addition, the uncertain nature of politics can lead to projects being scrapped or delayed. Finally, smart credentials require the installation of infrastructure that can read the document, and this can often be more expensive and logistically problematic than the production of the credential itself.

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