After four stellar years of growth for the biometrics industry, 2018 may well be a year when the industry pauses to catch its breath – a brief plateau to enable the industry to iron out some of its wrinkles. It is, after all, common for an emerging area of technology to encounter a temporary dip in its growth as excessive expectations are tempered by the realities of immature systems.
At Goode Intelligence (GI) we act as an advisor to both sellers (technology vendors) and buyers (end-users) of biometric authentication technology. So we see many of the frustrations of designing and deploying biometric solutions first-hand. From my experience common problems include:
- a lack of standardisation
- problems with enrolment and verification of biometric information (unattended biometric enrolment)
- poor liveness and spoof detection
- choosing the most appropriate biometric modality
- securing biometric data outside of secure hardware, and
- how to move a biometric pilot or proof-of-concept (POC) into a full-scale deployment.
To help overcome some of the common problems associated with a stalled project or pilot, we use a biometric assessment tool at GI that was first developed in 2015 as a result of research into our ‘Biometrics for Financial Services’ series of analyst reports. The Goode Intelligence Biometric System Assessment (BSA) tool is based on four interlocking parts, biometric performance, usability, regulation and security and has been successfully used by our clients, many in the financial services industry, to ensure that the most appropriate biometric system and architecture is chosen.
The year ahead
2018 will be another successful year for biometric innovation, witnessing more devices supporting biometric systems – a combination of OEM integrated and software once in the hands of its user.
Fingerprint sensors have been joined by a number of competing and co-existing biometric modalities that include face, iris, voice and behavioral.
Despite competition from other biometric modalities, the percentage of smartphones that ship with integrated fingerprint sensors will climb to 55 percent for 2018 . Innovation for fingerprint sensors will be driven by the desire to support larger touchscreens with no physical home button and locate the sensor either in one location under the glass or anywhere within the glass. Ultrasound and Optical fingerprint technologies could be the answer to solve this issue and also result in improved liveness and spoof detection.
2018 will see a number of mobile OEMs emulate Apple with 3D facial recognition systems either replacing fingerprint sensors completely or working as part of a multi-modal biometric authentication system.
It is surprising that a mainstream wearable device has not yet leveraged an integrated biometric sensor for authentication or identity purposes. Heartrate (EEG) recognition is an ideal candidate for smart watches and bands. Apple is improving its heartrate sensor on its Watch to make it more applicable for medical applications. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is adapted for authentication applications making it a perfect companion for vehicle entry – iCar anybody?
Our recent research into the biometrics for the connected car  provides a glimpse into the opportunity for biometrics for things. 2018 will see biometric technology integrated into luxury vehicles and keyless vehicle entry applications using biometric smart phones start to be deployed. With connected cars and other IoT devices, authentication is just one application that biometrics enhance. Driver safety and health and wellbeing applications are other applications that biometric technology enables.
At GI we’ll be extending our IoT security series into 2018 with more publications including IoT support for conversational commerce – watch out for more in the coming weeks and months.
Financial Services has been at the vanguard of biometric adoption as it has hundreds of millions of bank customers who access their bank accounts, withdraw cash from ATMs and authorise payments every day.
2018 should see the start of a more integrated approach to financial services security with biometric technology working across multiple financial channels.
The Biometric Smart Card offers great potential to replace easily-snatched PINs with fingerprint authentication. With contactless payments growing year-on-year at a tremendous pace it offers the potential for retailers to increase, and even remove, financial limits on contactless payments. Expect to see increased pilot activity in 2018 involving more people with a possibility of live deployments nearer the end of the year.
There has been limited activity to date with biometrics for the enterprise. 2018 should see biometric technology creep into the enterprise to allow employees to gain physical access to buildings and to authenticate them on to the company network. Active Directory (AD) is the staple depository for user’s credentials and biometric authentication systems must support AD – at least for the short-to-medium term.
Electronic Identity and Document Verification
The use of biometrics to support electronic identity and document verification (eIDV) will accelerate during 2018 as it solves a real business need; proving identity for digital channels in a timely manner. Facial recognition is the ideal companion of eIDV as it enables service providers to match a face with a trusted identity document, driver’s licence, passport or national ID card, remotely and in real-time. This is especially crucial for financial services organisations that have to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) legislation.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
No 2018 prediction would be complete without a reference to machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies are being leveraged for both device and server-based biometric systems to improve performance and to enhance spoof and liveness detection.
Apple’s Face ID leverages the neural engine capabilities of its A11 bionic chip and server-side facial and voice recognition systems are crunching vast amounts of biometric data using machine learning technology.
In summary then, 2018 will be another exciting year for biometrics but the industry needs to mature to make sure that pilot projects are not consigned to the dustbin of technology development. At Goode Intelligence we’ll continue to support the biometric industry during 2018 through our three core interconnected services that inform, educate and influence the market.
References Mobile & Wearable Biometric Authentication Market Analysis and Forecasts 2017-2022 (4th Edition) https://www.goodeintelligence.com/report/mobile-wearable-biometric-authentication-market-analysis-forecasts-2017-2022-4th-edition/  Biometrics for the Connected Car – Automotive Biometrics Market Analysis and Forecasts 2018-2023 (1st Edition) https://www.goodeintelligence.com/report/biometrics-for-the-connected-car-automotive-biometrics-market-analysis-forecasts-2018-2023/