Biometrics Year In Review 2015: Top Applications

December is here and 2015 is quickly coming to a close. It has been a year of major activity in identity management, with ground shaking announcements coming from each of the verticals and a continued momentum in consumer adoption of biometrics.

Here at FindBiometrics we are strong believers in the biometrics community, and so as has become annual tradition, we have once again asked you to weigh in on the state of the identity management industry in 2015. We had 158 FindBiometrics readers take our 13th annual Biometrics Year in Review Survey, and have compiled the results in order to capture what the trends are on the ground floor. Throughout December we will be releasing these results, with commentary and analysis, bringing you a unique perspective of the present state of global identity management.

Welcome to the 13th Annual FindBiometrics Year in Review!

The Year of FinTech?

It is important, when talking about the biometrics industry as a whole, to underline that while certain areas of application may seem dominant there is still growth across the global market. That having been said, the majority of our readership agrees that two biometric applications have particularly defined 2015: financial services and mobile device access.

Interesting application 2015 pie

Financial Services

Biometrics Year In Review 2015: Top Applications

31.65 percent of our respondents picked financial services as the most interesting area of biometric application in 2015, and it’s not hard to see why. This year has seen the launch of two major mobile payments services—Samsung Pay and Android Pay—each of which depend on fingerprint authentication, and Apple Pay continued to gain traction with new supporters throughout the year. Looking beyond the three major mobile wallets, though, is where you will find the really interesting biometric FinTech news of the 2015.

Banks have embraced biometric authentication in very real ways over the past year. As we explored in Financial Biometrics Month, banking applications offer opportunities for a diverse range of modalities, and have proven to be popular among customers through real deployments. Vascular biometrics, cardiac signature recognition, voice, face and iris all made their own headlines in this year’s financial identity news. Further to this, some of the biggest financial services providers in the world, MasterCard and Visa, have readily invested in biometrics, aiming to guide the leading edge of a new revolution in FinTech.

Mobile Device Access

Mobile BiometricsThe momentum in mPayments listed above is enabled by innovations in our second most popular application as chosen by our respondents: mobile device access. 21.52 percent of the readers polled in our Year in Review picked this area of application as the most interesting. It is hard to argue against the assertion too, with an incredible amount of mobile biometrics news to back it up. In 2015 we have seen iris, fingerprint, face, voice and multi-factor authentication made readily available to consumers across the globe, with nary a week going by without at least one announcement of a new smartphone featuring some kind of biometric security.

2015 is particularly notable in this regard, as it signals the beginning of a multimodal mobile biometrics paradigm across all device price points. Biometric software is enabling mobile access control on smartphones without embedded sensors while OEMs are consistently launching mid-range and budget handsets with fingerprint capabilities.

Border Control

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-woman-earth-globe-white-short-outdoors-water-reflection-1000x666Coming in third place in terms of interest, we see border control, which has been of particular relevance as of late, with the world at war with terrorist threats and the largest refugee crisis since WW2. Biometric border control has been pushed as a way to secure international boundaries while making travel easier for cleared travelers. In 2015 we have seen both controversy and great support for border control deployments, with biometric passports and visa programs implemented, as well as new technologies deployed at border checkpoints.

Law Enforcement, Enterprise and Healthcare

Healthcare Feature sizeLaw enforcement garnered some interest this year, while healthcare and enterprise rounded out the bottom of the results. The placement of these areas of application is telling, less in terms of what has happened in the industries, and more in terms of how each measures up against mobility and FinTech when it comes to popularity. Law enforcement was very visible last year, thanks to the successful deployment of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification program, but this year no such major milestone dominated the news. That said, the conversation around biometric law enforcement was very dynamic in 2015, with an increased level of adoption by police forces, big product releases, and the occasional controversy surrounding the privacy issues in using facial recognition databases.

Healthcare, while being more of a news fixture than usual thanks to the increased role of vital biometrics in remote care, is still in a nascent stage when it comes to the adoption of biometric authentication, and the results reflect as much. Enterprise seems to be in a similar situation. Both applications seem to present great opportunities for biometrics, especially with the proliferation of mobile biometrics and the constant threat of data breaches, so expect this interest to change as we enter 2016 and the technology advances to address the cost and risk demands of these verticals.


Biometrics Year In Review 2015: Top Applications

In our “Other” category we received some very interesting single responses along with one enthusiastic “All of the above” which was submitted with an apologetic “(sorry).” Education made the list twice, and while it wasn’t prolific in the news, much progress was made in bringing biometric security and attendance solutions to schools this year. One respondent mentioned data centers, an area of biometric access control that is proving to be quite crucial in the age of cloud computing. And perhaps our most intriguing submission from a survey take in the other category was newborn/infant ID—something that we can see catching traction as national ID programs around the world continue to spring up and serve the traditionally under-documented citizens of the world.


Stick with FindBiometrics throughout December as we bring you more results from our 13th annual Year in Review. Be a part of the conversation by following us on Twitter and tweeting with the hashtag #FB2015.