OSLO, NORWAY -- NEXT Biometrics Group ASA in the first half of 2015 expanded its low-cost high-quality range of fingerprint sensor products, strengthened global distribution, increased production capacity, attracted top talent and is poised for significant growth in the second half and in years ahead, announced Tore Etholm-Idsøe, CEO of NEXT Biometrics, the Norway-based leading provider of high-quality low-cost fingerprint sensors.
The NEXT CEO said, "NEXT Biometrics has had an eventful first half of 2015. The company has now earned a unique position in an industry that sees a massive 'Apple-effect' now spreading beyond smartphones into tablets, notebooks, tokens, keyfobs, internet-of-things, payments and a long range of other new innovative applications. The 'Apple-effect' refers to Apple popularizing the fingerprint sensor by adding it to the home button on its iPhone."
Etholm-Idsøe said that during the previous six months, ending June 30, the company has focused on the following major tasks:
•Extending the product offering from one generic to six market-adapted sensor modules
•Securing a top class distribution and direct/indirect management of 170+ leads
•Verifying the performance advantages of the NEXT technology
•Increasing production capacity and bringing down production cost
•Expansion of the NEXT organization
Discussing NEXT products, Etholm-Idsøe said that based on detailed market feedback in 2014, the first half of 2015 included release of six different modules to replace the first original 2014 fingerprint sensor module. "This had the effect of postponing some sales, but will have a significant positive impact going forward. NEXT now has a product portfolio that covers the market needs in all targeted key market segments."
He noted that with respect to sales and market activity, NEXT experienced a steady growth in number of customer leads, now totaling more than 170 projects world-wide. During 18 months of sales work, the company said it has become a highly recognized player and is, at a fast increasing rate, being asked for quotes by leading customers in all key market segments.
In the Notebook and Tablet space, the NEXT CEO said that Microsoft executives during the launch of Windows Hello highlighted NEXT Biometrics as a leading supplier of fingerprint sensors.
In the Smartphone space the NEXT value proposition, combining quality and a low price, is getting increased attention as the market is trending toward payments, enterprise and governmental applications, according to Etholm-Idsøe.
In the "NEXT-enabled Markets" (markets in need of NEXT's unique combination of quality and low cost), the number of high quality leads is growing fast, said the company CEO.
In order to handle the ever-growing number of leads, NEXT has extended the network of best in class distributors. "We are very pleased that these distributors find the NEXT offering the most attractive in the market," Etholm-Idsøe said.
"Significant resources have also been allocated for the company's first TIER 1 customer project in order to secure a perfect performance from NEXT fingerprint sensor modules as the customer launches various products from the third quarter and onward," the NEXT CEO said.
He added that "a major reason for NEXT's attention from TIER 1 customers is the clean IP situation, with no patents close to the company patented Active Thermal principle. The NEXT Japanese distributor, 'Hakuto,' recently highlighted this when asked by stock market analysts."
Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, which is also a NEXT Biometrics shareholder, is now proving their worth to NEXT by opening doors and gaining access to decision makers in smartphones and other market segments, said Etholm-Idsoe.
In terms of competition, he said, "There are an increasing number of suppliers in the market for small-sized smartphone sensors. In high-end smartphones and all other targeted market segments, larger sensors are required and there is little competition for NEXT. This market condition is expected to continue in the foreseeable future."
Discussing the importance of fingerprint sensor size, Etholm-Idsøe cited the recent Madrid Report about sensor size, which noted that the most important factor, by far, in determining the quality of any fingerprint sensor system, is sensor size. As sensor size diminishes, false rejection rates increase exponentially, and the system is no longer useable for a large portion of the population. "Small sensors should never be offered in devices targeting enterprise, governmental, payments and other markets in need of both security and convenience for a high percentage of a population," he said.
"This is no longer a statement made only by NEXT, since it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt in a comprehensive record sized study at the University Carlos III in Madrid, where more than 180,000 fingerprints were collected. Same size sensors from three suppliers were blind tested, and proved alarmingly bad performance when sensor size is reduced. The study furthermore confirms that when comparing sensors of same size, the Active Thermal principle patented by NEXT performs in line with capacitive sensors 3-to-5 times more expensive," he exclaimed.
"In applications where quality is paramount, like for corporate access and payments, there will be a shift toward larger fingerprint sensors," Etholm-Idsøe projected. He said, "No other supplier than NEXT can deliver a sensor with a size large enough to secure high quality for an acceptable percentage of the users, at an acceptable price. Going forward this fundamental fact will pave the way for NEXT's growth within the smartphone segment." He encouraged shareholders and other interested parties to download the complete Madrid Report at http://www.nextbiometrics.com/.
In discussing NEXT's strong production capability, Etholm-Idsøe said that, "NEXT is now one of only three suppliers world-wide having secured a TIER 1 design-win and able to deliver product in high volumes. With the custom-built coating machine installed at INNOLUX/Taiwan during the second quarter of this year, monthly fingerprint sensor production capacity is now 1.2 million units. The coating machine also brought production cost dramatically down, and the company is presently on track to achieve its 2015 cost-down goals."
Etholm-Idsøe said that with respect to organizational growth, "No company is better than its people. During the first half of 2015, the NEXT teams in Oslo, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Prague, Taipei and Shanghai have grown from 39 to 52 people. We are very encouraged and proud of the fact that NEXT has proven able to attract world class talent. In the past months, highly experienced quality resources from well-known brand names like Microsoft, Qualcomm, Cypress, Acer and STM have joined the NEXT Team."
The CEO said, "The NEXT organization is set for high volume growth."
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