EyePhones packing Iris-scanning authentication to go mainstream

Analyst says Galaxy Note 7 will fire up the mobile biometrics market

ABI Research analyst Marina Lu has picked iris scanning as "one of the safest" means to secure user identities on smartphones.

The Singapore-based researcher says the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 released last month will help spread the technology and increase adoption of mobile payments.

Lu says the biometric authentication technology, which uses pattern recognition techniques to verify videos of user's irises, will help quell fears over the security of mobile payments.

He therefore forecasts global shipments of smartphones equipped with iris scanners will reach almost 300 million in 2021.

“As the iris is an unchanging, protected, and completely unique feature of the human body, smartphone vendors are gradually incorporating iris scanning capabilities into their products as a secure biometric identification solution to unlock devices or certify mobile payments,” Lu says.

“We find that users are still wary to rely on mobile payments due to security concerns, but iris scanning will help drive future mobile payment adoption.”

Fujitsu announced the first integration of iris scanning for smartphones in March last year ahead of Microsoft which built the technology into its Lumia 950 and 950 XL phone, and ZTE for its Nubia Prague S, and HP for the Elite x3.

Lu reckons other smartphone companies will follow suit predicting the technology will be a hit with users.

“At the moment, iris scanning is complementary to the more mature fingerprint scanning,” Lu says. “However, we expect iris scanning to gain more popularity due to its higher stability and less susceptibility to external damage."

She says the biometric device should be introduced into cheaper smartphones in the future. ®

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