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NEWS Last modified on December 10, 2018

BLOG: Biometrics will bring us a step closer to frictionless travel

Over the last decade, all players in the industry have been investing heavily in technology innovations that can help them deliver a frictionless travel experience for their customers, writes Gemalto's Nora Blomefield.

In 2019, biometrics will become more widely adopted by travel industry players as a means to improving the travel experience and removing the friction from security checks as airports, train stations or even at hotel receptions.

Facial recognition technology, for example, can significantly simplify the passenger boarding experience and allow airports to manage a higher volume of travellers more efficiently.

British Airways is using facial recognition to speed up boarding for some of their flights in the US. The company claims that it can board a plane full of 400 passengers in just 22 minutes using facial recognition technology. 

Face and fingerprints are recorded for travel by immigration agencies for some time and this is only set to increase as the technology develops.
For example, the upcoming EU Entry Exit System or EES will be deployed in 2020 and will ask member states to collect facial data as well as four fingerprints from all third country nationals, entering or exiting one of the 26 states.

Not only will this substantially improve how nations track and record immigration, but it will provide an efficient system that minimises delays as well as spot travellers overstaying their visa.

Next year travel providers will take this a step further by incorporating biometrics into a wider range of services such as bag drop, lounge access and personalised services.

ABC gates will continue to help streamline border control especially in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Extending further to the hospitality industry AI and facial recognition can be used to check-in customers automatically.

As biometrics is becoming more widely adopted in the travel sector beyond border control, consumers will become more comfortable with opting in to share their biometric data in exchange of a more seamless travel experience.

• Nora Blomefield is Gemalto's head of travel and border management.

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