IDEX hosted its Investor Update this morning in Oslo, and as anticipated, the firm placed a strong focus on the enormous potential it sees in biometric payment cards.
In its presentation, the company drew a line between what it called the ‘first wave’ of biometric adoption and the ‘second wave’ that’s about to start. The first wave was pioneered by Apple, whose Touch ID fingerprint scanner system for the iPhone played a huge role in popularizing biometric technology among the public and helping the technology to go mainstream. The second wave, IDEX says, will revolve around biometric payment and ID cards. And this wave will be led by Mastercard, which began to trial biometric payment cards this year.
The technology used in those trials came, of course, from IDEX. The company revealed its role this past April, after the first successful trials in South Africa, and IDEX has subsequently reported “extremely positive customer feedback” about the solution from a more recent trail in Bulgaria. In its recent Q3 update, IDEX indicated that Mastercard is planning additional trials of the technology in Europe as well as the APAC region, and that a commercial rollout is expected for early 2018.
And that, in turn, will catalyze the second wave of biometric adoption, IDEX said in its Investor Update. As one of the two biggest credit card companies in the world, Mastercard is in a position to encourage adoption among banks and other financial services partners, push ahead through the certification process, promote the new biometric cards to customers, and even help to shape industry standards through bodies like EMVCo.
IDEX, meanwhile, isn’t simply the lucky sensor supplier that gets to ride Mastercards’ coattails: The company says its off-chip sensor solution is essential to the project, offering lower costs for larger sensors, and the kind of flexibility needed for smart card applications. And the company has reported interest in this technology from clients other than Mastercard as well, announcing in August that “a major Asian authentication and security card customer” had placed an order, for example.
Of course, IDEX’s presentation to investors noted the applications of its technology across other markets, too – namely the mobile sector and the Internet of Things. But its main emphasis was on biometric payment cards, with the company asserting that there is an addressable market of between $750 million and $1.5 billion, and that its aim is to have marketshare in excess of 30 percent in 2020.
It’s an ambitious goal, yet one that acknowledges IDEX isn’t operating in a vacuum. There has been growing excitement around biometric payment cards for months, and other sensor makers and solutions providers have been ramping up their activities, too. But with its key partnership and its off-chip technology, IDEX is clearly betting big on this venture, and hoping that investors will buy in, too.