Face, iris, and pulse sensors seen as next steps in biometrics security

The battle for the future of biometric modalities in consumer electronics is expected to become fiercer with each passing year as face and iris recognition are continuously gaining strength, threating to soon cannibalize on fingerprint technologies.

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Analyst firm ABI Research said that as ASPs (average selling prices) for iris modules drop, and the once timid face recognition is continuously honed with more sophisticated machine learning algorithms, they will both slowly start to eat away at fingerprint implementations.

Apple’s choice to forego fingerprints and focus on face recognition for the iPhone X and Samsung’s choice to focus on iris recognition for the Galaxy S8 and S9 have fast-tracked this realization.

However, fingerprint technologies won’t go down without a fight as multiple innovative vendors including FPC, Qualcomm, Synaptics and Goodix introduce more robust, spoof-resistant sensors and a brand new “poster-boy” for fingerprints: the invisible, under-display sensor.

“Even though fingerprint sensor ASPs have taken a significant hit over the last couple of years, total fingerprint sensor shipments for the entire consumer market is still estimated to reach 1.2 billion worldwide for 2018, thus ensuring its market dominance,” commented Dimitrios Pavlakis, industry analyst for ABI Research.

“However, from established markets such as banking and payments to emerging ones like automotive and future-looking ones including robotics, we expect to see an increase in multi-modal applications and a scenario where biometrics is a critical component of a user’s digital ID in the emerging IoT ecosystem.”

With the rise of card-less biometric ATMs developed by Diebold Nixdorf and Samsung, automotive investments by major car OEMs like GM, Nissan, BMW and Volvo, and governmental mandates in Asia-Pacific seeking to expand biometrics further into banking, consumer, and telecoms, the single-modality pattern will shift radically.

“Multimodal user authentication in the Internet of Things will not be another gimmicky option – it will be the security norm,” concluded Pavlakis.

Established vendors are advised to plan accordingly and expand their biometric portfolio depending on the choice of market vertical.

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