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Forensic Technologies: New and Growing Markets

Forensic Technologies: New and Growing Markets

  • September 2017
  • 312 pages
  • ID: 5136802


Table of Contents

• The major U.S. forensic products and services market reached nearly $12.7 billion in 2016. This market is expected to grow to nearly $13.3 billion in 2017 and $19.2 billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 7.7% for the period 2017 to 2022.
• DNA testing as a segment is expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2017 and $2.0 billion in 2022 with a CAGR of 8.5% for the period 2017 to 2022.
• Fingerprinting/biometrics as a segment is expected to reach nearly $1.3 billion in 2017 and $1.8 billion by 2022 with a CAGR of 7.5%for the period 2017 to 2022.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Study Goals and Objectives
This report discusses forensic science industry technologies, commercial products, services, research and development initiatives, and the overall market context in which forensic science exists. The report provides descriptions of technologies and products, an evaluation of trends in the application of these technologies and products, identification of notable patents, and measurements and forecasts of market demand through 2022.

Company profiles of leading companies are provided as well. Product and service categories examined include analytical instrumentation and supplies, drug identification, toxicology, fingerprinting and biometrics, DNA profiling and allied areas such as laboratory information management systems (LIMS), forensic accounting and computer/digital forensics, forensics consulting and other important niches.

Reasons for Doing This Study and Its Importance
Public and private forensic labs, as well as forensic consulting services in the case of electronic evidence, analyze evidence from millions of cases annually. Although the market for forensic analyses and related products is smaller than the market for biotechnology and pharmaceutical products, crime laboratory analyses serve a critical function in society, and so the forensics sector continues to develop and expand.

The forensics business is one of the most dynamic sectors of the modern economy due to a unique confluence of technological change and social demands. In short, the capability of forensic techniques has grown by leaps and bounds; costs have dropped, which have led decision-makers to promote forensics to a generally receptive public.

Although the last couple of years have witnessed some controversy over the validity of certain forensic techniques, overall the demand trend for forensic products and services remains on an upswing. In addition to technological change in the forensics business, the impact of legal decisions, such as the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing routine DNA “fingerprinting,” is critical in shaping the future of the business.

Technology advancements in forensics have been of considerable import in recent years. Examples include enhanced techniques for computer data and mobile device recovery (electronic evidence), successful use of “touch DNA” to prosecute property crimes, higher throughput and even real-time DNA sequencing machines for DNA identification, improved fingerprint recovery from metals such as gun cartridges and bomb fragments, use of the chemistry of color to identify chemical and biological weapons, and sensing technologies that are improving the detection of drugs and explosives at security checkpoints.

Other advancements include portable DNA profiling techniques used at crime scenes, greater accuracy in ascertaining the age at death of crime victims and developments in scanning, facial recognition and biometrics. These technological advancements have reduced per unit costs in practical applications, enhancing the affordability of forensic applications and increasing their market penetration.

Greater use of DNA testing and other technologies has also brought high visibility to forensic testing. The number of U.S. crime laboratories that perform forensic analyses rose from 300 in 1999 to an estimated 475 in 2017. Publicly funded forensic crime labs now spend in aggregate more than $1.7 billion per year.

Contributions of This Study and for Whom
With its broad scope and in-depth analyses, this study will prove to be a valuable resource, particularly for anyone involved with, or interested in, the forensic market for analytical instrumentation, drug and toxicology analysis, DNA profiling, fingerprinting/biometrics and computer forensics.

This study will be particularly useful for researchers, laboratory and government personnel working in research or company settings, as well as business professionals involved with analytical instrumentation, drug and toxicology analysis, DNA profiling, fingerprinting/biometrics and computer forensics. It also will be of value to potential investors and members of the general public interested in acquiring a business- oriented view of the forensic science industry.

The projections, forecasts and trend analyses found in this report provide readers with the necessary data and information for decision-making.

Scope and Format of Report
In preparing this report, an overall study of the crime laboratory segment of the U.S. forensic science market was undertaken. Related areas provided key information; as newer areas such as computer forensics make up a growing share of the total forensics business.

All areas of the forensics market are addressed including identification of current and future technologies, products, market segments/end markets, and government and regulatory agencies. Participating companies are discussed in light of technological strengths and weaknesses, relative market share, marketing strengths and innovative marketing practices.

Most segments of the forensics market are not routinely measured in any economic census, meaning BCC derived estimates from a variety of sources. Estimated values are based on manufacturers’ total revenues and whenever market estimates are derived, they are fully noted. All forecasts are in current 2017 (nominal) dollars, unadjusted for inflation.

Information Sources
Data for this study were collected using both primary (phone interviews) and secondary data research methodologies. A literature search was conducted using standard databases of scientific, technical, medical, business and trade documents, as well as patent databases.

Forensic Technologies: New and Growing Markets, by Segment
Analytical instruments and supplies
Drug identification kits
Forensic biology and serology
DNA testing
Other (computer forensics, forensic databases and forensic consulting)

Chapter 2: Summary and Highlights
Collection and evaluation of forensic evidence at crime scenes are of extreme importance in the legal system, and the products used for collecting and assaying this evidence are one of the focuses of this report. This market includes many different products, many of which provide highly specific identifica-
tion of chemical or biological substances.

In addition, there is a large and growing segment of products related to electronic or digital evidence. This latter category includes both software and hardware to recover and analyze electronic evidence, in addition to the related data consulting services.

Generally, forensic laboratories do not use analytical instruments or supplies that were specifically designed for forensics testing. Instead, they rely on those used by the general analytical industry (e.g., the pharmaceutical and environmental monitoring industries). Although the analytic instrument and supplies sector of the forensic market is small when compared with these other markets, these products play a central role in forensic analyses.

The total forensics sector—analytical instruments, fingerprinting, DNA identification, drug identification, computer forensics and all other niches—has become sizable and is growing fast. BCC Research estimates the total sales of forensic products and services in the United States amounted to nearly $12.7 billion in 2016 and projects that sales will grow at a 7.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2022 to $19.2 billion.

Apart from computer forensics and forensics accounting, the largest segments are DNA testing and fingerprinting/biometrics. DNA testing revenues are expected to increase at a CAGR of 6.0%, from an approximate $1.5 billion at present to more than $2.0 billion by 2022. Revenues from fingerprinting/biometrics are forecast to increase at a CAGR of 7.5% during the same forecast period, rising to $1.8 billion by 2022 from $1.2 billion in 2016.

In terms of employment in the forensics business, as of 2016, there were about 14,400 forensic technicians working in the U.S.; however, this figure does not include a substantial number of additional highly-skilled professionals working in the electronic evidence and data recovery part of the business.

According to the 2016-2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of forensic science technicians is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4% over the next decade. That is the second-fastest growth rate among all categories of scientific technicians, exceeded only by environmental science and protection technicians. Demand for electronic evidence and data recovery workers is likely growing faster than this rate of 2.4%.

Major Findings 
Forensic science and the business environment have experienced some dramatic challenges since this report was last updated in 2013. Scientific reviews by the National Research Council (NRC) and National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as well as specific court cases such as the June 2013 Supreme Court decision allowing DNA fingerprinting of arrestees, and policy changes have highlighted problems with certain forensic techniques and called into question the validity of thousands of criminal convictions. 
In 2013, the FBI alone announced an inquiry into 2,100 convictions that relied on microscopic hair comparisons that modern-day forensic scientists consider to be potentially unreliable. Problems have also been found with ballistics evidence and bite-mark evidence. The NAS has specifically found that bite-mark evidence is unreliable. 
The only major sector of forensics that has withstood the highest levels of scrutiny is DNA identification. Market demand within the forensic science industry is moving toward inexpensive, reliable and efficient products that are based on techniques accepted by the scientific community. A key objective in designing for forensic testing has been to develop accurate and fast, portable products for field use. 
Although cost is an important issue, it remains imperative for products to be based on techniques that will hold up in court to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize the outcome of a case. One of the factors projected to drive future growth is more emphasis on certification and scientific validity. An indication of what underpins this came in a major 2009 congressionally mandated report from the NRC that found serious deficiencies in the nation’s forensic science system and called for major reforms and new research. 
According to the NRC, mandatory certification programs for forensic scientists are currently lacking, as are strong standards and protocols for analyzing and reporting evidence. There is also a scarcity of peer-reviewed studies establishing the scientific bases and reliability of many forensic methods. Addressing these shortcomings is expected to partly underpin future spending on forensics. 
DNA testing is still the definitive forensic technology and breakthroughs in both sample processing and crime scene application continue apace. As of mid-2017, the amazing development of DNA testing has resulted in the Innocence Project, exonerating 350 factually innocent Americans— at least 17 of who were on death row awaiting execution. By 2009, the federal government and all 50 states had passed bills requiring collection of DNA from offenders convicted of certain crimes. 
In addition, the federal government and many states have also passed legislation to allow collection from people who are arrested for certain crimes. These legislative mandates drive testing volumes. Other techniques, such as simple blood group identification, have become obsolete. DNA testing volumes have also increased dramatically since implementation of the federal Justice for All Act. 
The Act makes post-conviction DNA testing available to anyone declaring his or her innocence in federal cases. This program alone generated $1 billion in incentives for states to adopt DNA testing policies and streamline the significant backlog of more than 1 million untested DNA evidence samples in various criminal cases as well as samples from convicted offenders and arrestees. 
The majority of forensic testing is done in publicly funded laboratories. Several dozen private consulting laboratories also offer services to analyze forensic evidence in the U.S. A small number of accredited private laboratories that perform DNA typing do play a significant role in the industry. This is because they are used by law enforcement agencies that do not have the equipment to perform the analyses or by agencies with large backlogs of samples. 
The majority of instruments in forensics testing are used to provide chemical information about crime scene evidence. Tests performed on these instruments compare and identify substances. Other instruments are microscopes and forensic light sources. 
Fingerprinting continues to move rapidly away from ink-based methods to biometric technologies such as electronic fingerprinting scanners. Newer areas of forensics such as computer forensics, cybercrime and forensic accounting are currently seeing substantial growth with many established firms. 
Technology development in forensics is extremely dynamic with innovations such as use of ancestral DNA in suspect identification and technical breakthroughs in computer forensics as mobile devices and solid-state storage devices become commonplace. 
Among recently issued patents, those involving DNA, nucleic acid and DNA with mass spectrometry technology, as well as electronic evidence recovery techniques, far outpaced other approved forensic applications. 

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