NEC, SITA, Idemia and Clear talk touchless biometrics and seamless airport technologies deployments

NEC, SITA, Idemia and Clear talk touchless biometrics and seamless airport technologies deployments

Details have emerged about biometrics deployments at airports around the world by NEC, SITA, and Clear, while startup Travizory has held a successful fundraising round, and Idemia sees early adopters of advanced technologies showing the way for the broader industry. As the aviation industry adjusts to difficult conditions, touchless technologies are being hurriedly developed and adopted, in the hopes of luring passengers back to the skies.

NEC has chosen Red Hat’s OpenShift container platform to provide the massive scale and flexibility needed for its implementation of its biometric One ID project at Narita Airport in the Tokyo area, FutureIoT reports.

The network of facial biometric scanners that replace all manual screening of physical identity credentials takes extensive computing power and infrastructure that can support usage spikes during peak travel hours. Red Hat OpenShift provides those capabilities to NEC with a cloud-native architecture based on its enterprise Kubernetes platform.

“By combining NEC’s biometric scanning technology with Red Hat’s OpenShift, we have built an agile and highly scalable platform for the future utilising open, robust and flexible container services. As a result, travellers will be able to proceed quickly at the airport. In the future, we will promote the deployment of this solution at airports in Japan, internationally and throughout a wide variety of industries,” said Toshifumi Yoshizaki, senior vice president, NEC Corporation, per FutureIoT.

One ID is expected to reach operation at Narita International Airport Passenger Terminals 1 and 2 in the near future.

Travizory raises $2M for biometric travel platform

Traveler identity and biometrics platform Travizory has raised $2 million in a funding round led by Atlantic Labs.

The platform combines Passenger Name Record information with biographic details, biometrics, itineraries and health information to allow entry requirements to be validated by airport and border officials, according to PhocusWire.

The company was created in 2019 by former SITA Labs Manager Renaud Irminger.

“This funding from Atlantic Labs comes at the perfect moment: we are working with several governments to enable the safe reopening of borders and we will launch our platform within weeks,” Irminger states.

SITA Smart Path implemented in Beijing

Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) is now operating automated, contactless biometric passenger experiences with SITA’s Smart Path, in what the company says is its most extensive biometric deployment to date.

BCIA is the busiest airport in China and the second busiest in the world, according to the announcement, and by providing a fast and frictionless experience throughout the passenger journey with facial recognition, SITA Smart Path is expected to significantly speed up passenger processing. The technology can process more than 400 passengers boarding an Airbus A380 in less than 20 minutes, SITA says.

“Automation is more important than ever in this COVID-19 environment to better enable social distancing and passenger flow without compromising processing times,” says SITA APAC President Sumesh Patel. “The BCIA implementation is our most comprehensive deployment of next-generation technology and signposts growing interest from the market to automate and optimize airport operations through smart technology.

“With Duty-Free shopping now also optimized by SITA Smart Path we’re beginning to uncover the full potential of biometrics to boost passenger safety, convenience and confidence, in turn helping the air transport industry to recover and evolve.”

The deployment includes more than 600 biometric checkpoints, 250 lanes of automatic gates, 80 kiosks and 30 self-bag drop stations to process passengers on international flights. Biometric checks are in service for processes from check-in to flight boarding.

Idemia sees leadership emerging

Measures in place at airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai demonstrate the leadership the airports need to show to set the tone for safe travel post COVID-19, Idemia MEA President Richard Mikhael writes. Mikhael discusses the critical role of contactless biometric technology throughout the air travel process to reopening the aviation industry in an Aviation Business Middle East editorial.

APEX and IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader said during a recent FTE (Future Travel Experience) APEX Airports virtual event that airports will need to “set the tone for safe passenger travel,” Mikhael observes. A video produced by Abu Dhabi Airport does this by highlighting the rigorous measures in place, including contactless biometric technology for border control processes, temperature checking with thermal scanners, and tracking of individuals within the airport with Google Glass.

Abu Dhabi’s e-Border project utilizes ‘Iris-at-a-Distance’ (IAD) cameras, which capture both iris and face biometrics in less than two seconds. Dubai uses Idemia’s OneLook multi-biometric solution.

Deploying the technology beyond security checks to enable seamless trave experiences is the logical and necessary next step for airports everywhere, Mikhael argues.

Idemia has been feverishly working on solutions to facilitate a ‘new normal’ in air travel, including solutions for remote approval of travel documents like e-Visas and electronic travel authorization, solutions for remote enrollment through Idemia ID2Travel, and biometric tokens for allowing passengers to easily complete contactless processes at various airport touchpoints. The company is offering its MFACE facial biometric device for enrollment and on-the-move identity verification, its eGates, TravelKiosk, and Traveler Analytics Suite, in addition to a range of biometric devices and algorithms.

Clear arrives at Nashville International

Nashville International Airport has installed biometric devices from Clear at the North end of its terminal, the Tennessean reports.

MNAA President and CEO Douglas Kreulen says the location of the devices was based on the location of Delta Airlines’ gates, as demand was particularly high among the airline’s passengers, but the deployment is planned for eventual expansion to the South end of the terminal. The ability to avoid sharing documents or touching common surfaces is cited as a key advantage of the deployment by Kreulen.

Touchless baggage check live at all domestic United locations

United Airlines developed software for touchless baggage checking at its check-in kiosks in response to the pandemic, and had deployed it to all 219 airports in the U.S. where it owns kiosks by the middle of June, Transportation Monitor Worldwide writes in an article reprinted for an Epson blog post.

The article reviews the touchless processing measures put in place by airlines during the pandemic, and how they fit into the larger trend towards biometrics use in airports.

Future Travel Experience Head of Strategy and Development Ryan Ghee notes that touchless capabilities have existed for a while, but are newly being embraced by airports and airlines that were previously unable to justify the expense. Ghee expects biometric adoption at airports to accelerate around the world.

Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker says that fingerprint was the primary biometric modality offered by the company’s kiosks, and were used by 80 percent of end-users before the pandemic outbreak. Iris scans are now set as the primary option, and are selected by 70 percent. Thermal scanners have also been added to Clear kiosks in case temperature checks are mandated.

“I think we used to be a solution looking for a problem,” she tells Transportation Monitor Worldwide. “Now there’s a problem looking for touchless as a solution.”

SITA plans to launch a solution to help airlines rapidly deploy proprietary APIs on common-use kiosks.

The article notes that similar plans are seen in airports around the world, including a notably large expansion of touchless technology at Bangalore.

Speech Technology Center is holding a webinar today on the One ID concept and its key requirements, use cases for facial recognition in airports, and biometrics as part of control and monitoring processes. You can register for the webinar, titled “Operational conditions for Airport video control and facial biometric systems during global disease” here.

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