Biometric technologies - Statistics & Facts

Biometrics is the measurement and analysis of people's physical characteristics. Since biometric data is unique to each individual, it is often used to identify individuals, giving rise to biometrics authentication as a form of identification and access control – computers are able to search and store such data in seconds to identify, authenticate, and make decisions on whether or not to allow access. As the technology has developed, biometric technology usage is changing from primarily criminal identification to a wide range of everyday tasks, such as unlocking a smartphone. Many different markets of biometric tech exist today, most of which seem to be growing rapidly. Global biometric systems brought in around 21.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, while mobile biometric technologies brought in just over 20 billion. The technology is used in airports, military applications, businesses, and is becoming increasingly popular among everyday consumers.

Over 75 percent of consumers have used some sort of biometric technology, ranging from fingerprint scanning and facial recognition to signature dynamics and hand geometry. A recent study in the Netherlands found that around 20 percent of all consumers had used fingerprint recognition at sometime within the previous year, and that the most common use case among these consumers was unlocking a mobile device. Biometric tech is becoming so widely used in mobile devices that estimates suggest that 100 percent of new smartphone shipments will contain biometric tech by 2019, with tablets and wearables expected to reach this 100 percent threshold just a year later in 2020. In addition to mobile hardware, many applications themselves are offering biometric support. Mobile wallet apps are increasingly using biometrics for transactions and a host of apps can be used to create additional security layers.

Businesses are also seeing the security and convenience advantages of utilizing biometric technologies can add to their organization. The finance and technology industries have been particularly quick to adopt the technologies, and as of 2018 are its largest users. When it comes to authentication for organizations, on-site solutions remain the most popular, but as more mobile devices are outfitted with the technology, mobile solutions are becoming important as well. Business are utilizing the technology in a variety of other ways in addition to simply securing mobile devices: 17 percent are using it for their time clock system, 11 percent for server room door locks, and smaller percentages for email usage and applications with sensitive data Apple’s Touch ID and Face ID technologies are the most popular in their respective categories, placing the company firmly at the forefront of the growing industry.

While the technology is helpful in increasing security and convenience in many ways, it does create some new risks. With consumers increasingly worried about data privacy, biometric data only increases this fear. IT professionals view the technology as one of the most secure forms of authentication available, but many still fear the risk of false positives and or compromised identifiers. The advantages seem to heavily outweigh the fears, driving revenues and usage rates higher every year, and IT and cyber security professionals are investing heavily into biometric technology as a way of ensuring the continued success of their companies. Overall, biometric technology has established itself as an integral security feature in a world that is becoming more digital every day, and hence requires increasingly advanced methods of securing information.

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