Other connected markets have felt the positive ripple effects emanating from this burgeoning sector. e-Passports are clearly impacting the future of national and international identification. The pressure and influence on a nation to adopt the e-Passport system is indirect but the effects can be quite apparent. This is particularly so with countries that have entered regional pacts or agreements.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (smartcards.frost.com), APAC Smart Card e-Passport Market, finds that the market shipped over 17 million units in 2008 and estimates approximately 85 to 90 million units to be shipped in 2013.
e-Passport and its accompanying infrastructure have become the standard travel document and national identification document of the future.
"As surrounding nations begin to roll out e-Passports, the indirect pressure to follow suit increases," says Frost & Sullivan Research Associate Reuben Foong. "Unofficially accepted standards and cross-border recognition were the very catalysts of e-Passport trends and continues to drive the market."
At a time of escalating threats, e-Passports afford an elaborate and secure system, fueling the growth of this segment. Besides, compliance requirements with members of regional or international groups of countries serve to kick start the roll out of interoperable e-Passports. Countries across the region are ironing out issues and problems to arrive at completely interoperable standards and guidelines.
The concept would be immensely beneficial for tourism-dependant economies such as Thailand and Maldives as it substantially boosts their security and image, averting the possibility of losing out on potential tourist income to neighboring countries.
Interoperability has only recently attained reasonable levels and the introduction of new features necessitates additional fine-tuning. Earlier, the task of refurbishing a legacy system involving intervention into human capital training, technical, and financial infrastructure seemed daunting. However, this is expected to reduce as vendors and governments acquire experience and knowledge with time.
The three C's – cost, complexity, and commitment – hinder the deployment of e-Passports. The high costs associated with implementation of e-Passports and the escalating complexity of the smart card chip also dampen market prospects. The bulk of upfront costs may prove overwhelming for governments that have to consider the pros and cons of such an effort.
"Many market participants have penetrated this market in terms of making an initial effort and rollout with other government identification such as driver licenses, health cards, social security and so forth," says Foong. "These implementations, not bound by any international standards and leveraging on or preparing for e-Passport infrastructure, help these vendors gain experience in dealing with the respective governments and systems."
The distinct lack of appreciation among the people regarding the importance and security significance of e-Passports also reigns in enthusiasm.
Vendors must cooperate with governments to fully exploit and leverage the expensive infrastructure of an e-Passport system to benefit the general population. Not only will this put the concerned vendor at a vantage selling point, but also it will allow the government to assimilate gains by smoothly implementing the system. Political commitment and stability are essential for sustained market development, and the rigidity of politics could adversely impact projects of this nature.
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APAC Smart Card e-Passport Market / P184