Finger on the Pulse! Waving Goodbye to a Big Year for Biometrics

Finger on the Pulse! Waving Goodbye to a Big Year for Biometrics

After years of predictions and goals set for “2020”, it feels quite
surreal to have finally welcomed in the year that once felt so futuristic. And
what a pivotal decade the “teens” have been for the world of biometrics!

But before
we share our 2 cents on the predictions for the year, we shouldn’t overlook the
busy and successful end to 2019 the industry has had, as well as the major
highlights of the last year.

Ending
the year on a high

Consumers
get first biometric payment cards

It’s been a
big
year for biometric payment cards, but the announcement of the first
commercial launch in November made sure 2019 ended on a high. The exclusive
Swiss Corner Bank biometric credit card launch is limited to 100 customers, but
the announcement marks the first of many more of these cards that will reach
the hands of consumers in 2020… In fact, the start of the new year continued
strong, with Thales announcing they are the first company to offer a certified
biometric card, and with Fingerprints passing an important biometric
performance test for payments in China.

New payment
form factors move to biometrics

Japan’s
leading payment network, JCB, showed cards aren’t the only way fingerprint
biometrics are securing payments with the launch of its new
contactless payment device. In addition to contactless payments, the device
can be used for other personal authentication applications such as event
tickets or car sharing programs.

The more
the merrier!

Multi-modal
biometric solutions are rapidly gaining popularity to strengthen security and
improve UX. In October, Fingerprints did just that, responding to rising demand
from smartphone and IoT OEMS by combining
the convenience of face recognition with the security of iris.

Appetite
for fingerprint in mobile continues to grow

Continuous
R&D has enabled capacitive sensors to remain at the cutting edge in the
smartphone market. The launch of a new side-mounted slim sensor, and its
integration into Xiaomi’s
new 5G phone in December, was a perfect testament to this. The sensor,
which also functions as the power button, is enabling a new wave of
design-first borderless and foldable phones.

Differentiation in the smartphone world is
becoming increasingly challenging. For this reason, design is one of the key
battle grounds as OEMs strive towards edgeless / bezel-less / notched /
foldable devices. Biometric innovation is actually running in parallel and
driving much of the innovation, as reflected in our recent
blog article.

Lock,
lock…who’s there?

Q4 also saw
the market responding to demands from new industries with the launch of an all-in-one
sensor module for access control solutions and just one week into the new
year 2020 we are welcoming two
new sensors to our access portfolio. The need for more seamless and secure
access to devices and applications to unlock, enter and open our increasingly
connected digital and physical lives. Think smart door locks, FIDO tokens,
crypto cold wallets, padlocks…

The launch
of Kabuto’s
new smart carry-on suitcase in December is a great example – enabling
travellers to easily secure their luggage without the need for keys or those
easily forgettable passcodes!

2019:
The headlines

Not sure what you missed in the last twelve months? Here’s a low-down of
the key takeaways…

Biometric
payment cards went big

In February,
Gemalto
placed the first volume order of fingerprint sensors for contactless
payment cards to bring a “stronger, faster and more
seamless authentication to payment cards”. Later in the year, biometric
payment cards were namedthe biggest development in card technology in recent
years” by UK bank, NatWest, before the technology got a thorough road-test from the
BBC.

Fingerprint
sensors reached major milestones

In May,
Principal Analyst at ABI Research, Phil Sealy, described our news
of shipping 1bn fingerprint sensors worldwide as “a
major milestone for the company and the industry, demonstrating rapid consumer
adoption of biometrics.” In November, Fingerprints also reached another
milestone of 400
smartphone models (including all of the top five Android OEMs) integrating
its fingerprint capacitive sensors. 

New use
cases emerged

A varied
range of new devices utilizing biometrics emerged throughout the year,
including Feitan’s
FIDO-certified AllinPass, BeamU’s hardware
vault and Spatium’s
cryptocurrency wallet. New and adjacent industries will be drivers of
growth in biometrics adoption moving forward.

Banks
got serious about biometrics

The
implementation of PSD2’s SCA requirements in
September undoubtedly pushed biometrics higher up Europe’s banking agenda, too.
Indeed, our research found that over half of
issuers have a biometric strategy today, with 90% of those
remaining intending to do so within two years. From cards and wearables, to
mobile payments and crypto cold wallets, biometrics can simplify and unify the
UX across payments. 

2020 and
beyond!
   

With change
happening so fast, it’s difficult to predict what the next year, let alone the
next decade, will bring for the biometrics market, but it’s certainly looking
extremely promising.

A recent
report from Juniper research predicted biometrics
will enable $2.5tn of mobile payments by 2024 – a strong indicator of the
continued growth of biometrics in both smartphones and payments! The
continuation of design-led smartphones will also see the use of touchless
solutions, side-mounted and under-display sensors gain significant traction as
a result. 

This year
will also see more biometric payment card pilots scaling up to commercial
launch, with Crédit Agricole in France just one stating its goal as 2020. With
all POS terminals mandated to become contactless this year, the stage is set
perfectly for the seamless roll-out of the technology across the globe.

Finally, we’ve started the year with a busy
schedule at CES in Las Vegas, getting an insight into how all those predictions
about the realization of IoT and connected devices in 2020 are now coming to
fruition. The potential of biometrics and its role in these new and adjacent
industries is phenomenal. And, excitingly, it’s almost too great to predict…

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