Phones, Homes, and Cameras: Setting the Stage for a Consumer-Centric Approach to the Biometrics Evolution

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1Q 2019 | IN-5400

New biometric security initiatives are rapidly expanding globally with technologies and market sectors converging. Interested vendors need to take security concerns seriously, especially as they enter the prime consumer and law enforcement markets.

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Optimistic View for Biometrics across the Board


Taking a fresh look toward 2019 and beyond, this foresight provides a summary of market highlights and market guidance looking into the near future for biometric applications focused specifically on consumer electronics (CE), surveillance, the smart home, and residential security. Despite several implementation hurdles and challenges over the past years, which included, for example, the fact that the first fingerprint-powered iPhone was hacked a few days after its commercial release and millions of biometric templates were stolen from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the biometric market still managed to not only stay afloat, but also to thrive even amid security concerns.

During the past five years, biometric technologies have flourished and expanded across all major market segments with consumer, enterprise, government, banking, law enforcement, and border control leading implementations. Consumer and law enforcement, in particular, are the two major markets that have continuous “adjacency effects” across other end markets, effectively crossing over to neighboring ones and fueling applications across the board. Mobile payments and banking authentication, surveillance cameras and face recognition systems, border control, government identity and civil applications, automotive, smart home and residential security, smart cards, education, retail, entertainment, and hospitality are all experiencing (albeit at different growth rates) the introduction of biometrically-based Identification (ID) systems in their core authentication processes.

However, the new threshold that biometric technologies are now called to reach is the merger between CE devices and the smart home, which is an interesting yet anticipated cross-application that is also expected to affect citizen surveillance initiatives in the near future.

Overspill Effect from CE and Machine Learning Boosting Smart Home Growth


As-as-Service Model Might Be Emerging for Biometric CE: The increase of biometric modalities (with fingerprint, face, and iris being the primary ones) across the consumer segment is expected to increase with a 21% five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) until 2023, with smartphones holding the lion’s share of biometric sensor and software shipments. Declining Average Selling Prices (ASPs), however, are putting further pressure on profitability for biometric hardware (especially fingerprint sensors) and vendors are already experiencing the detrimental effects of corroding prices and increased competition from Chinese vendors. As a result, an “as-a-service” related to biometric-based authentication, payments, interoperability, identity, and other end-user services is starting to emerge, heralding a new pricing model that can also trace its origins to processor units and the silicon-as-a-service model.

NLP and Machine LearningBoosting Smart Home and Residential Security: Fingerprint applications in residential security are mostly related to smart locks and face recognition applications and are related to cameras for indoor and outdoor home surveillance systems. Cloud storage, residential analytics, personalization and modification services, and expanded security services for face recognition systems (for example, further expansion classification for circle of family or friends versus visitors or unknown subjects) are among some of the top services that biometric implementers will move into in the near future. Machine learning computing and the proliferation of free-to-use tools like TensorFlow are expected to boost not only voice recognition systems using Natural Language Processing (NLP) in the smart home, but also machine vision in the not-so-distant future. While current virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant have actually struggled with biometrics, because they feature voice commands rather than true voice recognition, it is expected that there will be an additional cross-application merger between the CE, smart home, and automotive sectors.

Extending beyond Security Cameras


Boosted by government and law enforcement initiatives around the world, surveillance camera shipments are expected to exceed 200 million units by 2023. Machine vision, face recognition, and breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning have found an enticing place within the surveillance market, increasing biometric growth considerably. This growth spike for the years that follow will be traced across Asia-Pacific and Middle East (although primarily dominated by China, India, Pakistan, and Thailand), while advances in border control in Western Europe and North America are also expected to have an overspill effect on the greater scheme of surveillance initiatives. This greater scheme includes biometric dragnets, additional modalities added into the mix (like iris and voice recognition), and the expansion of law enforcement surveillance using biometric data captured from smart home devices, including smart TVs, connected electronics, indoor/outdoor cameras, and voice-controlled devices.

Note that even in countries in the European Union (EU) that have already given a much greater emphasis on protecting citizen consumer data and privacy with new laws and regulations compared to other regions worldwide (which directly places a more "aggressive" focus on surveillance), so there will be no noticeable decline in surveillance. Driven by internal turmoil and border control challenges, both the EU leaders and the EU Commission have no plans to reduce funding for public security or law enforcement. Quite the opposite is happening, in fact, as the European Commission is planning to increase security funding from €3.5 billion to €4.8 billion starting in 2021. Additionally, new biometric security initiatives are expanding, most of which are interested in voice recognition surveillance systems and the creation of voice databases originating from the National Security Agency (NSA) in North America, INTERPOL in the EU, and China in Asia-Pacific. Further fuel (and implications) might appear down the line, originating from biometrically-enabled smart home devices, so vendors should keep in mind that digital security revolving around consumer and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) should be one of the main areas of focus for such applications.


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