Study: Homeland Security is catalyst for biometrics

Most of the biometric industry revenue generated from government spending in 2002 was for trial programs. But government spending for biometric equipment will experience strong growth in the second half of 2003 and beyond, as many agencies integrate biometrics, according to a new report by Allied Business Intelligence Inc. of Oyster Bay, N.Y.

"The U.S. government remains the largest potential buyer of biometric technology, and the newly formed Department of Homeland Security will be the catalyst for the biometric industry," said John Chang, ABI senior analyst and author of the report.

For example, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which will join the new department in January, is beginning to use biometrics with its border control systems. Facial recognition will be used at the border crossings to identify known felons.

In addition, fingerprint scanning and iris recognition are being tested as the authentication technology for travelers who cross the borders frequently, according to ABI.

Wider deployments of biometric technology can occur by late 2003, depending on how quickly the vendors can integrate their technology into legacy security systems. By 2004, ABI expects government trials to develop into large orders of biometric equipment.

According to ABI, government agencies generated 15 percent of the total biometric industry revenue for 2002, spending $16.4 million. Forty-one percent of that money was spent on facial recognition technology.

In 2003, the biometric industry will generate $153 million in revenue, with annual growth through 2007 being about 47 percent.

ABI is a technology research think tank that publishes research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries.

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