New Trends in Biometrics and Hardware Authentication Analyzed in Latest IDC Research

FRAMINGHAM, MA – DECEMBER 17, 2001 – According to IDC, hardware authentication, especially biometrics, is undergoing metamorphosis. New research released by the global market intelligence and advisory firm indicates that two major trends are emerging within the hardware and biometric authentication markets since the September 11 events.


"Software platforms that support a heterogeneous mix of biometrics, tokens, and smart cards promise to boost security, reduce cost, and improve convenience," said Chris Christiansen, program vice president of IDC’s Internet Infrastructure and Security Software services. "Simultaneously, physical security and surveillance technologies are coalescing with both hardware and software authentication technologies. The events of September 11 only served to accelerate these market trends."

Physical and Information Security Combines Forces

The need to determine who individuals are and the functions they are permitted to perform has become paramount. IDC believes that the use of biometrics technology will reinforce and not replace current authentication methods such as passwords. IDC predicts that companies will adopt multiple authentication methods, including both biometric hardware and software solutions, to ensure a higher confidence in an individual’s identity.

Biometrics and other hardware authentication technologies will also bridge the current gap between physical and network access. The ability to ensure that only authorized individuals can enter a building, visit restricted departments, and utilize networked resources will be critical to reducing security threats.

The Shift Towards Biometric Software Solutions

The worldwide biometrics technology market reached $118.8 million in 2000 and will continue to increase over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate of 50%. IDC believes this market has changed focus with the movement towards providing software-only solutions for authentication needs, which signifies the market’s desire for convenient installation solutions. In many cases, authentication vendors are de-emphasizing hardware, partnering with consumer products manufacturers, and building technology-agnostic authentication software platforms.

IDC’s recently released Hardware and Biometric Authentication Part 2: The Fall Software Sequel (IDC #25802) provides in-depth analysis of the biometrics technology and the token and IT authentication markets. Included are five-year overall market and submarket forecasts, leading vendor profiles, and key trends.

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About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

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