By the year 2018, 3.4 billion users will be taking advantage of biometrics on their mobile devices. Such a global behavior pattern will net just over $8 billion for the biometrics industry, according to a recent analysis by Good Intelligence.
The report, called Mobile Biometric Security – Market Forecast Report 2013-2018, goes on to project that fingerprint scanners will become standard across most high-end smartphones and devices by 2015, evolving into being commonplace across all devices by 2018. It also notes that the consumerization of biometric measures are both convenient and effective, making them especially attractive to smartphone owners.
“Biometrics on mobile devices is not a new concept; the first commercial product design device to embed a fingerprint sensor was launched back in 1999.” explained Alan Goode, author of the report and founder of Goode Intelligence. “What we have now, and what has changed in the last 18 months, is a much more favorable environment in which biometrics on mobile devices will flourish.”
Alan Goode went on to explain that much of the driving force behind the movement stems from the technological pioneering done by Apple, Inc. As one of the early adopters to fingerprint scanners, Apple is now experimenting with iris scanners and other body-based sensors. The advent and proliferation of wearable technologies like Google Glass and smart watches also do much to more closely pair mobile devices to the human body, propelling a consumer culture in which ubiquitous technology is the norm.
From cars to houses to even cities, the interfacing between wearable tech product design and daily tasks offer a personable, customizable experience for consumers, Goode explains. “In this world biometrics may well hold the key for identity and user interaction.”
At this point in time, however, many analysts argue that the climate for biometric technology is somewhat hesitant. Consumer reactions for biometrically-inclined smartwatches are lukewarm. Data privacy – biometric or otherwise – is a hot topic in the news and on forums. In many ways, the industry’s major players, like Apple and Android, are in a standoff waiting to see who draws first and how.
Apple, for one, is somewhat restrictive of its biometric development community, locking its members into a very specific, non customizable system. The company’s “Touch ID” is now much more useful than just a helpful avenue to unlock a phone and buy new songs from iTunes. Though less about security and more about convenience, Apple is taking strides to expand and repurpose the technology behind it to better compete in the biometric-geared marketplace.
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