Global e-passport Market: Overview
The e-passport, also known as a biometric passport, is a combination of electronic information and paper. It contains a user’s biometric information and can be used as an authentication card by travelers. A key bit of technology used in an e-passport include contactless authentication, which makes use of a microprocessor chip and an antenna to transmit the stored data to a reader that moves within a certain distance of the card. At the same time, core user information is stored on the card and printed on the paper, making it more convenient to verify data automatically and manually. Standardized modes of authentication for e-passports at the moment include iris recognition, facial recognition, and fingerprint recognition.
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The International Civil Aviation Organization documented the chip characteristics permissible in an e-passport in Doc 9303. The ICAO defines all biometric file formats as well as protocols usable for communication in the e-passport. So far, only digital images of the biometric features can be stored in the chip. These include the formats JPEG or JPEG2000. There needs to be a minimum of 32 kb of EEPROM storage space in a contactless chip to be used in an e-passport in order to store biometric data. The chip additionally has to run according to the international standards given in ISO/IEC 14443.
Global e-Passport Market: Key Trends
The global e-passport market is expected to rise at a fantastic rate over the coming years, the calculations of which can be attributed to the growing acceptance of countries regarding the greater advantages of using digital data and contactless chips rather than plain paper and complete manual identification measures. The ICAO regulations are additionally making it easier for countries and companies to adopt to e-passports at a faster rate. But by far the leading advantage that e-passports bring to the table is the ability to streamline the immigration process and help authorities track illegal or fraudulent activities with higher speed and accuracy. The use of e-gates that automatically check and authenticate an e-passport carried by a person passing through them is making them an invaluable addition to airports and other immigration portals.
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Global e-Passport Market: Market Potential
Countries are recognizing the potential held by the global e-passport market and are ramping up investments in the field in order to adopt the technologies as quickly and safely as possible. The ICAO and NXP have laid out specific plans for the coming years that will decide the future of e-passports. Over 730 mn e-passports are already in circulation across the world and countries are gearing for a near overhaul of immigration policies regarding paper and digital passport formats. Eventually, an e-passport is likely to become an indistinguishable part of a person’s identity, not only improving the details that can be verified but also the level of details that can be stored and used appropriately. The EAC, for instance, has stated that the affiliated states will be rolling out new e-passports by early 2018.
The law also can have a tough time tracking illegal activities related to immigration. This also includes e-passports, where companies have already been known to illegally provide users with e-passports. Authorities need to build regulations and verification processes for combating the expected wave of digital forgery which can, however, be much more difficult to pull off than paper based forgeries.
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Global e-Passport Market: Regional Outlook
While all regions are equally interested in the issuing of e-passports on a larger scale, some nations, especially the ones from developed economic regions, are likely to stay ahead in terms of adoption of new technology and newer versions of e-passports than others. It is likely that most of the advances in e-passport security will be initially rolled out in North America and Europe before other regions over the coming years. The global e-passport market, however, expected to streamline itself over the next decade and all countries are expected to follow.
Global e-Passport Market: Competitive Analysis
The leading players in the global e-passport market include Gemalto, Hexagon, GE, Abbot Informatics, SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle.