September 20, 2010 / 5:49 PM / 7 years ago

FACTBOX-What is biometric identification?

Sept 20 (Reuters) - A renewed interest in surveillance and intelligence is driving deal activity among companies that make biometric identification devices. [ID:nN10258392]

On Monday, face-recognition software maker L-1 Identity Solutions ID.N agreed to be sold in parts to two top European defence firms - French group Safran (SAF.PA) and British defence company BAE Systems (BAES.L). [ID:nLDE68I0KJ]

Here are some facts on biometric identification, its uses, some of the big players in the market and recent deals.

WHAT IS BIOMETRIC IDENTIFICATION?

- the use of physical or behavioural characteristics unique to an individual -- such as a finger or palm print, iris pattern or face image -- to identify people

- The use of biometrics is spreading quickly due to growing security fears

- Privacy concerns, especially over full body scanners, have posed a barrier to their adoption in some markets

WHERE IS IT USED?

- Law enforcement agencies: For efficient criminal booking and processing, identification of potential suspects

- Military services: Verification and identification of military personnel and contractors, hostile persons

DOES IT HAVE COMMERCIAL SIGNIFICANCE?

Commercial enterprises use biometric identification to identify threat, fraud and other security risks.

Some markets include:

- Financial services firms: To protect client records, authenticate ID documents

- Casinos and gaming companies: For background checks, surveillance to identify known card counters and cheats

- Healthcare organizations: To help preserve patient privacy and confidentiality of records

- Utilities: To protect sensitive infrastructure

- Others: Transportation, education, hospitality, retail WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN THE MARKET?

- U.S. companies L-1 Identity and AuthenTec AUTH.O

- Private companies such as EgisTec, UPEK Inc, Validity Sensors and Cross Match Technologies

- Japanese electronics conglomerate NEC Corp (6701.T)

- French group Safran

RECENT DEALS IN THE SECTOR

- Safran, BAE to split security firm L-1

- 3M (MMM.N) to buy Cogent (COGT.O) for $943 million [ID:nN30166897] (Compiled by A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore)

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