Many years ago, Australia noticeably lagged behind the leading markets like the US in their adoption of new technology. However, their embracing of technologies like DevOps, cloud technology and biometrics has made them now closer to the technology adoption rates of more mature, overseas markets in recent years. Australia has even surpassed the US and Singapore in fintech adoption and ranked fifth highest out of the top 20 surveyed markets according to EY FinTech Adoption Index. This has led to many exciting transformations in this country.
With its ambitious plan to become the first to introduce an entirely automatic, seamless processing system for incoming passengers based solely on their biometric data, Australia government has initiated Seamless Traveler program with a budget of AU$93.7 million for over 5 years since 2015. The government plans to transform 90% of the airports into the new system to clear an average of 50 million passengers by 2020. International travelers arriving in Australia will be able to walk straight to their baggage without the need for showing passport. The goal is to improve processing time, sweeten the traveler experience as well as prevent the activities of potential terrorists and criminals.
Along with its sustainable economic growth, Australia is facing identity crime, one of the most common crimes in Australia, which cost the country $2.2b annually, according to “Identity crime and misuse in Australia 2016” report. The fact is there is a high demand for stolen and fraudulent identity information on online marketplaces, with personal information and credentials attracting high fees including driver licenses (approximately $400) and passports (approximately $5,000). In 2016, the government has just switched on a national facial biometric system which will bring together passport, visa, citizenship and driver license photos into a single database. As of October 2017, anyone with a driver’s license will be able to have their face searched and matched in real time. The estimated cost of establishing and operating the central technical infrastructure of the National Driver License Facial Recognition Solution is $21 million over four years.
Rob Walls, head of product at Visa Australia said: “Australians are not only tech-hungry but they’re very savvy in terms of how to use that technology.” This could be the reason why financial service providers chose Australia to be one of the first markets to launch their mobile payment applications like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Selfie Pay. The adoption of mobile payments has steadily increased in recent years and is now starting to take center stage in Australia. Projects developed by the ‘Big Four’ banks are demonstrating the convenience, security and value that mobile-based payment can offer consumers. Besides, with security threats becoming more prevalent and advanced, financial organizations and retailers are exploring ways to make digital interactions more secure and seamless for customers. This goal is driving increasing demand for biometric solutions. Using fingerprint, iris recognition or voiceprint technology can provide indisputable evidence of the link between the document, device or application and its user.
By 2022 the global government biometrics market is estimated to rise from $4,996 million in 2017 to $8,605 million, according to Transparency Market Research (TMR). Australia in particular is expected to see accelerated adoption of biometric programs. TMR predicts that the government biometric market will expand at a CAGR of 11.5% during the period, driven by the need for reliable citizen authentication and the use of biometrics in long-term border control programs. This growth will also be driven by growing biometric acceptance and confidence in security of the citizens.