Asia-Pacific leads way in public sector adoption of new identity technologies

Governments in the Asia-Pacific are outpacing other regions in adopting biometric and advanced identity analytics technology, according to a new report.

Accenture’s Emerging Technologies in Public Service explores government attitudes toward emerging technologies like internet of things, machine learning, and video analytics, in addition to biometrics and identity analytics. The findings are based on survey data from nearly 800 information technology officials in public sector agencies in nine countries across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.

Overall the report found that nearly 40 percent of respondent organizations worldwide are testing or implementing advanced biometric or identity analysis programs, predominantly for national-level applications like e-passports and border control.

The Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, however, were the most advanced in embracing identity technologies, with 68 percent of respondents in Australia and Singapore and 57 percent of respondents in Japan reporting that their agencies had already begun to use advanced identity tools. Officials in these three countries were also the most likely to point to improving security as their primary objective for pursuing new identity technology.

By contrast, only 29 percent of American respondents said their organizations were testing advanced biometrics or identity analytics.

“Adoption patterns may differ by sector and geography, but it is clear that public service agencies have an appetite for embracing emerging technologies to help transform the public service experience for citizens and employees,” said Ng Wee Wei, Accenture Managing Director and ASEAN Health & Public Service lead, in Digital News Asia.

Singapore, Japan, and Australia have each made high-profile steps to incorporate advanced biometric and identity systems in recent years. Singapore’s efforts have been particularly well-publicized as the city-state moves toward constructing a robust national identity system. Australia has already launched a pilot of its own national identity verification platform, and last year introduced a voice biometrics program to improve customer service at its federal taxation office. Japan has begun experimenting with mobile biometrics for passport control and payments process as it prepares to host the 2020 Olympics.

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Kaelyn Lowmaster is an Asia-focused Market Analytics and Research Associate with One World Identity. Prior to joining OWI, she worked in the Army's International Affairs Division at the Pentagon, and coordinated Johns Hopkins' graduate programs in Nanjing, China. Kaelyn holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and a BA from Colgate University. She is currently based in Tokyo.