Biometrics: The Future of Airport Management?

Every aspect of airport management appears to be developing and is doing so at pace. We have seen clever digital innovations allowing daily airport management to change including self-service check-in, robotics being used for cleaning and also for customer service, Wi-Fi being available in-flight, facial scanning security, the list goes on.

When I think back over my travel experiences at a younger age, I remember it as a process, moving across the airport with long wait-times, sat in departure lounges and big queues. However, with the retail market growths resulting in airports almost becoming shopping centres in their own right, and with technology being skilfully developed so quickly, now there is much less time hanging around and much more time spent, quite frankly, enjoying the experience!

A major big topic being discussed is the development of biometrics in airports and how this could define the future travel experience. Queues still exist, be it at security, passport control, check-in or boarding – the operation of getting on a flight still does contain an element of wait-time. However, biometrics is being researched and developed to make queues a thing of the past! We already use biometrics with our iPhones through fingerprint recognition and on the newest iPhone, facial recognition, so it is not surprising this technology is spreading into other markets to improve procedures. For airports, this will reduce queues and leave even more time to enjoy some retail therapy, a drink before the flight or time to get your makeup done!

British Airways is trialling self-service biometric boarding gates for international flights out of the US. As part of the earlier immigration process, a photo will be taken of each passenger. This will be used as verification through facial recognition at the gates instead of presenting a boarding pass and passport again.

Dubai International Airport has taken it one step further resulting in passengers no longer needing to pass through any security counter or e-gate. They have developed a virtual aquarium tunnel installed with approximately 80 cameras which will scan traveller’s faces or iris while they are in motion. This will keep a streamlined process which eliminates queues, making a smooth and convenient process.

Along with security developments, biometrics has the ability to enhance the entertainment aspect of airports. Panasonic and Tascent have partnered with the aim of bringing biometric passenger identification to every stage of the passenger journey! The company’s joint capabilities will create a much more personalised experience offering a whole range of opportunities for the future – read more here.

Biometrics is evolving the way in which we interact with the world. It is offering heightened security, personalised entertainment and a much more efficient, convenient solution to how we approach daily tasks. For airport management, biometrics offers the opportunity to improve the travelling process, making it slicker, safer and a much more enjoyable experience.

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