The airport travel experience has remained constant for a LONG time. For many of us, words like “unpredictable,” “slow,” and “frustrating” immediately come to mind. I spend a lot of time in airports, and can personally affirm that the international pursuit of innovation within the aviation industry could not be more obvious or focused than it is right now.
Your usual experience: arrive at the airport, wait in a line to get your ticket, wait in a line for security, then wait in a line to board your plane—and until just a few years ago, this was generally the case. However, as other fields have proven the advantages of certain technologies, applications to and acceptance by commercial aviation has become more and more apparent. Biometric solutions have especially begun revolutionizing the airport experience for all stakeholders involved – travelers, airlines, airport operations, vendors, government, and law enforcement.
About five years ago, biometrics did the same for the mobile device industry—and before that, fingerprints were only associated with law enforcement. Today, fingerprints have become ubiquitous as a quick and easy replacement for our passwords, allowing us to unlock everything from our phones to our bank accounts, with a single press. The ease of use has made life a lot simpler for users, and a lot more secure for providers.
That same convenience and security is now being brought to the airport environment, by leveraging all the technological innovations that have been produced over the last ten years.
In fact, at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Airport Innovation Forum this year, our session was “Know Your Customer: Leveraging Personalization and Innovation in the Passenger Experience”, and focused on how airports around the world are engaging with new and innovative solutions that bring the real benefits of self-service and automation to modernize the airport experience for everyone.
During the 2019 AAAE Airport Innovation forum in Chicago, many speakers got up on stage to show how technology is revolutionizing the airport. From self-driving vehicles to optimization of back office operations, to facial recognition and analytics that reduce wait times using dynamic content displays, a digital transformation in the aviation environment is definitely under way. And an important priority has universally taken shape: how to make travelers safer and the customer experience more convenient throughout the aviation journey—everything from check-in, bag-checks and security to airport shopping.
Security is, of course, of the utmost importance, and rightly so–even though it often has a negative impact on the traveler experience. We know the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are working daily (and nightly!) to keep our skies safe, which is why biometrics is so important to the security process. Having the ability to instantly verify that secure documents are valid and do match the identity and confirmed reservation of the traveler ensures that only vetted passengers arrive on the other side of that security line. Biometric security enhancements actually serve a dual purpose; not only are biometrics more accurate at screening individuals, they also move lines along faster. By bringing automation to necessary processes–that can then be optimized and become more predictable, this creates a better airport experience for everyone.
With the ability to predict wait times, passengers are able to spend more time doing what they choose, from relaxing in the lounge, to visiting duty-free shops (as biometrics also lets you “pay with your face”!).
Big change cannot be driven solely by the technology, though, which means leadership events like the AAAE Airport Innovation Forum are extremely important. More collaboration amongst industry stakeholders is critical to the success of the digital revolution in commercial aviation, for real change that is predicated on thoughtful policy and implementation, careful execution, and effective change management.
This paradigm shift is being driven by a recent realization by all stakeholders that, in fact, there is a common goal – digital transformation, for a better customer experience, improved commerce, cost and time savings, optimized security and smoother airport operations.
Next time you’re at the airport, think about how biometrics is, or could be, reducing the burden on airport operations, and making your life more secure.
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With threats on the rise and criminals growing more sophisticated by the day, citizens trust law enforcement agencies to stay one-step ahead.
For law enforcement, processing arrests involves the entry of bio-demographic information, taking fingerprints and possibly mug shots of the suspect. The data is then sent to state and federal authorities to determine if there are existing arrest records, verify that the suspect has not provided false information and to determine if there are any outstanding warrants. Historically, fingerprints were taken with ink and then scanned, and often returned due to lack of detail or inaccurate scans. In some cases, AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) or other database hits could take days to return a search result to the arresting agency.
The key to keeping communities safe is accuracy, reliability and speed with solutions that help you protect the public when it counts.
With modern livescan technology, law enforcement now has the option of using a device that electronically captures images, fingerprints, palm prints, mugshots, scars, marks and tattoos, as well as irises, signatures, voice and even possibly DNA. AFIS or MBIS (Multi-modal Biometric Identification Systems) and even the livescan station itself have the ability to provide an agency with nearly instantaneous results and feedback on a suspect. This technology allows state and local agencies faster access to precise, accurate matches to help solve more crimes, detain repeat offenders and keep their communities safer to live, work and play.
At NEC, we’re proud to offer award-winning biometrics solutions, such as our SmartScan™, to help take state and local law enforcement to the next level.
Easy to Use
NEC’s SmartScan offers a modern, user-friendly interface with the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Touch screens, with swipe and pinch-and-zoom functionality, are as familiar to operators as using their mobile devices. This modern, intuitive interface guides the operator through the record creation process minimizing errors and increasing efficiency.
The user is guided through the record creation workflow on an innovative, ergonomically designed and height-adjustable “UnCabinet.” The UnCabinet includes large 22” displays, prominent foot pedals to make capturing images hands-free, and a flexible configuration based on the needs and price point of a department, agency or organization.
Security and Maintenance
With so much personal data captured, our livescan system must be secure from malware, hacking and unauthorized access. Multifactor authentication and virtualization-based security is available to protect credentials, roles and system privileges.
Our SmartScan includes centralized management for local and remote control plus a convenient chat function for system administrators to manage the system and remotely assist operators during the record creation process. NEC Customer Service Centers also provide 24/7 support and remote diagnostics to help technical support resolve issues immediately.
Multi-Modal Biometrics Capture
The livescan system is only as helpful as the biometric scans it can capture. NEC’s SmartScan produces superior quality images from a variety of biometric captures using top-tiered hardware and validate using both NEC superior and standard NIST image quality checks.
Depending on the needs of a department or agency, our solution offers support for many different peripherals and modes of capture:
Articulating Arm and IrisID R100 and CMI Tech EF-45 devices for Iris Capture
Voice Capture and Audio-Visual Chatting via the Logitech® Brio 4K HD Webcam
Improved Mugshot and SMT (scars, marks and tattoos) Capture per Evolving NIST Best Practice Recommendations and Additional Camera Devices from Canon, CMI Tech, IrisID and Logitech
Comprehensive Friction Ridge Capture including all Fingerprints and Palmprints using either Crossmatch and Green Bit devices as well as Integrated Biometrics and JENETRIC
Supplemental signature capture, barcode and magstripe reading of IDs, driver’s licenses and smartcards are also available as an optional feature from a variety of devices
NEC’s SmartScan solution is truly livescan made smart!
Certifications and New Use Cases
Since NEC SmartScan introduction in 2016, many major features have been incorporated, such as advanced multi-modal biometrics capture, as well as the documentation of new civil use cases. Our Advanced Recognition Systems (ARS) team recently accepted an order of 100+ SmartScan Stations for implementation by a federal agency.
While NEC ARS solutions are available around the world, in the U.S. our livescan system is currently certified in Alabama, California, Georgia, Nevada and Texas. More state certifications are coming – check with your NEC ARS Account Manager for the latest list and availability. An emerging NEC SmartScan “UnKiosk” and alternative software for driver’s license applications and renewals is also available, as well as Identity Management Self-Enrollment.
NEC SmartScan also offers:
Pre-booking options for Field and Remote operations, including a new remote booking application
FBI Certification for Crossmatch® LScan and Green Bit DactyScan capture devices
Printing of hard copy cards and reports
USB ports for additional plug-in peripherals
Industry standard hardware for a cost-effective solution
Full standards compliance and design for ANSI/NIST formatted records and FBI EBTS specifications, XML IEPD and NIEM
Integration with AFIS, MBIS, CCH and RMS systems
Return on Investment
NEC’s SmartScan offers an almost immediate return on investment. Your livescan operators will have streamlined processes so they can efficiently scan more applicants and suspects in far less time, and with fewer rejected scans. NEC’s ARS solutions are NIST validated, adaptable, secure, and continually improving in order to help increase productivity and exceed the goals and objectives of law enforcement and other civic agencies.
In addition, if there are budget concerns, NEC has the ability to assist; NEC Financial Services offers creative financing and leasing options to support system upgrades.
To learn more about the NEC SmartScan, you can explore here, and find out more about NEC’s biometric solutions by visiting necam.com/ARS.
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Personalizing the Customer Experience with a Unified Biometric Key
The path to a frictionless, personalized customer experience begins with something unique and individual—your face. Using facial recognition technology, a single unified biometric keyenables a seamless experience as you move through an environment, whether it’s a sports stadium, entertainment facility, airport, hotel or casino. Facial recognition technology is the key that unlocks a contactless customer experience in a wide range of venues and situations. What could be more convenient or more secure?
Recent developments in facial recognition solutions are not only enhancing security in airports, stadiums or hospitality locations, but also making access to public spaces more convenient, effortless and personal for patrons. Today, consumers are enjoying the speed and security of unlocking their phones using facial recognition, without the bother of passcodes. These demonstrable user benefits have made face-driven technology more common and acceptable as a secure and time-saving part of our day.
Increasingly, consumers are looking for this same easy, contactless and convenient experience in other areas of their daily lives. Benefits of biometric technology are applicable to other situations that require secure access and easy transactions. Here are a just few ways NEC, a leading global provider of Advance Recognition Systems technology, is changing today’s customer experience through facial recognition.
Everything from dropping your car off in a parking garage, entering the gate, purchasing concessions or swooping into a VIP suite is made easier by using a unified biometric key as a virtual parking pass, wallet and secure entry ticket. Guests no longer need to juggle parking permits, paper tickets, cash or credit cards. They don’t even have to remember where they stored their electronic tickets or try to recall app passcodes or loyalty numbers. Best of all, no more waiting in long, annoying lines. Let’s be honest, who wants to wait 20 minutes just to buy a water at the concessions?
Personalizing the Customer Experience Yields Positive Results
From the point of view of a sports venue, hotel or theme park, facial recognition solutions enhance the customer experience and can have a positive impact on the bottom line as well. Some examples include:
Providing concierge alerts when a VIP enters a facility
Enhancing guest services protocols
Providing crowd density estimates to allocate staff more efficiently
Offering opportunities for personalized sales and services on site
A single unified biometric key triggers concierge alerts when a VIP enters a hotel or casino, prompting enhanced guest services and special offers to the valued patron. Front-desk staff can greet returning loyalty guests by name, further personalizing the check-in experience.
Stadium VIP patrons enter suites seamlessly using facial recognition. Enhanced services are delivered in a more personalized way. Theme parks quickly admit season pass patrons through the gates using facial recognition, with the ability to provide special offers and services geared to loyal guests. Often the technology can be integrated with and deployed using existing venue systems, making the installation an even easier, more cost effective situation.
Since customers’ purchasing during an event is faster using a single unified biometric key, this increases the number of transactions that can be processed in the finite duration of an event. Not having to bother with cash or credit cards speeds up purchases and enables staff to serve more customers more quickly.
Facial recognition technology also captures crowd estimates at venue entrances, concession areas, hotel lobbies or retail areas so additional staff can be deployed immediately where they are most needed.
On-site offers can enhance the customer experience. Facility managers don’t really know who is attending a sporting event or musical performance. They know who bought a ticket, but not much information about the purchaser. Facial recognition provides real-time demographic data about attendees or guests to enable a venue to further shape the customer experience with on-the-spot offers and services.
For instance, if a stadium has facial recognition data that shows it has a large percentage of young men ages 21-29 in attendance for an event, it can prepare by stocking more beer at the concession stands, or change the advertising on retail shop displays to appeal to this demographic, or even alter music choices in the common areas.
Marketing partners and sponsors are able to curate offers in real time to appeal to a certain type of guest—enhancing the customer experience and positively affecting brand recognition and potential sales as well.
Transforming Transportation Processes
Stadiums, theme parks and hotels are not the only facilities being transformed into more efficient and secure places. The transportation industry is also seeing new uses for NEC’s facial recognition technology, considered to be the world’s best in search speed and accuracy according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).Transportation should be about getting to your destination quickly and with as few problems as possible.
Today’s airports are busier, more congested and more stressful than ever. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 821 million passengers boarded U.S. airline flights in 2016—and with the demand for air travel expected to double over the next 20 years, this will certainly make for some very crowded airports.
In the United States, facial recognition technology is being tested to permit passengers to board flights quickly, and also for fast access to airline lounges. Since the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency started testing NEC’s NeoFace® Express facial recognition solution in U.S. airports in 2016, it has registered a success rate of close to 99%. Other airport-related potential uses of a single unified biometric key include: passenger check-in counters, bag drops, in-airport entertainment, boarding, retail and monitoring baggage claim areas.
The cruise ship industry is finding that a single unified biometric key can be used for everything from terminal queue management and effortless check-in to frictionless embarkation and debarkation, and for seamless payments and onboard purchasing.
Enhancing Security Through Technology
Security concerns have invaded almost all aspects of our lives in recent years—from travel to entertainment and sporting venues to retail spaces. Unfortunately, when people gather in public places, there is automatically the awareness of an increased threat, forcing security concerns to be uppermost in our minds.
Our reality is the tension between the heightened focus on keeping public places safe while not having a negative effect on the actual customer experience. The ability to create an excellent customer experience requires balancing both efficiency and security. Authorities responsible for the safety of public places are extremely concerned, and debates over how best to address security concerns are ongoing. At the same time, increased usage of facial recognition in consumer products is making the technology more acceptable as consumers recognize the convenience it provides: frictionless, personalized and secure experiences.
Solutions that combine surveillance cameras with facial recognition software can elevate the level of public security in airports, stadiums and other public places. Also, enterprises can ensure only authorized personnel have access to their facilities, while retailers and sports and entertainment venues can secure their facilities and protect their customers.
Changing the ‘Face’ of the Customer Experience
Deploying a single unified biometric key based on facial recognition technology helps deliver a superior guest experience. Our unique face is rapidly becoming the universal key to replacing our usernames, passwords, paper tickets, parking permits, payment options and even more.
Whether at a stadium or a major transportation facility, NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems solutions are at the forefront of reinventing the customer journey by melding the optimal combination of convenience and security.