Biometrics Emerging as the Fastest Growing Segment
North American Electronic Access Control Markets – Investment Analysis and Growth Opportunities reveals that revenues in this market totaled $1.32 billion in 2006, and estimates this to reach $4.19 billion in 2010. “The North American EAC market is increasingly driven by mandates and other standardization procedures undertaken across the different verticals,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Janani Sankaran. “Biometrics, in particular, is emerging as the fastest growing segment of the North American EAC market, benefiting tremendously from legislations such as the Aviation and Transport Security Act.” Furthermore, in recent months the biometrics industry has achieved a number of compliance milestones. For instance, INCITS and ANSI have approved the BioAPI standard, while INCITS 358-2002 Information Technology-BioAPI Specification and the Common Biometric Exchange File Format (CBEFF) have been augmented for international harmonization. The INCITS Technical Committee M1 has also become the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for biometrics in ISO/IEC JTC 1. All of these milestones indicate a fast maturing market. Besides biometrics, card-based and audio-video-based EAC segments will also experience growth in the next few years. While the emergence of contactless smart cards will contribute to the growth of the card-based EAC segment, the advent of IP-based surveillance systems will enhance the growth of audio-video-based EAC systems. However, existing investments in legacy systems could deter the pace of adoption for the more recent EAC systems. Moreover, the shift from magnetic stripe cards to smart cards is progressing at a slower than anticipated pace, and this represents a major challenge for the smart-card based EAC market. “Integration with legacy systems involves the strengthening of the distribution network, enabling it to be both software and hardware oriented," says Sankaran. “Additionally, the adoption of a licensing policy that suits all the participants in the value chain is also a significant challenge.” In order to advance market acceptance and growth, it is imperative to have licensing policies that not only promote end-user interests, but also ensure vendor profitability. Price reduction will also aid significantly in ensuring market growth, which will result from increased competition and consequently better quality products.