2016 Year in Review Comment:Mark Crego
04 January 2017 15:22 GMT

Mark Crego is master technology architect and Managing Director of Borders Industry Innovation at Accenture Defense and Public Safety

2016 was an unprecedented year in the biometrics/identity industry, owing, significantly to some key trends. 

1.            Consolidation and acquisition of major players.  Both Safran and 3M sold their biometrics divisions to organizations focused on credentialing: Safran Morpho joins forces with Oberthur, and 3M announced the sale of their entire identity management line to Gemalto.  These two represent a majority of the major large-scale biometrics installations worldwide, leaving NEC as the remaining vendor not directly affiliated with credential issuance. 

2.            The Unique Identification Authority of India passed a major milestone of enrolling over one billion residents.  When the program started in 2010, few people thought this goal would be achievable.  The original plan envisioned 700-800 million enrolments by 2017 – to achieve one billion a year earlier is a stellar accomplishment.

3.            The refugee crisis emphasized the need for strong identity management among all populations.

4.            Brexit as a harbinger, demonstrating the push towards stronger, smarter borders in Europe and across the globe.

These trends demonstrate that the biometrics/identity industry is maturing, consolidating, and becoming business as usual, and yet there is still vast, unrealized potential utilizing biometrics to increase financial inclusion, establish individual identity, and strengthen security globally.  We should look toward the future, seeking

-              Ubiquitous biometrics-enabled credentials, empowered by the two major acquisitions

-              Increase of utilization of national identity to solve major immigration and security concerns

-              Smart Borders legislation and execution in Europe in order to address the increasingly complex border management needs of the EU.