IDEX Bets Big On Smart Cards and In-Display Sensors

IDEX Bets Big On Smart Cards and In-Display SensorsIDEX’s revenues are down in its Q3 report, but the company expects a big pay-off from its biometric smart card activities.

A Costly Year So Far

The revenues amount to NOK 3.5 million for the quarter, compared to NOK 8.4 million in Q3 of 2016. Likewise, revenues for the first nine months of 2017 were NOK 15 million, compared to revenues of NOK 26.1 million in the corresponding period in 2016.

As for grand totals, the IDEX group saw a net loss of NOK 64.2 million for this quarter and a loss of NOK 190.5 million for the first nine months, compared to losses of NOK 59.2 million and NOK 158.6 million, respectively, in the corresponding periods in 2016. IDEX said operating expenses were the primary cause of the increased losses.

On the Cusp of a Smart Card Boom

Nevertheless, IDEX has seen significant progress in its efforts to promote its biometric sensors for smart cards and payment cards, and says that market for these solutions “is now on the cusp of mass commercialisation.” Its partner, Mastercard, completed two trials of biometric payment cards featuring IDEX sensors in South Africa earlier this year, and a third in Bulgaria; and IDEX says that end user feedback “was extremely positive on the convenience, security and ease of use of the card.” IDEX reports that Mastercard is planning additional trials in Europe and the APAC region, and that the solution will start to be assessed for formal certification by the end of this year, with a commercial rollout to follow in early 2018.

Meanwhile, IDEX says it has received an order for its smart card sensor technology from “a major Asian authentication and security card customer for government identification and access control” applications, and its report also highlights its recent innovation agreement with a global payments partner, and the use of its sensor technology in BIO-key’s new TouchLock TSA padlock device, which it characterizes as representing the kinds of opportunities that will continue to emerge with the evolution of the Internet of Things.

A ‘Unique Opportunity’ in Big-Screen Smartphones

As for the mobile market, IDEX is in hot pursuit of the same in-display fingerprint sensor technology that many other major players are after. So far, only a few biometrics specialists – most notably Qualcomm and Fingerprint Cards – have announced viable in-display sensor technology, but those solutions are unlikely to reach the market until sometime next year. For its part, IDEX says the mobile industry’s shift toward full-size displays represents “a unique future opportunity” for its off-chip technology, which “enables sensing arrays that are integrated into mobile displays.” To that end, IDEX “has assembled a very strong research and development team with deep experience in display integration,” with in-display integrations being the primary focus of its mobile business.

IDEX’ Q3 report arrives on the same day as its Capital Markets Day event in London, with its many predictions of future growth offering some assistance to IDEX representatives as they make their presentations.

November 2, 2017 – by Alex Perala