With July upon us, the team at ID R&D is pausing to reflect on the results of the first half of 2020 — not just as a company but as part of a biometric authentication industry that may finally be at a real tipping point.
In this post we’ll share what we are seeing in the market based on conversations with prospects, customers, and partners. We’ll also provide data points specific to our business so far this year.
What is driving increased biometric authentication adoption right now?
1) The impacts of COVID
COVID has created enormous disruption and challenges for many institutions and industries. New solutions are popping up overnight that biometrics fulfill. Specifically, we’ve seen increased inquiries and projects around the following drivers:
- Demand for touchless access. Whether it be PIN pads, card readers, or kiosks, people don’t want to touch them. Technologies like voice biometrics and face recognition enable hands-free authentication and access.
- The need for secure remote authentication. With more people working, shopping, banking, attending classes, and visiting doctors from home, cybercrime incidents are surging. Biometrics offer strong security that protects users from phishing attacks, data breaches and other vulnerabilities associated with passwords, PINs, and “secret questions”.
- Increased digital onboarding. Even in the midst of COVID, businesses including banks, healthcare providers, and telcos need to onboard new customers. Additionally, companies who are hiring need to remotely onboard new employees. Identity verification is a critical part of ensuring that a user is really who they claim to be. Face biometrics and facial liveness detection to prevent spoofing are critical in the process. While demand for improved digital onboarding was on the rise before COVID, we now see accelerated projects across more industries with a requirement for passive facial liveness to keep added friction out of the process and reduce abandonment.
2) Passwords still suck
Password headaches aren’t a new problem, but as more data breaches occur, more information is for sale on the dark web and everyone is at increased risk. Bad password hygiene only compounds the problem. Companies have tried to address the issues with forced password resets, password “rules”, and multi-factor authentication solutions — all tactics that increase user frustration and negatively impact the customer experience. All that effort, and most approaches still leave users vulnerable.
Beyond the security risks, passwords are hard to remember and challenging to use with mobile devices and a growing number of IoT applications. Meanwhile, companies are spending large amounts of money on password issues and management.
Biometrics technologies like voice and face have seen massive accuracy gains. The introduction of liveness detection for anti-spoofing further solidifies the viability of biometrics for passwordless authentication and a better user experience.
3). Consumer familiarity with biometrics
Consumers are becoming more comfortable with biometric authentication thanks largely to the use of face recognition and fingerprints for unlocking our mobile devices. Mercator estimates that 41% of smartphone owners are using biometrics today — up from 27% a year ago in 2019. And a recent study by Visa found that 86% of consumers are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or to make payments.
ID R&D 1H 2020 Results
In looking at our results for 2020 so far, we believe that ID R&D’s rapid growth is attributable to having best-in-class products in what is now globally a hot market. ID R&D signed 3x more customers in Q2 2020 than in Q2 2019. We now have customers in 17 countries with accelerated adoption in developing markets such as South America, Africa, and Asia. ID R&D has doubled its staff since the first six months of 2019 and is now hiring in additional locations to support increased sales and partner activity globally.
Many of the new partner customers we signed in 2020 came to us with active projects for passive facial liveness. With flexible, stateless SDKs and device-agnostic products, ID R&D was well positioned to provide best-in-class capabilities in short timeframes.
We also see use cases for voice biometric authentication expanding. For example, demand for fraud prevention in Telco call centers specifically drove the launch of IDFraud™ Contact Center – a product that is quickly gaining momentum with telcos looking to curtail new subscriber fraud and revenue loss.
Is this growth short lived? While the pandemic may have driven increased demand for remote access and onboarding, the conveniences and security offered by biometrics are proving to be compelling for both enterprises and users. We see strong and continued growth in inbound inquiries for our passive facial liveness product, voice biometrics, and voice anti-spoofing — confirming a trend that is here to stay.
Industry advisory groups also advocate taking action now with biometric authentication. For example, ID R&D was named to FinTech Global’s CyberTech100 list. The list identifies 100 innovative companies to serve as a guide for financial institutions as they develop their information security and financial crime fighting strategies.
Finally, fear of what will happen with deepfakes is driving forward-looking work in these uncertain times. As we look to expand our product portfolio in the future, three teams of ID R&D scientists participated in the Facebook Deepfake Detection Challenge (DFDC). All three teams claimed gold medal placements on the leaderboards with top 10 finishes out of over 2000 entries.
To summarize, it’s clear from all these data points that biometric authentication is playing an ever-increasing role in security. If you’re not already engaged in learning about biometrics now is the time, so contact us. We’d love to talk with you.