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Idemia chosen for Iceland’s biometric border checks, more CBP facial recognition rollouts

NEC on biometric boarding, SITA recognized for work in APAC
Idemia chosen for Iceland’s biometric border checks, more CBP facial recognition rollouts

A series of new biometrics deployments have been announced by CBP at U.S. borders, while Idemia’s technology has been chosen for Iceland’s biometric border checks, NEC is thinking big with its Star Alliance partnership, SITA has been recognized for its work in the APAC region and Saudi Arabia is launching a new tender.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has introduced face biometrics for its Simplified Arrival program at airports in Bermuda, and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as Las Vegas to automate the identity checks already required for admission into the country, according to a trio of announcements.

Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport, Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas have each partnered with CBP to launch the technology, which fulfills the agency’s Congressional mandate to biometrically record all entries into the country and the corresponding exits of all foreign nationals, the announcements say.

“Given today’s health concerns, biometric facial comparison technology can play a key role in helping the travel industry address COVID-19 health and safety risks by implementing seamless processes,” says Clint Lamm, director of field operations for CBP Preclearance. “Combining Simplified Arrival with our Preclearance procedures will not only help us process passengers more efficiently, but it will allow us to better protect traveler and officer safety.”

The pedestrian crossing at Andrade, California is also getting a new facial recognition system to process border crossings, according to another announcement from CBP.

“CBP is expanding a secure, touchless process for identity verification at select pedestrian lanes for travelers arriving into the United States,” states Anne Maricich, acting director of field operations, San Diego Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “CBP’s use of facial biometrics delivers an efficient, streamlined travel experience while adding an additional layer of security to prevent the fraudulent use of travel documents.”

U.S. citizens and some others can opt out of the process by notifying a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point, where the image is captured for comparison to a travel document.

The deployment of the system to land border crossings has accelerated over the past year, with several points of entry announced weeks ago.

Idemia selected for Iceland’s EES solution

Biometric technology from Idemia has been chosen by Icelandic Police to implement as part of its EU Entry/Exit System (EU-EES).

Idemia will deliver its Augmented Borders solution, along with the company’s multi-biometric TravelKiosk EU-EES self-service kiosks. TravelLane eGates are also included, and Idemia will ensure the operator counters, mobile solutions and tracking systems are implemented according to the requirements of the Icelandic Police to shorten response times and improve coordination.

The new system is expected to reach operation in 2021, and process an average of 10 million travellers per year. Almost 95 percent pass through Keflavik International Airport, but the country also has 30 seaports.

Prior to COVID-19, air traffic growth to Iceland had been growing at 20 percent per year.

“Idemia is proud to accompany Iceland as one of the first countries of the Schengen Area to transform its border control system to comply with the European Entry/Exit System,” said Philippe Barreau, EVP for Public Security & Identity activities at Idemia. “We are determined to provide a comprehensive set of multi-biometric solutions that will give the assurance of a future-proof program, making Iceland our innovation partner in the implementation of the EU-EES. Our advanced border management solutions, based on a 40-year relationship with governments, will offer a better user experience by interactively adapting the border process per traveler category, while ensuring maximum security.”

NEC considers longer term potential of Star Alliance system

Star Alliance’s adoption of NEC’s I:Delight identity management platform to simplify its biometric boarding process is expected to eventually reach all 26 member airlines, according to a company blog post.

The airline group’s Star Alliance Biometrics program was launched last month,

Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh emphasizes the potential for biometrics to remove infrastructure concerns, and NEC notes the biometric platforms potential for wayfinding and contactless payments with facial recognition.

NEC also claims that its algorithm works on masked faces within 1.5 seconds with more accuracy than human analysis of a subject with a mask pulled down.

SITA recognized for innovation and growth in APAC

Frost & Sullivan has recognized SITA with the 2020 Asia-Pacific Airport Automation Growth Innovation & Leadership Excellence Frost Radar Award for its high growth and use of emerging technologies including blockchain, AI and biometrics.

“Automation is more important than ever in this COVID-19 environment to better enable social distancing and passenger flow without compromising processing times,” comments SITA APAC President Sumesh Patel. “The SITA Smart Path implementation in Beijing Capital International Airport is a great example of this and marks our most comprehensive deployment of next-generation technology to date. It also signposts growing interest from the market to automate and optimize airport operations through smart technology and prepare the region for sustainable future growth.”

SITA Lab collaborates with airlines, airports, and other technology providers to develop the company’s new technologies, also including digital twins and its facial recognition-based biometric boarding system. Integrated solution SITA Smart Path is in trial or deployed operationally in Miami, Beijing, and Mumbai.

Saudi Arabia plans iris biometrics at borders

Iris biometrics will be deployed to all border crossings by the Saudi Ministry of Interior, Gulf News reports, to accurately identify all travelers in support of national security.

Saudi Arabia’s National Information Centre will implement the capability through a contract with a Saudi supplier, and is currently inviting bids.

Once contracted, the system will be deployed to all land, sea and airports.

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