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Australian travel, policing and entertainment sectors see more deployments of biometric technology


As the Biometrics Institute prepares to kick off its 2018 Asia-Pacific Conference in Sydney, biometric technologies are being deployed to improve efficiency in several different industries within Australia.

NSW Police purchasing mobile fingerprint scanners

NEC has won an AUD$4.7 million (US$3.5 million) contract with New South Wales Police to deploy up to one thousand fingerprint scanners to use with smartphones in the field, iTnews reports.

The scanners, which will work through a proprietary app, were promised by the state government during the 2015 election campaign.

“This pairing will enable almost instantaneous searching and enrolment of biometric data on national databases by officers in the field,” a police spokesperson told iTnews.

The spokesperson also said the devices are a significant improvement over its legacy devices, which were provided by Morpho (now IDEMIA). “The new device provides a significantly enhanced fingerprint recording capability equivalent to what has previously only been possible from non-portable equipment, such as Livescan. It also provides an improved user interface with an in-built quality control capability which facilitates faster capture and searching of high quality biometric data.”

Biometric event entrance and security

Facial recognition technology will be a central part of event security in Australia and enable fans to enter venues without printing tickets within five years, TEG Chief Technology Officer Matt Cudworth told The Australian Financial Review.

TEG owns several businesses in event ticketing and related fields, including Ticketek, which formed a joint venture in China with YongLe in 2017.

“It’s obvious from a security perspective that our large events need some form of facial checking. We won’t be the owner of that technology, but we’re a key participant and the line is blurring between what data gets shared between participants,” Cudworth said.

Queensland used facial recognition during the recent Commonwealth Games, and has continued the practice, according to The Review.

“We’re taking a multi-factor approach at Ticketek and we have a Ticketek identity project that we’re working on to let you use your mobile to get through turnstiles,” Cudworth explained.

Deploying biometrics in the country’s “first digital airport”

The new Western Sydney Airport is deploying AI and biometric technologies to cut passenger processing times and speed up aircraft turnaround as part of its plan to be Australia’s “first digital airport,” The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

We can streamline the flow of this airport in a way a legacy airport will have to spend a fortune to retrofit,” said Paul O’Sullivan, WSA Co. head. “Digital technology will ensure the airport not only offers a better airline and passenger experience, but that we can get the economics right so that we can make it cost effective for airlines.”

The airport is being constructed at a cost of AUD$5.3 billion (US$4 million), and is due to open in 2026.
O’Sullivan said the airport hopes to cut aircraft turnaround times by 10 minutes to 35 minutes between flights, which is normal in North America.

Biometrics use is also increasing in Australia at the federal level, with Australia’s Department of Home Affairs recently expressing confidence in the quality of its facial recognition algorithms.

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