Increased Demand in Touchless Biometrics
Do you remember this time last year? It’s a bit of a time warp to be sure. For us, this is when we usually prepare for the busiest days of travel during the holiday season. Fast forward to today, when COVID is top of everyone’s mind, and we see the forecast for air travel demand over the holidays is modest. Despite best efforts, fragmented processes are still a pain point across airports and long lines are being flagged as potential super-spreader events. The imperative for safety couldn’t be higher in the travel environment, with the reduction of crowds and shared touchpoints particular points of focus.
When Airside and Tascent first began supporting customers with biometric solutions, we independently focused on delivering leading technology to drive operational efficiency and superlative user-centric experiences, underpinned by data privacy standards. Both of our approaches are deployed in the market and have earned high reputations from travelers, government partners, airlines and airports. The result is that businesses and organizations are delivering their services in a safe and timely fashion, helping them maintain customer trust.
Airlines and airports are adapting quickly to the challenges of 2020, innovating at record speed – and taking great interest in our integrated touchless, seamless travel solutions. In addition, by integrating health status services into our industry-leading biometrics technologies, we are further supporting the needs of our customers today. We understand that no one enjoys an added touchpoint or check of their health status; it usually comes with an element of irritation – and possibly anxiety – over the accompanying cost, time, and hassle. We believe the experience can be a positive one if biometrics and health checks are integrated thoughtfully and with integrity.
Biometrics Done the Right Way
The use of biometrics (an individual’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics) at various airport checkpoints — from ticketing and check-in to security screening and gate processing — has been growing for decades. Nearly twenty years ago, The 9/11 Commission Report recommended that a biometric screening system should be implemented in government and the private sector in a systematic way. We’ve seen how it has been adopted in the air travel industry almost worldwide, from the U.S. to New Zealand, Dubai to the U.K.
Simply put, biometric technology offers travelers a way to navigate the travel experience that is faster, cheaper, and safer, which in turn has led to significant investment from airlines and airports. But the systems are still ad hoc and siloed, leading to worry about how governments and businesses use databases and galleries of personal information for an unknown myriad of analyses and marketing purposes.
Airside and Tascent have been working for years to address these critical identity and access problems. We believe that travelers should know what data is being captured, for how long and where it is being held, and how it is disposed of, as well as understanding the possibilities and consequences of system glitches and false identification.
Our shared belief is that stress-free digital identity validation is possible, and data security and privacy must guide technology implementations. This is why our respective technologies naturally fit together into an integrated solution that is built on the principles of keeping people physically and digitally safe and in control of their personal information. This is a win for the travelers and the airlines and airports who want to provide these services without complicated, multiple installations or the burden of managing sensitive data.
How We’ve Evolved to Meet the Moment
Airside is the leading pioneer in privacy based digital identity management. Best known for the Mobile Passport App that has been used by over 9 million people to speed through U.S. customs and passport control, Airside recently released the Airside Digital Identity App for digital identity verification, enabling touchless travel at any biometric touchpoint. The Airside App also enables the ability to securely add and share verified COVID lab test results with airlines, airports, and other businesses.
Tascent is a recognized leader in user-friendly biometric acquisition technologies. Over the past ten years, Tascent (formerly AOptix Identity Solutions) has been innovating in multimodal biometric identity. Today, Tascent provides end-to-end biometric identity capabilities, including back-end identity management, biometric matching, and endpoint devices. Its biometric solutions serve tens of millions of people each year in some of the most challenging environments, to include airports. In response to COVID, Tascent launched the InSight Face EBT (External Body Temperature) product that is one of only a few ISO- and FDA-compliant devices to determine body temperature. Tascent is also tackling related challenges, such as face-mask detection and partial-face matching, to provide a broad and dependable offering.
Combining the capabilities of the Airside App with the Tascent InSight Face product offers airlines and airports the opportunity to adopt and leverage a comprehensive technology solution for multiple use cases. For instance, during trip planning and arrival, the Airside App can be used for mobile identity verification, facial biometric capture and COVID test results sharing wherein the traveler can choose which ID(s) and which test result(s) to share with the relying party, such as their airline. Then, once at the airport, Tascent’s facial recognition system with EBT provides a streamlined, intuitive, touchless user experience to confirm the traveler’s biometric match against the Airside App, plus a real-time external body temperature check.
The partnership between our companies makes the secure sharing of travelers’ verified digital information a reality. The travel industry is already using our solutions to provide travelers with the safety and security they are seeking to return to travel. Our synchronous technologies are available for rapid integration today.
Our technologies will continue to evolve. For instance, we recognize that one day it may be required to share other lab test results or vaccine records to gain access to a variety of places and services in travel, work, and entertainment. Using comprehensive, safe and secure technology to provide mobile, digital, and touchless biometric experience will be key to making it successful.