National ID projects drive Asian biometrics market growth

Published 29 April 2008

National ID and e-passport programs drive growth of biometric market in Asia; fingerprinting remains the preferred biometric technology

Dublin, Ireland-based Research and Markets has released its “Biometrics Markets in Asia Pacific” report. The Asia Pacific (APAC) biometrics market is still in its early growth stages with National ID and e-Passport programs contributing to a large portion of the growth, the report says. National ID projects provide the widest and largest user base for biometrics in Asia at present. Invariably, every national ID project which has been implemented, or is in the pipeline, employs fingerprint or thumbprint as the biometric key. The Malaysian national ID card employs the thumbprint as the identifying key. India, which is still in the pilot stage of the issuance of national ID cards, employs fingerprints as the identifying key. Other large-scale implementation projects such as the Chinese national ID and the Japanese national ID are expected to take to biometrics shortly. The high cost of implementing a biometric system, however, has been a restraint globally and the same is likely to be the case in the APAC region. End users looking at a security system are often weary of the high cost involved and tend to wait until there is a reduction. “This apart, the prolonged cycle time for the implementation of a biometric project is a significant restraint, especially when organizations are looking at a quick and seamless implementation,” notes the analyst of this research service. “Depending on the size of the project, the cycle time can vary anywhere from 6 to 18 months.”

Fingerprint identification is the most frequently used biometric technology, accounting for about 48 percent of use by all forms of biometric identification. Fingerprint sensors are the most commonly used sensors in the biometrics market because of its accuracy as well as the relatively low cost of the biometric scanner. Some of the devices in which fingerprint sensors are used include ATMs, time and attendance registers, cellular phones, PDAs, computer desktops, laptops, IT peripherals, and notebooks. The small size of the fingerprint scanner makes it suitable for all these devices. Fingerprint scanners are the largest revenue generators for the biometrics market.

Regionally, the Japanese, Chinese, and the Taiwanese markets are the most mature. Other countries that employ biometrics on a fairly medium scale include Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore. “Untapped countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines are still employing traditional means of security such as magnetic stripe cards and key pads,” says the analyst. “Given the lack of legacy systems as well as poor coverage of the present day security systems, these markets also possess the highest potential in the Asian biometrics market.”