Year in Review 2014: The Most Important Biometrics News

The end of January is here and it’s time to bring the 12th annual FindBiometrics Year in Review to a close. Over the past weeks we have dissected and discussed the results of our largest survey ever, which saw over 150 professionals and experts from the identity management industry weighing in on the state of biometrics. First we looked at the hottest spaces, then the most exciting verticals, last week we discussed the major industry challenges and now it’s time to see what the industry chose as the top events of 2014.


Next Generation Identification, Courtesy of the FBI

Despite biometric commerce taking the top spot in other categories this year, and law enforcement trailing somewhere in the middle space, there can be no denying the fact that the full activation of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification program was a massive event. Many years in the making (the first increment of NGI was rolled out in 2011), NGI revolutionizes how biometrics and justice fit together while also celebrating the long history identity technology shares with law enforcement.

Here are the top articles from 2014 dealing with the most important industry news item of the year: the activation of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification program.

FBI Activates Next Generation Identification System, Preserves Historical Biometrics

Witness The Power of the FBI’s Fully Armed And Operational NGI Suite

Lockheed Martin Played Key Role FBI’s NGI Deployment

Law Enforcement Biometrics Month: Next Generation Identification

Judge Weighs In On Privacy and NGI Facial Biometrics

Paying With Your iPhone

In close second for top spot we have the introduction of Apple Pay: the mobile wallet from the makers of the iPhone. Leveraging the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ built in fingerprint sensor and NFC capabilities, Apple Pay is a massive leap forward in the consumer adoption of mobile biometric applications.

What started as an almost too big and too ambitious to be true rumor concerning the major partnerships that would have to be involved to allow for such a technology to come to market, the Apple Pay announcement rocked September and resonated throughout the remainder of the year.

Here is what we talked about in 2014 when we talked about Apple Pay.

Apple Teaming up With MasterCard, Visa and AmEx For iPhone 6 Mobile Wallet

Apple Announces Two New iPhones, a Mobile Wallet and a Smartwatch

ShopKeep Says NFC and Apple Pay are ‘the Future of the Payment Industry’

Apple Puts Biometrics In the Hands of Over 10 Million Customers

Mobile Biometrics Month Feature 2: Apple’s New Biometric Devices

Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Alipay All Poised to Face Off in Chinese Market

Nok Nok Labs Speaks in Support of Apple Pay

Apple’s Commerce and Privacy Focus Marks Fundamental Industry Transformation

The Rest of The Best

2014 might belong to biometric mCommerce and the FBI in terms of the biggest news stories, but the year was filled with major identity management milestones: Fingerprint sensors became increasingly prolific, finding their way into upcoming smartphone and credit card designs; border control received some encouraging market forecasts while Big Data, cloud technology and biometrics converging to allow for better enterprise and public safety applications; the FIDO Alliance published the final 1.0 drafts of its two specifications.

Sometimes the news can be challenging though, and mounting privacy concerns brought biometrics to the front of industry discussion. In Florida, privacy concerns led to the banning of the collection of student biometrics throughout the state this year in one of the most talked about, albeit unfortunate, identity management news stories of the year.

Here are the biggest news items – good and bad – of 2014:

Zwipe and MasterCard Team Up To Launch Biometric Payment Card

IBIA Responds To Florida Student Biometrics Ban

Automated Border Control eGates and Kiosk Market to Exceed $1.2 Billion by 2020, Europe Set To Dominate

An IBIA Special Webinar Presentation – Privacy and the Commercial Use of Biometrics

FIDO Publishes Final 1.0 Specification Drafts, Kills Passwords

Mobile Biometrics Experience Happiest Holidays Yet, More To Come In Christmas Future

Face Recognition and Big Data Analysis Bringing Efficiency To Law Enforcement


And so concludes the 12th annual FindBiometrics Year in Review. The discussion doesn’t have to end here though. Follow us on Twitter and tell us what you thought of 2014 in identity management by using the hashtag #FBYearInReview.

January 28, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter