Next Biometrics

This Seattle-based Norwegian company brings fingerprint scanners to a device near you

Photo: Wikimedia Commons  Fingerprinting technology has come a long way since the 1800s. Next Biometrics is working on some of the smallest, high-quality fingerprint scanners for use in Windows devices.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Fingerprinting technology has come a long way since the 1800s. Next Biometrics is working on some of the smallest, high-quality fingerprint scanners for use in Windows devices.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Recently Next Biometrics was the third player in the worldwide market of area fingerprint sensors for integration in PCs and Tablets to be certified by Microsoft. The company meets the price level without compromising the quality by reducing sensor size. Microsoft will now download Next Biometrics drives to its vast base of Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 PCs and Tablets. CEO Tore Etholm-Idsøe was very pleased to receive this key certification from Microsoft. The company’s team is based 10 minutes from Microsoft headquarters, and he anticipates projects with a long range of Windows-based devices.

It all started when the Vietnamese boat refuge Ngoc Minh Dinh came to Norway in the 70s, founding the company in Trondheim in 2001. He is still among the shareholders. Last year investors poured 15.8 million dollars into the company. According to the prospectus, the money was used to commercialize the system. At the time the company had 18 employees. Out of eleven Seattle-based engineers, five speak Mandarin.

The market for fingerprint sensors has stagnated for some years because they were too large, too expensive, and did not have the right quality. Next Biometrics has changed this with its high-quality area fingerprint sensor at a fraction of the price of comparable competitors. It is a publicly listed company headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with sales, support, and development subsidiaries in Seattle, Taipei, and Shanghai. In August the company sold its first fingerprint sensors to Brazil.

In June, Next Biometrics signed a strategic agreement with San Antonio, Texas-based Fulcrum Biometrics, a leading U.S. distributor of biometric hardware and software solutions. Fulcrum CEO Ken Nosker said that the fingerprint sensor market has waited a long time for the introduction of a low-cost no compromise area sensor. “We believe the Next technology will not only seize a significant share of the traditional sensor market but also—and more importantly—pave the way for a broad range of new volume market applications. We look forward to serving both existing and new markets using the technology.”

Next Biometrics completed an initial public offering (IPO) in June, capitalizing the company at 150 million dollars. One of the new shareowners is Foxconn. It is the world’s largest electronics contractor, based in Taiwan. It is primarily an original design manufacturer, and its clients include major American, European, and Japanese electronics and information technology companies. It is the largest private employer in China.

The global market for fingerprint biometrics is projected to reach $10 billion by 2018. The future looks bright!

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 3, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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