EMEA Biometrics Market Offers Significant Growth Opportunities, Says Frost & Sullivan

The biometrics market has gained steady momentum in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in recent years. The various government projects newly issued are expected to counterbalance the negative impact that the current economic recession is having on the commercial and financial sectors. Infrastructure security developments like e-passports, national ID programs, as well as seaports and airports will be driving the market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, “EMEA Biometrics Market,” finds that the market earned US$ 351.4 million in 2008 and is anticipated to reach $1.7 billion by 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.5 percent from 2008 to 2015. Technologies covered include: non-AFIS, face recognition, iris recognition, hand geometry as well as voice and signature verification.

“There is great demand for more reliable, accurate and secure measures to validate and authenticate individuals for both physical and network/IT access,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Matia Grossi. “Hence, biometric technologies including fingerprint, face and iris recognition are increasingly finding use for physical/logical access control, transactional authentication, time and attendance, travel/identity documents and border control applications.”

The convergence of security for physical and logical access control through the use of smart cards with embedded fingerprint biometric technology is a major market driver. It is projected to become the standard in many organizations for secure identity management.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 9303 mandate and European Commission (EC) 2252 passport regulation will likely push the deployment of biometric passports. Biometric national IDs, driving license and health care card schemes are expected to gain momentum in additional European countries in the next three years.

“The Schengen Visa, which features embedded fingerprint biometric technology, will continue to boost revenues for border control solutions,” Grossi said. “The iris recognition immigration system (IRIS) program is currently functional in airports including Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted. It is set to be widely adopted in other UK and European airports in the next three to five years.”

Customers still perceive biometric solutions as key value additions to their security deployments; however the severe budget cuts on spending for high capital-intensive investments in the current economic climate have negatively impacted the market. For example, the Department of Transportation in the U.K. withdrew tenders for the development and implementation of a facial recognition pilot scheme that was intended to develop into a full system in November 2008.

“Biometric vendors need to reiterate the cost benefits of their products,” Grossi asid. “They should constantly redefine their product portfolio and the value added services they provide and ensure a faster ROI for the end user.”
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