We reviewed an interesting article this week, featuring the views of Rockwell Collins’ Director of Airport Strategic Programs, Daver Malik, on how the implementation of biometrics in airports around the world is making CEOs rethink passenger experience.

There is little doubt that passenger experience is high on the priority lists of airport operators. The creation of a seamless travel experience is being achieved through the implementation of biometrics in areas such as airport security, with facial recognition technology and other innovations delivering faster progress in a more secure environment.

Airport CEOs realise that a faster, more streamlined experience for travellers can translate into increased revenue, as they spend more leisure time in the airport for shopping and eating, and are more likely to use the airport again.

Malik highlighted five key areas that airport CEOs and other decision makers should consider when implementing and integrating biometrics technology:

Working with the right partners to select the right solution

According to Malik, one of the most important considerations will be to select the right partner to work closely with to ensure the right technology and solutions are implemented. Flexibility is a key factor in this area, and in an industry that is constantly evolving, working with industry leaders that understand the technology is a core requirement.

He said, ‘The airports and the technology providers really need to work together to make sure that the end solution being delivered meets the expectations of the airlines and passengers. Entering the integration process with an open mind will help the partnership thrive.’

Partner with local border control and immigration agencies

It is crucial to ensure that a robust airport biometrics strategy is created that meets all mandatory, regulatory conditions. Working from the early stages of implementation planning with local border control agencies and immigration departments can smooth the process.

Daver Malik said, ‘If airports are considering a single token, end-to-end journey for their passengers facilitated by a biometrics token, they should engage these agencies and airlines early in the process to ensure interoperability amongst all stakeholders.’

Facing the challenge of keeping up with technology adoption

According to Malik, another challenge facing CEOs lies in the pace of consumer technology adoption, which is driving airports towards innovative solutions to keep up.

‘The adoption and acceptance of biometrics among consumers in a variety of applications – think cell phones – is driving airports to adopt this technology,’ Malik stated. ‘CEOs have a choice. Airports can proactively put together an integrated passenger experience and operations strategy which incorporates biometrics from the start or be unprepared for this change and have it disrupt their operations. Having the right technology partners and a plan in place is crucial.’

Removing the limitations of platforms to attract new airline carriers

With biometrics adoption increasing around the world at international hubs, airport CEOs are looking at flexibility in their solutions to stay competitive.

Daver Malik said, ‘What airport decision makers absolutely want in their toolbox is a platform that does not limit technological options for the airlines they are trying to attract. An airport needs to provide the basic resources for its carriers, and biometrics infrastructure will soon become part of those regular expectations, especially among international airlines.’

Ensuring a future-proofed solution

The implementation of biometrics technology, whether as a part of the end-to-end passenger journey, or for the border control process, must remain scalable and flexible. To do this, there must be an understanding of the biometrics platform. Working closely with knowledgeable, experienced partners is a key factor.

According to Malik, ‘Biometrics is not just about cameras and automated gates. It has much to do with understanding airport operations, airline processes, and especially their backend systems.’

As the use of biometrics technology and processes increases, airports will look towards the latest innovations, such as those within self-service baggage check-in, to improve operations and passengers will become accustomed to the enhanced experience this delivers. With self-service adoption also increasing, global airport CEOs in airports of all sizes around the world will need to keep these considerations high on the priority list when looking at the implementation of biometrics.

Visit airportknowledge.com/talking-airports for more on this story or to find out more about Rockwell Collins airport solutions.