The ripple effects of Apple’s move to facial recognition with the iPhone X are already being seen across the mobile biometrics industry.
With the company having pioneered the mobile fingerprint scanning revolution with its Touch ID system over the last four years, many had looked to Apple to lead the charge to in-display fingerprint scanning with this year’s big new iPhone. That technology has failed to materialize, but Apple’s leadership is nevertheless now pushing the industry forward in a slightly different direction with its introduction of Face ID.
In a new note to investors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Face ID may fully replace Touch ID on future Apple devices, and asserts that Android-based rivals are taking note and already adopting similar technologies. Kuo urges investors “seize the opportunity to accumulate supply chain shares,” and predicts that suppliers affiliated with facial recognition technologies will see strong growth over the next three to five years.
Demand already seems to be percolating. FaceFirst CEO Peter Trepp tells Bloomberg that in the wake of the iPhone X announcement, his software firm is “getting lots of calls” about facial recognition technology, adding, “It’s clearly coming in a very big way.” Meanwhile, SensibleVision CEO George Brostoff says his mobile facial recognition company is “currently working with or in discussions with virtually all of the world’s phone manufacturers,” and says he expects to be bought out within a year. Meanwhile, in the world of mobile fingerprint sensor technology, one of the biggest suppliers in the world, Fingerprint Cards, recently issued a revised revenue guidance for Q3, thanks in large part to “a cautious market” that has resulted from Apple’s recent announcement.
That’s not to say mobile fingerprint scanning is on its way out, of course – that is not at all clear, given the potential of in-display sensor technologies and demand for multi-factor options. But it is clear that facial recognition is on its way in.