Traditionally, use of biometrics technology has been the domain of government and law enforcement organizations. This technology is used to recognize individual people based on unique physical or behavioral traits. Typically this includes fingerprints, facial features, irises (eye), keystroke patterns and voice characteristics.
Now, biometrics is beginning to enter the consumer market as well, ABI Research (News
Friday. A variety of consumer products — such as mobile phones, computer storage drives and laptops — now offer options for biometric features. This functionality is used for personal data management and security.
As biometrics spreads out across consumer markets, ABI said, more people will begin to view these technology as “everyday,” useful for protecting data at home and at work. This trend is providing opportunities, but also challenges, for companies that make biometric-based security products.
“Biometrics players increasingly have to support both public and private sector demand,” said ABI analyst Jonathan Collins, in a statement. “It will be those that leverage the key biometric standards initially developed for the public sector but with scope for private sector deployments that will reap the benefits.”
In its report, ABI predicted that spending on biometric systems — by both private and public-sector organizations — will increase to $7.3 billion by 2013, up from roughly $3 billion in 2008.
The next five years, the research firm projected, will see traditional public-sector deployments of biometric systems continue to dominate the industry, but private-sector will play an increasingly important role.
“The ability to leverage technologies developed for the public sector in private sector and personal deployments will be increasingly important,” ABI predicted.
Collins added that expansion of demand from the private sector for biometric products presents a real opportunity for manufacturers, but they will have to adopt appropriate strategies to remain competitive.
“The wide variety of biometrics technologies available including face, fingerprint, iris, hand and speech recognition systems, as well as their differing characteristics, has created opportunities for vendors and systems integrators to help customers select the correct biometric measurement or combination of measurements for any application,” Collins said in the report.
In other words, the most successful biometric manufacturers will understand public and private-sector markets, and offer a variety of suitable products for both.
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Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke