Biometrics for consumer: from convenience to security to feature…

Extracted from: Consumer Biometrics: Market and Technologies Trends 2018 report, Yole Développement | And the following System Plus Consulting reports: VIVO X21UD Fingerprint Under Display, Oppo Find X 3D Face Recognition, iPhone X Dot Projector and Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer.


  • Over the last five years, the promising and highly dynamic consumer biometric sensor market has been totally reshaped.
  • The consumer market awaits biometry's "second wave".
  • Corporate culture and cost-effectiveness drive technology choices.
  • Harware is nothing without software.

LYON, France – December 10, 2018: Over the last five years, the promising and highly dynamic consumer biometric sensor market has been totally reshaped, announces Yole Développement (Yole) in its latest technology & market report, Consumer Biometrics: Market and Technologies Trends.
Under this new analysis, the market research and strategy consulting company, Yole provides a deep understanding of the biometric business with key market metrics, dynamics and major technology trends. The analysts outline the related applications for the key existing markets as well as the emerging ones. This report points out the evolution of the value chain and the infrastructure. It describes also the competitive landscape with major established and new players.
“After being developed for homeland security and used in industrial applications, the new target of biometrics is the consumer market since several years now”, comments Guillaume Girardin, PhD, Director, Photonics, Sensing & Display division at Yole.
The “first wave” of biometric technology came five years ago, bringing fingerprint authentication (among other things) to the mass market. Apple introduced TouchID capacitive technology for the iPhone 5S, pushing Android players to embrace the biometric sensing market. This massive upturn in interest fueled the fingerprint sensing market up to US$3.5 billion in value by the end of 2017…
Yole’s analysts propose you today to discover the status of biometric technologies for consumer applications and evaluate the business opportunities behind.

As anticipated by Yole in mid-2016, biometry’s “second wave” began with the introduction of the iPhone X in September 2017, when Apple set the standard for technological advancement (and use-cases) for 3D sensing in consumer. Apple conceived a complex assembly of camera modules and VCSEL light sources using structured light principles, along with an innovative NIR global shutter image sensor from STMicroelectronics to perform secure 3D facial recognition.

System Plus Consulting, partner of Yole, is strongly involved in the analysis of the latest biometrics identification solutions in the smartphones. Thanks to its expertise, the company identifies the technologies, the related process flows and suppliers and evaluate the related manufacturing costs. The iPhone X 3D sensing solutions as well as other systems such as the VIVO X21UD Fingerprint under Display, the Oppo Find X 3D Face Recognition, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer and others are part of the collection of reports proposed by the reverse engineering and costing company, System Plus Consulting.
“In the latest year the biometric solution of the fingerprint has been integrated or replaced by a more complex 3D face recognition structure; this trends is visible in all the flagship smartphones”,
says Audrey Lahrach, Cost Analyst at System Plus Consulting.

This second wave, led by biometry with 3D sensing, is ongoing and will increase market value toward US$17 billion by 2022. But biometry is not only a matter of fingerprint or face detection but also iris and voice recognition. Regarding the overall breakdown of biometry recognition, Yole’s biometric report estimates that the proportion of each type of detection will be quite unbalanced in the future.
“At Yole we think that 60% of biometric module in volume will be coming from face recognition module while fingerprint, about 40% will see a decrease over time of its value due to competition and alternative implementation leading to cost reduction”,
explains Guillaume Girardin from Yole.

Within the consumer biometric sector, corporate culture and cost-effectiveness clearly drive technology choices, explains the Photonic, Sensing & Display team at Yole. In mid-2016, Apple decided for “structured light approach” as a strategic choice: a complex supply chain with low yield that would achieve integration of the TrueDepth camera, which at the time only Apple could afford such complexity and cost. This fit with the company’s “it just works” philosophy, and there was no compromise on fingerprint integration, biometric security, etc. Ultimately, Apple raised the bar so high that it would take Android players more than a full year before they could access the same technology at an affordable price.
For 35 years it has been in Apple’s DNA to innovate on HMI side of computing. This is why it’s not surprising that Apple brought to market the most advanced biometric solutions, combined with nice-to-have features like animojis targeting the social media culture.
Because they lacked Apple’s in-house capabilities, most Android firms opted against 3D sensing and instead chose to integrate innovative under-display fingerprint technology that achieves phone unlock and online payment functions similar to Apple’s (albeit with a somewhat compromised user experience), along with 2D facial recognition integrated with the front camera module, moving to 3D facial recognition on flagship like Oppo Find X or Xiaomi Mi8 Explorer
“Interestingly, we now see Chinese players closing in fast behind Apple, thanks in large part to a fruitful partnership across their supply chain”, asserts Jérôme Mouly, Senior Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. And he adds: “In fact, these players have engineered a 3D sensing solution comparable to Apple’s, and within only one year: i.e. Huawei’s Mate Pro 20 and Xiaomi’s MI8, both of which incorporate an embedded structured-light module for 3D sensing and biometric features.”

In fact, the proliferation of biometric modules across other consumer devices will trigger huge gains for the biometric hardware market over the next five years.

A detailed description of the biometrics for consumer applications is available on, MEMS & Sensors reports section.

VCSEL : Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser
NIR : Near Infra Red
HMI : Human-to-Machine Interface

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