Biometric smartphone use to rise tenfold in four years

Biometric smartphone use is expected to rise almost tenfold, from the 43.23 million users in 2013, to 471.11 million by 2017. In these four years, biometrics will transition from the early adopters to the early maturity phase, enabling the technology to overtake existing technologies. By 2019, biometrics will be a significant component of most mobile devices. 

New findings from Frost & Sullivan, Biometrics Go Mobile: A Market Overview, show the biometric revenue from smart phones is expected to increase from US$ 53.6 million (£33 million) in 2013 to US$ 396.2 million (£224 million) in 2019 growing 39.6 percent per year. Apple and Samsung already launched mobile devices with biometric features in 2013, both using fingerprint sensors as a way of unlocking the device.

Biometric technologies compete with alternative easy-to-use identification technologies, and require investment in sensors and infrastructure. In many countries, especially Europe, privacy is a sensitive issue and as biometrics provide personal information, some are still hesitant to use the technology. 

Increased use of mobile banking has led to a need for more secure identification to validate digital transactions, and recent customer experiences have shown that biometric technology is suitable for new applications such as payments. However, security confidence is low due to the technology's non-optimised false acceptance rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR). There are no internationally agreed standards regarding biometric technology, so mobile manufacturers have been deploying branded solutions.

 Frost & Sullivan ICT global programme director Jean-Noël Georges issued a statement saying:“Due to existing hardware capabilities across devices, most of the growth is expected from facial and voice authentication technologies. While the uptake of biometric technologies will get a boost from the proliferation of new devices with fingerprint authentication capability, their acceptance will be tepid until the market develops more sophisticated and accurate authentication software.” He went on to say that, “Biometrics solution providers should have a regional strategy to specifically adapt the product or service to local privacy rules. A respect for global standards, or at least a common set of rules, will have a strong impact on their uptake all over the world.” 

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