Eye Scanning and Biometric Investing

A $20 Billion Industry in 5 Years

By Jason Stutman   

I am well aware that the intentions are usually good, but attaching kids to leashes is the epitome of bad parenting.

Not to mention it looks absolutely ridiculous...

leash kid

Obedience is a crucial quality for a dog but a repugnant one for human beings.

Don't get me wrong – discipline and safety are extremely important, but they are completely separate from obedience. Obedience is doing what you are told, no matter what. Obedience is the polar opposite of freedom.

I'm not sure about you, but I don't want the upcoming generation to be compliant. I want it to be confident, resolute, and tenacious. Attaching our kids to leashes is never going to accomplish that.

Just imagine a nation of schools putting leashes on children. The parental outrage would be monumental – and rightfully so.

Of course, schools would never actually do this. At least not in the literal sense...

The Modern Leash

Blink Spot is a biometric identification company that supplies iris recognition technology to schools and districts. The company specifically markets these devices to be used on buses.

As students gets on the bus, they look into an eye scanner that is connected to a school database. The scanner will then mark the students' locations by GPS and send that information to parents.

And while I have less quarrels with this virtual leash than I do with the physical leash, this method of physical tracking is still incredibly disconcerting.

The fact is, children are being put at risk by having their identification information stored in school databases. And let me assure you, these databases are not secure. Back when I was teaching science in Baltimore City, a mere 14-year-old was savvy enough to gain administrative access to our district network.

Anyone who gains access to these systems will know where every student in the school is. They will know their names and what they look like. Most importantly, they will have their virtual fingerprints – a map of their irises.

Earlier this year, the Polk County school district in Florida conducted a pilot program for student iris scanning without parental permission. The district did not offer an option to opt out and was forced to pull back after facing the wrath of 750 angry parents.

But regardless of any past transgressions, iris scanning will inevitably take over the market. The best parents can do is opt out if they feel uncomfortable with the technology.

In any case, the biometric industry will continue to grow, and investors might as well position themselves to profit, parents and non-parents alike.

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Biometric Investing

Eye scanning is over 200 times more accurate than fingerprinting and can identify up to 50 people a minute. In the world of biometric identification, iris scanning is the next big thing.

In addition to primary schools, these systems are rolling out in enterprise, higher education, law enforcement, health care, border patrol, security, and commercial industries. Global biometric market revenues are expected to reach $10 billion by 2014 and $20 billion by 2018, according to Tech Sci Research.

Biometric Research Group Inc. has a similar forecast. The chart below represents biometric revenues in millions:

biometric revenue
Source: Biometric Research Group

There are many publicly traded companies that stand to gain revenue from this projected growth. Here are just a few I will be keeping my eye on:

  • 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM)
  • Raythen Co. (NYSE: RTN)
  • Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)
  • Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE)
  • NEC Corporation (OTC: NIPNF)
  • BIO-key International (OTC:BKYI)

Turning progress to profits,

  JS Sig

Jason Stutman

follow basic @JasonStutman on Twitter

Energy and Capital's tech expert, Jason Stutman has worked as an educator in mathematics, technology, and science... Before joining the Energy and Capital team, Jason served on multiple technology development committees, writing and earning grants in educational and behavioral technologies. Jason offers readers keen insights on prominent tech trends while exposing otherwise unnoticed opportunities.


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