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Touchless Airport Technology Offers Gateway to Improved Customer Experience

Imagine arriving at the airport, bypassing the lines to check baggage. Instead, you drop off your bags and move directly through security without stopping to pick up a boarding pass. When you arrive at your gate, you are already pre-cleared to board – all because you have enrolled in an online program that documents your passport information, as well as a selfie you take at the time of enrollment. 

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In effect, your face becomes your boarding pass. Once you enroll your face, you are cleared all the way through to your landing site.

In the age of pandemics, this touchless airport experience is already being rolled out by Delta as part of a pilot for its pre-check customers, and other airlines and airports around the world are experimenting with similar systems. It is part of a move toward touchless public experiences, online and off, that over time will provide both greater convenience and greater security.

In reality, many of us have already been using a version of these systems without thinking about it. Amazon Go stores allow customers to take what they need from store shelves and leave without stopping to check out. Some ride services and vacation rental companies complete registration and security c******** online by matching a driver’s license photo with a selfie. 

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Core to all of these is the use of biometrics – physical attributes that identify an individual, whether an iris scan, fingerprint, voice or facial recognition. Biometric-based technologies have tremendous potential for improving customer experiences, providing healthier public spaces and enhancing security.

At the same time, as the use of biometrics for commercial purposes expands, it is important to establish guidelines for its use. Two basics:

  • O*****: You choose to participate and enroll in the service. You have the right to ensure your information will be used solely for the stated purpose? Will you be able to change or update your profile?
  • Opt out: Just as importantly, should you choose to leave the program, will all your information will be permanently deleted from the system? Before you enroll in a biometrics-based program, but sure you know if and how you can later opt out if you choose.

Enrolling in a touchless airport experience has many benefits. In the next few years, that level of customer experience will become mainstream, as it is extended to other aspects of our lives. Now is the time to educate ourselves about how and where biometric-based systems can best add value and how they can safely become part of our normal activities. Because as history has shown, the adoption of new technologies, like biometric-based systems, has had a critical impact on the long-term financial success of countries.    

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