Is biometric security finally reaching the mainstream? New industry reports are predicting sharp demand for biometric technology for mobile devices in the coming months and years. This may be good news for corporate security executives concerned about the growing use of mobile devices for business and the potential security threats they represent.

According to a report from Juniper Research, titled, “Human Interface and Biometric Technologies: Emerging Ecosystems, Opportunities and Forecasts 2014-2019,” more than 770 million biometric authentication applications will be downloaded per year by 2019, up from just 6 million this year. This will significantly reduce mobile users’ reliance on alphanumeric passwords.

The report said widespread adoption of these tools will follow high-profile deployments. For example, the combination of Apple’s Touch ID authentication and tokenization for Near Field Communication payments will likely spur users to test out this technology.

“The long-anticipated floodgates for consumer biometrics” might finally be open, according to another recent report from Acuity Market Intelligence. The firm forecasts that the intensifying demand for smartphones, tablets and wearable mobile devices that incorporate biometrics will drive a global market of 2.5 billion users with nearly 4.8 billion biometric devices by 2020.

The report says fingerprint authentication will account for a huge majority of biometric security apps because of the increased use of fingerprint scanners in midrange smartphones. However, other forms of biometric identification that don’t need embedded hardware, such as earprint biometric authentication and voice authentication, are also emerging.

Biometrics can make mobile devices more accessible, since authentication systems are less likely to mistakenly reject users. These apps also make it easier to complete transactions.

The market for biometrically enabled mobile devices will surge over the next five years, according to Maxine Most, Acuity’s market intelligence principal and lead analyst. Within three years, biometrics will become a standard feature on smartphones and other mobile devices, she said.

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