The Global Biometrics Market

Published - Jun 2003| Analyst - Okereke Chima| Code - IFT042A
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Report Highlights

  • The total market will grow to just under $3.4 billion by 2007.
  • By far, the leader is finger scan (FIS) technology with a market share of 80%.
  • Facial and voice scan technologies have higher growth rates than FIS.
  • Iris and retina scans will have AAGRs of 18.8% and 19.8%, respectively.


Biometrics consist of technologies that support automatic identification or verification of identity based on behavioral or physical traits. Biometrics can authenticate identities since they measure unique individual characteristics. These include fingerprints, hand geometry, retina, iris and facial characteristics.

Behavioral characteristics include signature, voice and keystroke pattern. In addition to the general uniqueness of these measurements, biometrics offer some distinct advantages over other electronic or mechanical systems, i.e., unlike a key or plastic scan card, they cannot be lost, stolen or easily compromised through duplication.

As discussed later in the report, for more than two decades, biometric technologies did not penetrate any mass market, but remained relegated to occasional use in motion pictures and at highly secure government and military installations. Their slow progress stemmed from a variety of reasons. These included size, cost, complexity, unfamiliarity and competition from more popular and simpler security systems. However, biometric technologies are becoming better known, accepted and appreciated. Sales are growing, heralding their metamorphosis into the market growth stage of the product life cycle from the obscurity of the market introduction stage.

Biometrics are making inroads into many facets of national life, both public and private in developed countries. In the computer industry, for example, they are replacing personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords. PIN management reportedly is time consuming and costly. It is said that, in general, 30% of calls to internal information technology (IT) help desks are for resetting forgotten or expired passwords. Each call is estimated to cost companies about $15 to $20, and users are said to forget their passwords at least three times a year. This implies that a large establishment with over 10,000 employees will spend about $0.5 million annually on the unproductive task of resetting passwords.

Some of the uses of biometrics that have gained acceptance and approval of both commercial and domestic end users include physical access to, and protection of restricted areas; easing traffic at airports while simultaneously achieving high security in identification of unauthorized persons; secure access to banks and financial facilities; retail applications; use in law enforcement and correctional institutions, etc.


Therefore, the goals and objectives of this report include the following:

  • Educate end users on the esoteric but useful technologies of biometrics.
  • Enable end users to determine which of the technologies will meet their needs.
  • Enable interested readers, with no specific potential applications, to understand the impact of the industry on public facilities, e.g., airports.
  • Provide comprehensive information to vendors in the industry.
  • Help existing and potential vendors understand the competition.
  • Help vendors, users, planners, etc. understand the industry, various strategies of the players, the market, and possible future trends.
  • Provide other equipment manufacturers, value added resellers, systems integrators, and so on, with information about key suppliers and vendors, state-of-the-art and leading edge technologies, and potential opportunities in the various industry segments.
  • Present to readers market information that quantifies and describes the various segments of the biometrics industry.


This report covers the operations of most, if not all, active and major vendors in this industry. They manufacture, market and sell their products globally as applicable. The various technologies and products, including their applications, are considered in separate sections, as follows:

  • a report summary is next after the introduction
  • an industry overview follows and it covers the importance and history of the industry
  • other sections include markets by product type and markets by application and industry
  • major vendors, their operations and strategies are discussed in the company profiles section
  • global and regional operations and the nature and management of risks in international operations, are covered in the international operations section.


A study of actual life systems was made along with research and study of Web sites and current publications. Research consisted of collation and analysis of information gleaned from the various sources.


Chima Okereke has been an industry analyst on high technology subjects since 1996, and has a number of technical and commercial publications to his credit. Dr. Okereke is also skilled in the research and design of electronics and instrumentation systems, has thirteen years in operations management and has managed multidisciplinary projects comprising electrical, instrumentation, and automation systems. He has over eighteen years' experience in information technology and in the design and development of models, and the use of financial, statistical, and engineering packages. MBA, Ph.D., University of Bradford, U.K.

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