The North American biometrics market is likely to experience a steady growth rate, with national ID projects, e-passports, and other security projects spearheading market growth. Trends indicate that the industry has evolved a great deal over the past five years due to the increased accuracy rates and performance levels of the technology. Biometric standards, cost versus performance benchmarks, and interoperability issues have enabled high uptake in civil and commercial applications even as fraudulent activities and identity thefts continue to cost institutions significant revenue losses.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan entitled "North American Biometrics Market", finds that the market earned revenues of $364.4 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $1.6 billion in 2016.
"With the proliferation of crime due to the economic meltdown, the need for optimized security was apparent across government organizations, financial institutions, retail, and health care industries," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Neelima Sagar. "Initiatives by biometric vendors and continuous investments in R&D to offer highly accurate and affordable products will considerably enhance prospects for biometrics in the coming years."
The adoption of biometrics in the consumer market opened new avenues of opportunity for the biometrics industry. Unique technologies such as brain fingerprinting, DNA fingerprinting, and skin printing are poised to propel the market forward in the long term.
Although the outlook for the market is bright, there are some impediments slowing its momentum. The economic slowdown had cast a shadow over the market, and the financial and consumer sectors felt its impact the most. In the government sector, projects were delayed; however, there were few cancellations.
Government-backed projects typically have long sales cycles and can sometimes stretch over a year before completion, depending on the complexity of the project. Budgetary constraints and delayed testing have also contributed to long sales cycles.
Privacy constraints have remained roadblocks for market participants. Vendors must effectively identify and address privacy concerns in the public and private sectors prior to the implementation of this technology. Intensifying the focus on building awareness of privacy issues is essential, and this can be achieved by conducting trade shows and conferences.
Apart from this, lack of standardization and insufficient awareness of the technology, its application, and wide scope has prevented market penetration. Better awareness would lead to higher revenues for this market. In addition, highlighting the cost savings made by the existing clients could help make the technology more acceptable. As customer retention poses a challenge, there is a need for biometric vendors to display successful implementation as reference sites for potential clients.
To deal with intensifying competition and ensure progress, small-scale companies should form strategic alliances and large companies should undertake acquisitions.
"Strategic alliances and acquisitions will lead to deployment of multimodal technology," Sagar said. "This multifactor authentication will provide stronger security by collectively overcoming the limitations of individual technologies and contributing to the long-term growth of the biometrics market."
The emphasis for participants must be on delivering highly accurate and cost-effective solutions to generate healthy profit margins. Innovative solutions with high performance levels and value-added customer service hold the key for winning contracts.