The eyes have it: biometrics in travel4 minutes
Imagine a world of air travel, where the only things you need to board a plane are your luggage and yourself. No more worries about forgotten tickets or passports. If trends continue, it’s easy to see how in airports and air travel, biometric technology, such as fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, or even microchips inserted under the skin, could be used to speed the journey.
It may happen sooner than you think, as travelers begin to expect what they already use in other industries.
With customer experience and convenience serving as major drivers for the adoption of biometrics, market research firm Goode Intelligence predicts that biometrics will be employed by 1.9 billion banking customers over the next two and a half years. If the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is anything to go by, we’ll soon be relying on biometrics to access our cars too. Swedish rail company SJ is already using microchips as a form of identification for their transit passengers.
Jowan Österlund is the founder of Biohax Intl., which carries out the implants for SJ. He looks at it as a way for companies to save both time and physical resources. “This is not just about moving a little bit faster in the line. In the long run, we need to think about how we can optimize our interactions with our digital environment,” he says.
Biometrics may be really taking off, but the technology isn’t new. Alastair Partington, founder and Co-CEO of biometrics and identity-technology company Tascent, says airports were the early adopters. More recently airlines have picked up the mantle. “Airports and airlines have begun to jointly innovate with offerings such as biometric bag-drop and biometric boarding, increasingly connecting the passenger journey by offering an integrated experience across multiple touchpoints,” Partington explains.
As with any major technological innovation, biometric technology has its own barriers to adoption, certainly on a widespread scale. Luckily, passengers being hesitant to accept this technology does not seem to be one of them. According to IATA’s 2017 Global Passenger Survey, 64 percent of respondents chose biometric identification as their preferred traveling token over paper documents or their mobile phones.