The world got its first real taste of biometrics technology in 2013 when Apple released its Touch ID iPhone feature, since then biometrics are increasingly becoming part of everyday life.
The size of the global biometrics market is expected to grow by around 20% a year for the next five years and technology experts such as Anders Sorman-Nilsson believe biometrics will soon make documents such as passports as thing of the past.
There is, however, one issue biometrics technology companies have been grappling with – securing identity data.
The blockchain solution
New research, released this week, by US consultancy Frost and Sullivan has shown biometrics companies are partnering with blockchain technology companies at a rapid rate.
“Rising consumer demand for convenience without comprising security is driving companies to adopt biometric technologies, propelling the $4.60 billion market toward $11.10 billion by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 19.3%,” said Forst and Sullivan analyst, Ram Ravi.
Mr Ravi believes blockchain companies will be one of the biggest beneficiaries from that explosive growth.
“In response (to growing demand), biometric companies are establishing new partnerships with blockchain technology companies to deliver identity management solutions.
“With smart connected devices shifting customer preferences towards alternate commerce channels, biometric market players are quickly establishing blockchain strategies to augment their offering.”
‘Known Traveller Digital Identity’
One of the best current real-world examples of blockchain underpinning biometrics is the World Economic Forum’s ‘Known Traveller Digital Identity‘ pilot program.
Last month, the governments of Canada and The Netherlands began participating in the pilot program.
Travellers involved in the pilot can use their personal biometric data to travel between the two countries. The data is controlled by the individual and stored on a decentralised blockchain, accessible through a mobile phone.
“The excitement around digital identity underpinned by blockchain and biometrics is that there is now a solution pattern crystallising where users can be in control of their own data,” Blockchain consultant David Treat told Forbes, when the pilot began.
“They can decide with whom they want to share it, and for how long, and revoke that access at a later point.”