Georg Hasse is Head of Consulting at the Homeland Security Division with secunet Security Networks AG
As already stated last year, due to the markets served by secunet my view on biometrics in 2016 is somewhat biased.
However, the first thing crossing my mind when reminiscing about the biometrics industry in 2016 is mergers and acquisitions. Safran having entered into exclusive negotiations with Advent, Oberthur’s shareholder, to acquire Morpho and the recent announcement that Gemalto will acquire 3M’s Identity Management Business for USD 850m, prove to me that consolidation in our industry is picking up speed. If those mergers and acquisitions will make the customers as happy as the shareholders remains to be seen.
Taking a look at the larger projects, Smart Borders and the Smart Borders pilots have played an important role in our industry – at least in Europe. From my point of view, the main issues around Smart Borders respectively an Entry-Exit-System are not technical issues, but policy issues and thus will take time to be sorted out. Nevertheless the extended Smart Borders pilot in Germany has led to the first installation of border control kiosks at Frankfurt airport and I am looking forward to seeing the first results of this pilot.
Last but not least, biometrics in commercial markets as well as in commercial products have finally arrived and are widely accepted – though the increase in convenience is much more important than the potential increase in security. Nowadays bank customers can open new accounts by taking a selfie picture in order to verify their identity. That is certainly a very convenient and fast way of opening a new account, but is it also a more secure way for the customer and/or the bank that needs to verify the claimed identity of a new customer?
Looking back at 2016 I am already looking forward to plenty of exiting projects in 2017 !