South America is emerging as one of the key growing regions in biometric market worldwide as stated by 6Wresearch. It is estimated that South America accounts 10% of global revenue with an annual growth between 2005 and 2010 of 30% by International Biometrics Group. Countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are contributing majority of the market revenue, in which Brazil takes the biggest share of the pie in the total South America’s biometric market. Key factors that are urging the growth of biometrics forward are government projects such as: ID cards, passports, driving license, voter’s card, etc.
In a recent research by CGD (Center for Global Development), around 280 million people in South & Central America have had their biometric information taken. Different from developed countries which have long used biometrics for their forensics and security; developing countries for example in South America have incorporated them into identity management system or used them to support public service delivery. Brazil with an increasing population is known as the leading country that took the effort to replace its traditional ID card with Civil Identity Registry (RCI) enhanced with biometric data since the beginning of the 20th century to prevent identity fraud. Shortly after that, biometric technology has been widespread adopted in other cases throughout Brazil such as: digital election, driving license, e-passport, and the most recent is eGate – an automated border control system.
Brazil’s neighbor and second largest country of South America, Argentina, has also got high potential for biometric development. It has recently deployed biometric identity management systems. The Argentine government uses biometric identity solutions to enhance safety, security and promotes welfare programs for its citizens. On the other hand, Colombia has deployed biometric technology in rapid bus transit system, online authentication, voting technologies, and passport issuance system. Likewise, Chile uses biometrics extensively for healthcare insurance, banks, pension funds and retailers as well as police and immigration services.
Besides government projects, banking also has great contribution to the biometric growth in South America. In 2006, Bradesco, a Brazilian bank has led the way to start using biometric ID at its ATM’s – hand vein readers. “Since the biometric system, fraud declined. Other ATMs don’t show the same improvement since they don’t have that system. So it did help Bradesco to avoid fraud.” said Nelson Lemos, Manager of Bradesco IT department. Although the implementing of a large scale biometric system is expensive, it has good return on investment (ROI) since it saved them possibly as much as 1 REAL, or 50 cents per person.
Though the South America biometric market is still in the nascent stage but it is expected to gain a tremendous growth over the next five years. Rising security concerns, IT spending, data theft, international sporting events (Brazil Olympics 2016), and government projects are pushing the demand for various biometric technologies. According to TechNavio’s report in 2014, Latin America biometric market includes South & Central America projected to grow at a CAGR of 23.7% through 2018. In addition, Brazilian market which contributes the majority in the market revenue is also expected to reach a value of $1.3 billion by 2020, forecasted by “Brazil Biometrics Market (2014-2020)”