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The Future for Biometrics and Technology in Airports Pt. 2

In the second part of his look at the future of biometrics and technology in Airports, Jim Slevin looks at potential security fears, cross border platforms and what Airports may learn from the Construction industry in the adoption of biometric technology.

Security Fears

There is a fear that security personnel become too dependent on the technology and therefore miss potential security threats, but every day in air transport we rely on security screening technology to automatically detect threats.

For example worldwide more than 4 million bags are screened every day, by technology, to detect explosives. If this was carried out by hand the industry would grind to a halt. Instead this use of technology allows other layers of security to focus on intelligence, behavioural detection and a myriad of other activities to create a multi-tiered security deterrent and detection regime.

Technology should never sit in a vacuum and has to be within an envelope of Policy, People and Processes to ensure a robust mitigation to risk.

Cross Borders

flagsTechnically nothing stops an international biometric platform being developed. Arguably the move to ePassports containing biometric information does nothing but assist in facilitating this approach.

However, politically it is unlikely it will be developed beyond bilateral agreements between nations or nation states such as the Netherlands/US agreement to extend the US Global Entry programme to Dutch citizens.

Socially it is almost certain to remain at a bilateral process for many years to come.

The Future

Biometric technology has been deployed across an enormous range of industries. Where traction has been fastest and therefore most valuable has been in, relatively speaking, lightly regulated industries where commercial value drives the deployment much faster. Human Recognition Systems operate a very successful business unit focused on the Construction sector where the safety and commercial benefits have driven acceptance of deployment much faster than in the highly regulated aviation space. Perhaps a lesson that can be learnt is to ensure the freedom that commercial benefits drive decision making pace more than ‘lower case p’ political or stakeholder management dictates.

Read part one of my look at the future of biometrics in Airports.


To learn more about why you should use biometrics to measure the flow of passengers through their airports, download our white paper or call us on +44 (0)333 456 2001. Alternatively contact us today.

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