Verify on the fly: Touchless airport security clearance using biometrics

  • Wilbur Rodgers
  • March 19, 2020
  • 6 minutes read
  • 1886

Around one hundred and seventeen years ago, the Wright brothers designed, built and flew the first successful airplane. The global population at that time was 1.6 billion but today the world population is almost seven times. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of travelers as well as the number of airports around the globe. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), cross-border travel will rise by 50% in this decade to reach 1.8 billion international arrivals by 2030.

Additionally, increasing requirements regarding data privacy and customer satisfaction foster the need for advance global solutions to ensure simple, safe and reliable verification of passengers. Passengers have to go through the cumbersome process of planning & scheduling, check-in processes, baggage management, and security clearance, which most of the time reduces the level of passenger satisfaction.

Today’s technologically advanced customers prefer a seamless authentication process whether they are signing up on social networks, opening bank accounts, purchasing something or traveling for business.

Airports and airlines need to adapt to the challenge of intense security while providing customer satisfaction to the population that prefers a seamless customer journey. This need to find a balance between security needs and travel demands can create problems in the long run especially if current processes are still going to be in practice with hefty security measures. Airports and airlines spend a considerable amount to increase security standards every year. In 2018, $3.9 billion were spent on security with additional focus on identity management.

Most of the airlines fulfil security requirements through manual ID checks at the entrance/exit gates. Security imperfections have been an issue associated with the airports and airline industry for quite long. According to Newzealand Air, around 550 of its customers show up for flights with expired documents and about 10 percent sign up online with incorrect passport information during online check-in. There are cases where illegal immigrants and criminals cross-travel due to flaws in manual identity verification procedures or human negligence.

Improving the security, efficiency and traveler experience at airports

Technological advancement is paving ways for the seamless customer journey and enhanced airport security. For instance, online ticketing and e-boarding passes replaced the long waiting queues to get boarding passes. Additionally, the use of biometrics to verify identity is also another breakthrough for security enhancement at airports. Many airports around the world are already implementing biometrics to identify travelers.

Biometric verification at the check-in eases the customer journey and enhance the security while reducing the errors and long waiting times to get passenger identity verified with manual document checks.

Document and biometric identification eliminates the need for manual ID checks or employing special staff to check and screen traveler identity. By utilizing online ID verification, airports and airlines could enhance the security and use human resources for other critical security tasks.

Online identity verification using biometrics is already helping online businesses and financial institutions to securely verify their customers’ identities. Biometric authentication using kiosks at the airport is helping airlines and airports in reducing costs and managing time. Moreover, it also provides seamless yet enhanced security that can bring a whole new revolution in the aviation industry. However, it is only considered as the first step to build an enhanced air traveler journey.

Building a seamless traveler’s journey

Building a fully automated airport security system requires technological and human resources to be used in collaboration. Shufti Pro is contributing to make airport security seamless and fully automated. While providing online identity verification and KYC services to digital businesses, we are rendering touchless biometric authentication services to the airports and airlines. Including three different biometrics and ID document checks, Shufti Touchless Kiosk will enhance the security and customer experience.

Going touchless solves many issues including the unhygienic contact with devices at crowded places. Biometric scanners are often touched by a lot of people, which with concerns over hygiene, sometimes becomes an issue. Physical contact with biometric sensors is no less dangerous than touching a doorknob at crowded places. In some of the countries, rising concerns over hygiene issues due to outbreak of viral diseases such as avian influenza, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the most recent one Corona Virus (COVID- 19). Since most of these diseases spread from person to person by touching communal surfaces in crowded places, touchless biometric authentication is becoming more streamlined. Shufti Touchless Kiosk not only deals with this issue but also focuses on security and customer satisfaction.

How to improve airport security using touchless biometric authentication?

So far we have identified that security, customer experience, cost and time management, manual errors, and unhygienic contact are the issues that need to be addressed. Biometric authentication systems that could minimize these issues could help in improving airport security.

Shufti Touchless Kiosk

Shufti Touchless Kiosk is designed to address these issues. It uses 3 different biometric (Face, Palm, Voice) modalities to make the verification process more stringent.

Facial Recognition

The facial recognition system is capable of identifying, verifying, validating an individual using a digital image or a video from a video source. The facial recognition system uses biometrics to map the facial features of a person from a photograph or an image. The face is considered as the most popular and secure biometric feature, second to fingerprints, to verify the identity of a person. Using facial verification provides security and reinforce positive customer experience. Additionally, passengers didn’t have to make any contact with the device to authenticate identity.

Palm Recognition

Palm recognition is an authentication method that uses different unique biometric traits on the palms of people’s hands. Mostly palm-vein recognition and palm handprint recognition with a variety of other techniques are used to verify or authorize a person to use certain services. Utilizing palm recognition technology adds an extra layer of security on top of facial recognition, enhancing security and promoting touchless verification.

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition works by digitizing the voice of an individual into different digital segments and matching it against the already captured/produced template of the same individual’s voice. Voice recognition is considered as soft biometrics as it doesn’t require any contact with the device.

Verify on the fly

Shufti Touchless Kiosk, with three different biometric modalities and real-time authorization in 5 seconds, instantly verifies passengers’ identity. Passengers don’t have to wait in long queues for their turn to get documents and identity verified by the staff which most of the time could take a lot of time depending on several factors.

Airports and airlines could revolutionize the identity access and management at airports by enhancing security, providing a seamless experience to the passengers and implementing cost-effective solutions that are time efficient as well.