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Ever since the iPhone 5S featured fingerprint recognition in 2013, mobile biometrics has become hugely popular, and most major smartphone manufacturers now embed some form of biometrics technology into their products. It has become a necessity and as result, has been developed to become more user-friendly in recent years. This paves the way for a more widespread adoption in digital customer on-boarding, border security and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives in enterprises. It is increasing becoming clear that mobile biometrics can help stimulate revenue growth and improve customer experience.

The usage of biometric technology looks set to grow in the Asia-Pacific region on the back of higher smartphone penetration rates and the increasing number of transactions on mobile devices equipped with biometric capabilities. It is also expected that there will be a shift from device-based biometric authentication to a cloud-based in the near future, driven by cost-efficiency of cloud technology and its associated scalability. With this transition, biometrics can be used to secure transactions across all customer touch points. While there will be the associated security concerns and risks with this approach, industry will find ways to address this in due course.

Mobile biometric identification and authentication complement existing verification processes well, and will play an important role in the future, especially since the world is heading towards becoming mobile-first. The higher adoption of mobile transactions in Asia-Pacific, along with the convenience of biometrics authentication, will drive growth in the mobile biometrics market within the region. The technology is well positioned to complement and potentially replace traditional access control methods, such as PINs and passwords, security questions and even the use of physical personal identification.

Other than offering convenience and improvement on customer experience, governments in Asia-Pacific are starting to adopt biometric capabilities for national security, especially in terms of border control and citizens’ identification. India, in particular, has led the way in terms of government efforts in digitalizing citizens’ identification. Following closely is government activity leaning towards this direction in Australia and Singapore.

Within the industry ecosystem, mobile biometrics can help firms reduce IT costs associated with retrieving forgotten PINs and passwords and provide an additional layer of security to reduce the chances of hacking and data theft. Biometric authentication for mobile payment services is also starting to become the norm, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay having led the way in this field. Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and Financial Institutions (FI) are also much more straightforward with mobile biometrics as it reduces the risk of identity theft. Mobile biometrics can be used as part of an omnichannel cross company approach to customer authentication.

It is therefore imperative for MNOs, FIs and other industry ecosystem participants to leverage on biometrics as the next frontier in authentication, or risk losing market share. Customers now expect a more seamless and convenient, yet secure on-boarding process that they can use on the go, and biometrics fits this role perfectly.

Footnote:

The companies mentioned in this study include but are not limited to HID Global, Iris Corporation, Tascent, NEC, Idemia, Fingerprint Cards AB, Nuance Communications, Synaptics, Samsung SDS, Egis Technology, Suprema, Fujitsu, Cognitec Systems, Precise Biometrics, and Gemalto N.V.

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