Matching Government Biometrics Systems with Prevailing Digital ID Trends

How can biometrics vendors ensure their products align with the security needs of governments looking to further digitalize citizen identity?

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Market Overview

ABI Research has compiled the following market forecasts for government biometrics systems, encompassing shipment and revenue forecasts for various smart credential technologies.

  • 570,000 total fingerprint-enabled biometrics devices will ship worldwide by 2027, with standard Identity (ID)/Authenticationaccounting for 54% of those shipments. However, advanced forms of ID/Authentication account for, by far, the greatest amount of fingerprint device revenue—US$63.5 million by 2027. Portable kits are not too far behind advanced ID/Authentication with US$49.9 million in 2027 revenue.
  • By 2027, 1.9 million facial biometric devices will ship worldwide, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.7%. As for revenue, facial biometrics will generate US$371.7 million in sales in 2027.
  • Iris recognition and vein biometrics are far more niche, with just 200,000 and 120,000 devices expected to ship next year (2023), respectively. By 2027, those numbers will only increase to 250,000 and 140,000 by 2027.
  • Revenue for iris recognition and vein biometrics is expected to reach US$91 million and US$48.5 million by 2027, respectively.
  • Growing at a 5.1% CAGR between 2022 and 2027, government smart credentials are closely intertwined with the increasing adoption of biometrics in ID programs, as biometric data are often held within the chip in the card.
  • By 2027, ABI Research anticipates 5.6 billion smart credentials to be in circulation globally, with national IDs and passports accounting for 77% of the market alone.
  • In terms of smart credentials shipments, driver’s licenses represent the fastest-growing segment, growing at a CAGR of 9.5%, and reaching 109.2 million shipments in 2027. Meanwhile, national IDs, passports, and healthcare cards will ship 423.5 million, 210.6 million, and 70.8 million smart credentials in 2027, respectively.

“The well-established existence of remote online verification technologies, including behavioral biometrics, in finance and payment serves as a good test bed for remote verification in the government context, learning from best practices and trialed successes and failures.” – Lucas Stewart, Analyst at ABI Research


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Key Decision Items

Identify Which Governments Need More Elaborate Biometric-Based Verification Systems

Biometric technology vendors, in partnership with ID system integrators, should target nations without existing sufficient biometric registries and verification systems. In this respect, biometric companies must be able to cater to both the enrollment and verification use cases in a convenient manner for system integrators and governments alike, forming part of a complete digital ID solution.

At the same time, ID system integrators partnering with biometric vendors should also seek to identify opportunities where a government ID program already has a sufficient biometric registry, but lacks a remote verification solution for access to government services. In these cases, the vendor will only supply the biometrics verification use case, leveraging the existing database as the source to authenticate against.

Develop Compatibility between Flat Fingerprint Scans and 3D Fingerprint Scans

Three-Dimensional (3D) fingerprint scans by photograph are a current development in the biometrics market, captured through smartphone cameras. Soon, we’ll see the enabled compatibility for authentication against flat fingerprint biometrics in existing registries.

Developing system compatibility for verification between flat fingerprint scans in existing biometric registries and the 3D fingerprint scans captured by smartphone cameras in remote online verification contexts will give rise to significant market opportunities. This will leverage commonplace existing fingerprint biometrics held by governments.

Ultimately, biometrics vendors that successfully verify 3D fingerprints against flat fingerprint registries will be presented with significant market opportunities.

Stay On Top of the Latest Cybercrime Trends in Biometrics

Biometric technology vendors should invest heavily in detecting, monitoring, and analyzing government cyberattack sources, patterns, and methodologies. Vendors should understand that cybercriminals are shifting to digital injection attacks (deepfakes and replays) when targeting biometrics systems, and less so mask attacks. This shift in cybercriminal behavior necessitates biometrics companies to adapt technology to align with potential threats to government databases.

Tellingly, a dynamic approach to threat and fraud detection and response is critical to maintaining high levels of assurance in identity verification. Only when biometric authentication is safeguarded will the trust of existing and prospective government clients be upheld.

Ensure eIDAS Compliance to Target European Customers

Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) provides a framework for secure digital identification (eID) and verification systems across the European Union (EU). In September 2023, a new version of the standard is set to enable secure cross-border e-transactions through an interoperable eID. Verifying eIDs remotely requires verification systems that comply with the eIDAS regulatory framework for the involved European countries.

Therefore, biometrics vendors currently without trusted status need to gain compliance to best take advantage of emerging biometrics verification opportunities in Europe.

Key Market Players to Watch

Dig Deeper for the Full Picture

If you’d like to read more about the role of secure biometrics systems in the eGovernment market—including emerging trends, technologies, biggest threats, and key players—download ABI Research’s Securing Access to eGovernment Services Through Remote Online Verification research report.

Not ready for the report yet? Check out our Out with Physical Documentation and in with Mobile Identity (ID) Research Highlight. This content is part of the company’s Citizen Digital Identity Research Service.