With more people travelling internationally than ever before, countries around the globe are being faced with the challenge of maintaining travel security and border protection while also processing huge numbers of people efficiently.
The result is the increasing introduction of Automated Border Control (ABC) solutions at airports and border crossings. These solutions are focussing on biometric screening to deliver higher levels of security and an improved, more streamlined passenger experience. By using multimodal biometric screening including facial recognition technology, fingerprints and/or iris scans, this type of screening is able to identify and track passenger movements.
One of the largest companies developing and supplying this technology is Vision-Box®, which has implemented 400 automated border control solutions around the world and operates automated borders in more than 30 international airports.
After initial identification at the airport, biometric data can continue to be gathered on passengers at key touch points throughout the terminal (including baggage drop and boarding), to ensure that it is the same passenger as previously identified gets on the flight.
All of the information gathered on passengers can also be shared between airports, airlines, border authorities and countries, making intelligence exchange between authorities in cooperative countries more efficient and wide ranging.
While some passengers have been wary of this type of biometric information gathering, it seems that it is set to become a fact of life. After it was revealed that a number of passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 were travelling on stolen passports, gaps were exposed in current passport control measures used around the world. It is also well known within the industry that boarding pass swaps at transit airports is not uncommon and is usually not picked up by authorities.
This is all leading to improved passenger processing systems and ABC seems to be the solution. According to a report by Acuity Market Intelligence, between now and 2018 there will be a massive increase in expenditure on ABC. Europe will be the dominant region accounting for 43% of total airport ABC eGate and kiosk spending, or $954 million over the forecast period to 2018. While Asia is projected to be the second largest market for airport ABC eGates and kiosks accounting for 21.4% of global spending.