Year in Review: A Status Quo Surprise for the Most Exciting Biometric Modalities

Year in Review: A Status Quo Surprise for the Most Exciting Biometric Modalities
The 2019 FindBiometrics Year in Review is brought to you, in part, by BioConnect.

When it comes to the matter of which biometric modality was the most exciting one in 2019, the big question going into the latest edition of the annual FindBiometrics Year in Review survey – to one industry watcher, at least – was whether fingerprint recognition would take back some of the spotlight that facial recognition has hogged since Apple’s pivot to face-based authentication at the end of 2017. Now, the results are in, and the answer seems to be: no.

Plus ça change… The modalities traded one percentage point. Facial recognition was voted the most exciting biometric modality of 2018, taking 37 percent of the vote, while fingerprint recognition came in at 14 percent. In the latest survey, facial recognition once again came in first, at 36 percent, while fingerprint recognition took 15 percent of the vote.

The status quo results may come as a surprise to those who have watched a growing number of smartphone makers embrace innovative in-display fingerprint sensor technology over the past year, which seemed to offer some new buzz to a mobile feature that is now very commonplace. But facial recognition also continued its ascent in the mobile sphere in 2019, and has been increasingly prominent across a number of other application areas as well – sometimes with a substantial amount of controversy. Even in those cases, it’s certainly exciting.

Meanwhile, second place once again went to the trick answer – multimodality, which took 24 percent of the vote this time. Multimodality, with its combination of what are often already highly secure single modalities – is widely seen as the most secure approach to biometric authentication, so it makes sense for this to be a popular category. But it is down from last year, when it got 28 percent of the vote. That may be thanks in part to serious gains for the category of behavioral biometrics, which received four percent of the vote in FindBiometrics’ 2018 Year in Review survey, and shot up to 10 percent in the 2019 results. That’s more than double, and suggests that while this particular modality tends to operate in the background – often unbeknownst to end users – a growing number of professionals in the industry are starting to pay attention to it.


The 2019 FindBiometrics Year in Review is made possible by our sponsors: Aware, Inc.ClearIDEMIASecuGenIris IDFacePhiJumioBioConnectBIO-key.

January 14, 2020 – by Alex Perala