The era of touchless travel begins
COVID-19 has altered paradigms, inciting governments and companies to establish new interaction protocols. Costly and futuristic-looking innovations today must be urgently implemented
In the “new normal” to follow, we expect the current emphasis on public health and safety to continue unabated, making the ability to travel, shop, and work without the use of tangible identification or credit cards, touchscreens, or digital signature pens higher priorities. To individuals and organizations alike, technologies that support both frictionless access and social distancing measures are now more important than ever. Solutions that satisfy these emerging needs will require two components:
1. Making touchpoints “touchless” to reduce the spread of infectious diseases
2. Providing an advanced, robust, and scalable platform to support hygienic customer experiences
Combined, these components offer a new, revolutionary approach to Digital Transformation (DX), which will enable personal identification via digital technologies to interconnect people—including corporations and local and national agencies—and processes. Participants who opt in to DX technologies can benefit from enhanced digital services that securely, efficiently, and hygienically permeate all facets of life.
Through many years of work with governments and enterprise partners, companies like NEC has developed technologies that can eliminate the need for physical interaction when identifying individuals.
An example of our touchless technology in aviation is NEC’s implementation of the first curb-to-gate biometric terminal in the U.S. with Delta Air Lines, in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
The curb-to-gate solution enables rapid identification and real-time screening of passengers. Travelers flying to an international destination can choose to use face recognition technology to check in at the self-service kiosks, drop bags at the check-in counters, go through the TSA checkpoint, and board a flight without requiring a physical ID card or boarding pass. Not only is the solutions more efficient, they are more hygienic with reduced risk of contamination, and they help streamline and secure customer interactions.
While integrating thermal sensors is the first step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of secure, touchless access requires sensor fusion.
Also, biometrics solutions including face and iris recognition, coupled with our cutting-edge technologies in behavior detection, body recognition, video analytics, and artificial intelligence, provide the tools to ensure successful implementation of touchless technologies.
SITA is another of the manufacturers that today plays a vital role in providing equipment for airports, airlines and migration areas. The firm has released a report highlighting the technology for touchless travel. Through technology, the journey will become increasingly ‘touchless’. Automation is of paramount importance.
Contactless, self-service technologies at every step will facilitate passenger flow, cutting queues while ensuring a social distancing-friendly passenger experience.
Through the use of biometrics and next-generation touchpoints throughout the passenger’s journey, SITA is enabling a low-touch airport experience. For example, using SITA Flex, agents can use their airline’s applications on a mobile device such as an iPad, anywhere, freeing them from a fixed location or station used by multiple parties that may be in close proximity. Similarly, passengers can operate process points such as kiosks, using their own mobile devices, without the need to touch screens on the airport’s physical infrastructure.
This solution has been successfully implemented at San Francisco Airport. Similarly, using biometrics passengers can be identified at journey points such as check-in or boarding without having to touch a screen. This will provide greater efficiency and improved passenger satisfaction with the welcome benefit of enhanced safety for passengers and employees alike.
SITA believes the future is mobile, putting passengers and employees back in control and minimizing the need for infrastructure with its associated costs while reducing physical contact which may pose a health risk. More than ever, the industry will work towards the vision of an entirely mobile-enabled journey. This will keep passengers informed and moving at every step, delivering walkthrough contactless experiences right up to biometric boarding at the gate.
Underpinning this mobile-enabled self-service experience will be new generation platforms. These will enable cloud-based businesses, giving airlines and airports rapid scalability and flexibility. Apps and real-time information will be accessible from anywhere, at any time, for both passengers and employees.
In addition, open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will unlock the data needed for mobile boarding passes, baggage check-in and tagging, security, boarding, transfers and baggage claim.
New kinds of digital identity will facilitate this smooth, touchless journey. This will allow passengers to breeze through the airport using digital IDs stored on their phone verified with facial recognition. Passengers will expect this to be both simple and safe.