Contract Watch: Grab Your Piece of the Bioimetrics Action

James Bond has used biometrics for nearly four decades. After several false starts, the technology is finally fit for the rest of us. Now, solutions providers are eager to cash in.

By Joseph C. Panettieri James Bond has used biometrics for nearly four decades. After several false starts, the technology is finally fit for the rest of us. Now, solutions providers are eager to cash in.

Just ask Unisys Corp., which has won a 20-month contract with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worth up to $17 million. Under terms of the deal, Unisys will deploy biometric and surveillance technologies at 20 undisclosed airports. The biometric technologies will potentially include fingerprinting, facial recognition and iris scanning.

Admittedly, early sales of biometric technologies didnt live up to expectations. The International Biometric Group (IBG) LLC says worldwide biometric sales were a nominal $600 million in 2002. Still, IBG expects biometrics sales to top $4 billion by 2007, as more and more companies move from passwords to fingerprints or iris scans to permit network and building access.

So, where do solutions providers fit in? The five top vertical markets for such systems are government, travel/transportation, financial services, health care and law enforcement. More than half of early biometric sales involve finger-scanning devices, followed by biometric middleware linked to databases (12.4 percent) facial scanning (11.4 percent), hand scanning (10 percent) and iris scanning (7.3 percent).