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5 sectors embracing iris recognition technology

Iris recognition is a biometric that is growing traction around the world. It’s accuracy and contactless method of identifying individuals makes it an ideal biometric solution across a wide number of verticals.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the iris recognition market was valued at $2 billion USD in 2018. This is set to rise to $4.3 billion USD by 2024. This is largely down to the rising adoption of iris recognition technology by government organisations for identification and authentication purposes, however, there is also a surging demand for iris scanners for access control applications across a wide range of sectors.

As with all biometric solutions, one factor that hinders growth is concern around privacy and the inconvenience to the end-user. However, as solutions become more secure and more user friendly, these concerns are being addressed and the industry continues to grow apace.

Why Iris Recognition?

Iris recognition was once a biometric technology reserved for the movies. From Star Trek to Mission Impossible, iris recognition scenes in movies were a thing for the future and not part of our daily lives. How things have changed.

Today, many people are using iris recognition daily, as a way of unlocking their mobile phone or accessing specific apps. No longer is iris recognition a technology for the future – it’s here, right now.

NEC’s Iris Recognition technology is independently recognised as the most accurate in the world. Our iris recognition technology achieved the highest matching accuracy evaluation in the Iris Exchange IX (IREX) evaluations performed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and our commitment to R&D means we continue to lead the way within the field of iris recognition.

Iris recognition’s rising adoption can be attributed to several factors, however, it’s the features of iris recognition technology that have been the biggest contributing factor to the growth in the use of iris. Those features include:

  • Fast and highly accurate – iris recognition is widely recognised as one of the most accurate biometric authentication technologies
  • Flexible solution – iris recognition can be used day and night due to the use of an infrared camera. If the eyes are exposed, it can also be used when a subject is wearing a hat, mask, eyeglasses or gloves.
  • Contactless – from both a hygiene and ease of use perspective, iris recognition presents a contactless experience for the end-user.
  • Separate eye recognition – for an added layer of security, iris recognition can be performed separately on each eye as they both are unique.
  • Accurately identify twins – unlike some biometric recognition technologies, iris recognition can accurately identify twins due to the unique properties of the iris.

5 sectors embracing iris recognition technology

Iris recognition authentication has so many practical uses beyond simply accessing your smartphone. Here are five sectors that have embraced the use of iris recognition technology:

1.      National ID

NEC promotes equal access to administrative services by providing legal identification for all citizens. By enhancing the security of national ID systems, our solution contributes to realising more advanced national identification services. Along with fingerprint recognition, iris recognition is being used for the most accurate identification of citizens within a National ID programme. It helps to prevent duplicate registrations and provides quick and precise voting identification as well as facilitating interoperability between government agencies for data integration, verification and maintenance.

2.      Immigration/Border Control

In response to the increasing threats of terrorism around the world, NEC contributes to a safe and secure society by enhancing the stringency of immigration control. Our Iris Recognition solution offers improved security and smooth personal identification amidst the increasing movement of people between countries. Numerous international airports of the USA, Canada, Netherlands and the UK have already implemented iris recognition as a biometric authentication for immigration with most countries around the world set to follow.

3.      Crime Investigation

Biometric authentication has been used by law enforcement agencies since the early 1890s. As biometric technology has advanced, subsequent use of iris recognition as a biometric authentication method has been introduced to law enforcement to help reduce crime. At NEC, we offer a multimodal biometrics database for managing multiple biometric authentications whereby data is created by taking images of the face, fingerprint, and palm print, as well as the iris. Combining with fingerprint and other biometric authentication systems provides multiple options for the identification of individuals.

4.      Banking and Financial Services

Across the financial sector, banks and financial services are working towards a solution that will see the traditional PIN/password-based security system replaced. Iris recognition is one of the solutions being considered as a secure way of identifying and authenticating individuals and we have already started to see the roll-out of iris recognition as a secondary form of authentication in addition to PINs at some ATMs around the world.

5.      Healthcare Services

The healthcare sector has been one of the biggest adopters of iris recognition technology due to the accuracy and speed of identifying individuals. Accurately identifying that someone is who they say they are is particularly important within the healthcare sector. Iris recognition provides the healthcare sector with a highly accurate way of authenticating individuals to ensure correct dispensing of drugs and providing correct treatment to the correct patient


Iris recognition is a growing force within biometric authentication. With many and growing practical, global applications, iris recognition is starting to change the way industries and sectors authenticate and identify individuals. Here at NEC, we continue to lead the world when it comes to iris recognition – both in terms of speed and accuracy. Talk to one of the team today to find out more about iris recognition and how it can help your business.


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