Picture the scene: You’ve just come off a long-haul flight. Normally, you’d approach border control with trepidation, dreading the lengthy queues that could delay the last leg of your journey when you want to get home. However, this time it is different. This time, you’ve already verified yourself in advance using your mobile device or computer, linking your biometrics – your face – to your identity. So, at border control, you simply walk through a biometric corridor, where the technology verifies you as you pass through. 

This is not sci-fi, it’s possible. Contactless border control is a reality and what’s more, we have the technology for Africans to do this.

The need for contactless border control technology 

The efficiency of contactless border control extends beyond personal impact to widespread, positive institutional implications. The world’s border control and immigration processes contain bottlenecks and potential security risks. Check-in-from-home services reduce pressure on a strained infrastructure and add a much-needed security layer as has been seen by the Department of Homeland Security and Eurostar. For the traveller, it reduces waiting times, giving them more time to enjoy the journey and it seems that people are highly receptive to the concept. In a recent survey by our technology partner, 85% of the 16,000 respondents said they would or might complete their ticket and ID checks from home to speed up the travel process.

Opening up efficiency for Eurostar

Eurostar​, for example, needed to expedite the check-in and immigration process for its passengers to enhance customer experience and create an effortless travel process.​ iiDENTIFii is a premier partner of iProov, who  provided the biometric capability for the creation of a new face biometric travel corridor called SmartCheck​, which dramatically improved the efficiency of the process​. 

Let’s look at the customer journey​: 

Before travelling, the traveller enrols on their device via the iProov.me app, which gives access to an accelerated pre-boarding option, allowing for a quicker through-concourse journey.​

To enrol, the traveller scans their passport before taking a selfie-style face image to link the individual to their passport and ticket. Patented Genuine Presence Assurance technology uses liveness detection to ensure the individual is a real person and confirms that they are authenticating in real-time.​

Once enrolled, the passenger receives confirmation that their documentation has been assured – enabling a ticketless, contactless process across the UK border.​

On arrival at the concourse, the passenger walks through a contactless biometric travel corridor for a brief face scan and x-ray before passing through one final passport check at French Border Control and boarding the train.​

This successful trial, by Eurostar, demonstrated that it’s possible to integrate secure identity verification at scale and how opt-in, consent-based face biometrics can dramatically improve the passenger experience, reduce congestion and enhance security.​ From 18 July it will be rolled out to Eurostar’s Business Premier and Carte Blanche holders with longer term plans to extend it to the full customer base.

The African opportunity

When it comes to mobile technology adoption, Africa is second to none and provides rich potential for the adoption of biometric verification. For instance, out of 58 countries that use biometric data for elections, 27 are African. 

Face biometric verification presents a revolutionary turning point in border security and immigration for the continent. It opens up the opportunity for travel unencumbered by lengthy, manual border processes and checks.​ This is possible as we have trained the same technology that enables no-contact biometric corridors on 50 million African faces, translating into identity and unhindered travel for all, but specifically for all Africans.

Now is the time to pioneer a new reality for border security in Africa. Speak to one of our experts about face authentication on the continent.

Posted: July 18th, 2023