The changing face of security and access control

Gary Hills, Head of capital development at the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) had some interesting things to say at the recent FMP London event. [ed. I’m pretty sure FMP stands for Facility Management Professional, but I was shocked to see how popular the acronym is.]

The BBC is considering using biometric access controls at its buildings. (FM World)

Hills said the first phase of the BBC’s review had seen 15 control rooms consolidated into one.

He added: “Access ID is used – not biometrics yet, but [we are] looking at it for the second phase. [We] think it will be more acceptable now as they have it in schools and colleges.

“Security is now more a building management role and the information that comes through the control room can be used more widely for building management.”

Adam Vrankulj at Biometric Update ties the story back to recent industry forecasts for the access control market.

I predict some real upheaval in the market for security systems and access control. So far, large security providers have been able to keep their market walled off from competition from the providers of other types of networked information technology. If increasing numbers of facilities management professionals see the world as Gary Hills does, those days are numbered.

Twitter: April Biometric Chat – Growth of Global Biometrics Industry with Zack Martin of Avisian Publications

An archive of the chat is available at Storify

John has updated the M2SYS blog with the questions for the upcoming chat…

  1. Can you explain how Avisian is structured and what topics your publications cover?
  2. Do you see the biometric technology private sector is growing as fast as the analysts are predicting (by 2017 private sector will be a majority of the biometrics market)?
  3. What do you believe are the biggest obstacles to biometrics becoming an integral part of society to prevent fraud, assure electors are who they claim to be, etc.?
  4. We have seen a lot of consolidation in the biometric technology industry; do you believe that will continue?
  5. How will mobile solutions change the market in the future?
  6. Will the recent experiment with using biometrics for retail payments in France developed by National Security and PayTango’s project at Carnegie Mellon ever translate into mainstream use of the technology for the average consumer?
  7. Which biometric modalities currently in testing and additional research and development do you believe stand the best chance to become legitimate hardware solutions in the near future?

Those are good questions sure to make for a lively conversation. Details on how you can participate follow.

April 25, 2013 11:00 am EST, 8:00 am PST, 16:00 pm BST, 17:00 pm (CEST), 23:00 pm (SGT), 0:00 (JST)

Where: (or Twitter hashtag #biometricchat)

Janet Fouts, at her blog, describes the format:

Twitter chats, sometimes known as a Twitter party or a tweet chat, happen when a group of people all tweet about the same topic using a specific tag (#) called a hashtag that allows it to be followed on Twitter. The chats are at a specific time and often repeat weekly or bi-weekly or are only at announced times.

There’s more really good information at the link for those who might be wondering what this whole tweet chat thing is all about.

The prospects for growth in the global biometrics industry, potential obstacles to continued growth, industry consolidation, mobile biometrics for authentication and identification, biometrics for retail payments, and new biometric modalities

More at the M2SYS blog.

Earlier topics have included:
Mobile biometrics
Workforce management
Biometrics in the cloud
Law enforcement
Privacy again
Biometrics for global development
Large-scale deployments

Modalities such as iris and voice have also come in for individual attention.

I always enjoy these. Many thanks to John at M2SYS for putting these together.

Biometrics market forecast…

INDUSTRY FORECAST: Biometric Market Forecast to 2014 (RNCOS)

Key bits:

  • Asia-Pacific region has been emerging as the fastest growing destination for biometric solution applications
  • CAGR of around 21% during 2012-2014
  • AFIS recognition currently dominates the global biometric technology market
  • Other tools are gaining ground
  • Companies are looking for such software products which reduce time spent on integration, and biometric authentication in multi-layer security architecture would be the next big thing in network security.

That last one can be the determining factor for whether or not a Return on Investment rationale exists for adding a biometric capability. At SecurLinx, it also happens to be our specialty.

Start with the applications

10 Big Data Trends From the GigaOM Structure Data Conference (eweek)Good observations having broad applicability in understanding how the recipe for organizational success is being rewritten. Read the whole thing.

Money quote:

While big data might be getting ahead of itself in enterprise promises, it is real in bringing new capabilities to business. You need to think about the skills you have in your company and developing the data skills to adapt to this new model. Open source, which often has a bit of a fringe reputation in the enterprise, will be part of your technology future. Established vendors are going to promise they can give you all the capabilities of the startups with added stability, but I haven’t seen any evidence so far. Think about your applications from the outside in, instead of inside out.

The application, not the technology, is everything.

Market Analysis: Iris biometrics

Iris Biometrics – Global Strategic Business Report (Research & Markets)

Prominent among the contactless biometric identification technologies, Iris biometrics identifies an individual by analyzing random colored patterns within human irises, which are unique to each individual and do not easily alter over lifetime. Relatively young in the biometric identification market with commercial availability only since 1995, iris biometrics, thanks to its swift results, low failure to error rates and high accuracy levels, is however fast proving to be a preferred choice of biometric identification in a range of applications.

Growth in the iris biometrics market until now has been largely driven by increased adoption of the technology in travel and immigration segment and physical access control applications.

The summary of the report is very optimistic about the future of iris biometrics.

Market Analysis: 2012 Physical Security in Financial Services in the United States

“Card readers and keypads are more widely used in financial services facilities than biometric readers. However, use of biometrics is expected to grow significantly within the next five years.” (

Roughly one-third of the surveyed companies from the financial sector do not measure return-on-investment (ROI) on their physical security investments. Security of data, assets, clients, and employees is top priority; thus, ROI measurement is sometimes not a neccessity. In cases for which ROI is measured, it is typically done via indirect measures (e.g., general increase of safety), and generally managers do not employ quantitative indices.

findBIOMETRICS: 10th Anniversary Year in Review

findBIOMETRICS Year in Review 2012 (findBIOMETRICS)

This is the largest yearly global snapshot of our industry and over the past 10 years we have seen so many changes. The industry is entering into a serious growth phase right now. So many companies are reporting new markets, new verticals, new and innovative product lines, new partnerships and new deployments…several in the hundreds of millions of enrollees. There is a clear indication that GROWTH is where we are heading over the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what the Identity and Biometrics world will look like then.

We received responses from Canada, Spain, Russia, China, Ireland, Brazil, Hong Kong, Sweden, Germany, UK, Israel, France, Korea, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Lithuania, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Malaysia and the USA.

Unisys exec. on the biometrics industry in India

Unisys sees scope in taking biometrics to bottom of pyramid: John Kendall (DNA)

A low-profile sector so far, biometrics is gaining traction, courtesy several large-scale government projects. The private sector too is catching up with adoption of biometrics, thus making India a key market that cannot be ignored any more, John Kendall, director, national security programme at Unisys, tells KV Ramana.

46%, 48%? I’ve seen some huge CAGR forecasts for the Indian biometrics industry lately.

Unisys exec. on biometrics in India

Unisys sees scope in taking biometrics to bottom of pyramid: John Kendall (DNA India)

A low-profile sector so far, biometrics is gaining traction, courtesy several large-scale government projects. The private sector too is catching up with adoption of biometrics, thus making India a key market that cannot be ignored any more, John Kendall, director, national security programme at Unisys, tells KV Ramana.

See also, a recent industry forecast of 46% CAGR for biometrics in India.

Fingerprint sensors market $255 million by 2018

Global fingerprint sensors market the most popular form of biometric technology — The global fingerprint sensors market has been forecast to hit a value of US$255 million by 2018, driven by technological advancements and growth in several Internet applications. Social networks’ demand for a robust mechanism for securing the digital identity of users represents another important growth driver. (Companies & Markets)

First word about the FTC report

I’ll have much more to say on the topic, perhaps later today, but the first clutch of analysis of the FTC’s findings following the Face Facts workshop is starting to come out.

The best two examples I have seen so far are:
FTC Issues Privacy Guidelines for Facial Recognition Technology (eWeek)
FTC Issues Guidelines for Facial Recognition (Multichannel News)

Brian Prince at eWeek gets, I think, gets at two very important aspects of the FTC’s efforts: the degree to which Facebook is the elephant in the room; and the dissenting voice of Commissioner Thomas Rosch who thought releasing the report at all was a mistake.

John Eggerton at Multichannel News gives a down the middle summary of each of the two points of view (pro and con). Then he really gives the dissent the attention it deserves. The quotes from Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, that close the article are highly appropriate.

A couple of updates from the industry

AOptix Announces Company Reorganization (Security Info Watch)

Last week, AOptix, a California-based developer of biometric identity and wireless communications solutions, announced that it is reorganizing the company into two distinct business units; Identity Solutions and Communications.

EyeLock Inc. announced Texas-based McDonald Technologies International will manufacture the EyeSwipe-Nano® and EyeSwipe-Nano TS products. (Press Release via Melodika)

“EyeLock is growing rapidly and has conducted a comprehensive search for the right manufacturing partner to support our growth and global distribution,” said Jim Demitrieus, Chief Executive Officer of EyeLock Inc. “Finding a domestic manufacturing partner was of the utmost importance to the company and MTI’s location will allow us to work closely with their engineers to continually improve upon our value proposition.”

Trickle Down Security

Kind of like GPS.

FBI’s Facial Recognition Program: Better Security Through Biometrics. The FBI’s facial recognition technology is a boon for law enforcement–and perhaps soon for enterprise and consumer security as well. (Information Week)

An important and often overlooked topic broached in the article is whether the more profound applications of biometric ID management technologies will be in commercial processes rather than law enforcement.

Deciding whether or not to incarcerate someone is very different than deciding whether to transfer property from a store owner to a customer. Naturally, different standards of identification and ID certainty will apply. I continue to think that private sector application of biometrics will eventually dwarf deployments in the public sector because in the private sector biometrics simply have to help people confront existing challenges better than the status quo coping mechanism. In the ultimate law enforcement setting, a court of law, they have to clear a standard that becomes less actuarial and more closely approximate of perfection in individual circumstances.