Dominant security-enhancement technologies leave a lot to be desired. In addition to security risks, has been estimated that between half to a third of calls to IT help desks are password related, and that managing multiple passwords and password resetting costs can range between $200 (Forrester Research estimate) to $340 (Gartner estimate) per employee per year (www.Forrester.com (2005); www.Gartner.com (2005)).
Biometrics can offer significant security enhancements as well as other value-added applications. Potential applications of biometric technologies range from controlling physical access to facilities (used by Disneyworld to provide access to season pass holders), enabling voice recognition at call-centers (used by the Home Shopping Network and Charles Schwab to enable hassle-free client authentication), controlling time and attendance of employees (used by McDonalds), providing self-service access to safe deposit vaults at banks (used by the Bank of Hawaii and First Tennessee Bank), or cashing checks in supermarkets (used by Kroger, Food 4 Less and BI-LO).
Security concerns and higher levels of fraud, such as the rising incidence of identity theft, combined with advancements in biometric technologies and reducing costs of the technologies involved, have provided an impetus for greater diffusion and highlighted biometrics' immense potential. In 2003, while industry revenues were US$719 million, the estimate for 2004 is US$1.2 billion. This is expected to rise to US$4.6 billion in 2008. Currently the lion's share of biometric technologies is accounted for by fingerprint biometrics at 48 percent, followed by face recognition at 12 percent and hand geometry at 11 percent. Iris recognition, by far the most secure method, has just 9 percent market share, since it costs a lot more to implement and there is a lower level of customer acceptance (International Biometrics Group, 2005).
However, the overwhelming majority of current biometrics applications are focused on simply improving security rather than being led by a clear mandate of providing quantum leaps to customer service while simultaneously raising efficiency as well as security. We believe that the winners of tomorrow will be firms that manage to harness the power of biometrics to achieve this essential combination (Wirtz and Heracleous, 2005). Following several industry interview results and other industry participant interactions, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that many, but not all, biometric industry vendors appear to be depending on sales based on "supply push" rather than "demand pull" marketing strategies. That is to say, the biometrics vendors appeared to be captivated with the technology underlying the biometric devices more so than concentrating on current biometric devices as part of a solution to a business problem for prospective customers. However, on the contrary, it was apparent from our conversations with customers and potential customers that they were inclined to be less interested in devices, and more focused on buying solutions to problems. For instance, three prospective customers pointed out that they were "waiting it out" in order to see which technology or vendor would come