London Heathrow initiates the world’s largest airport biometrics roll-out

31 Oct London Heathrow initiates the world’s largest airport biometrics roll-out

London Heathrow has recently announced their £50 million initiative to integrate biometric identification to passenger journeys. The technology is designed to streamline and improve the overall flying experience and reduce the time from ‘checking in’ to ‘taking off’ by a third.

Airport crowd

The airport is planning on using biometric technology as part of the check-in, bag drop procedures and on security lanes and boarding gates, signalling a huge change in customer processing for the future. Facial recognition will be deployed as part of the security infrastructure, but, unlike fingerprint identification, it is still somewhat unused in the mainstream security market. However, this latest announcement suggests growth in the overall biometrics industry is on its way.

London Heathrow has been an early adopter of biometric security – rolling out facial recognition on entry to the UK at the border and biometric egates – and is now rolling out biometric processing for increased security. Similarly, by adopting an integrated biometric solution, the airport is future proofing how it can engage with and personalise the customer experience.

Growth in the market

The growth in biometrics and other smart security systems has been a long time coming. Consumers and corporations are welcoming the possibilities available with the solutions, with the latest IATA research suggesting that 64% of passengers would choose to share their biometric data in exchange for a better travelling experience.

Today, we are surrounded by biometric technology. Phones and banking systems have already or are planning to, employ versions of the security for secure and easy access to personal information, and those who work in high-risk buildings will likely be familiar with fingerprint identification being used for access control. Similarly, the rise in biometrics in industries such as healthcare, government and schools signals the change in how we view biometric systems.

Surging demand for biometrics technology across various applications and industries – not only aviation – is projected to help the global biometrics industry grow to $59 billion by 2025. The widening scope is behind the increasing popularity, with companies utilising fingerprint biometrics as well as facial recognition and even passive biometrics.

Who is welcoming the security systems?

As mentioned earlier, smart security systems – such as biometric fingerprint readers and passive biometrics – are experiencing a huge surge in popularity. Today, companies must think like hackers and be savvy with their security solutions, with biometrics systems reducing the risk of human error and vulnerabilities.

London Heathrow is just one example of a corporation adopting the technology, and London Stansted is also considering the solutions in the very near future. Airport biometrics can considerably increase the security and reduce terrorism, but there are many other industries benefiting from and adopting the technology.

Government institutions are, of course, high risk and are early users of the security. However, with the increased risk of food terrorism and contamination – many food and drink manufacturers are employing fingerprint biometrics. In doing so, they are increasing accountability amongst their employees.

Likewise, we are seeing healthcare institutions – as well as care homes – increasing their security to safeguard their patients and their data, but also speed up processing and response times. The hope, in the very near future, is that a GP can access all patient records via their biometrics if the individual scans their fingerprint, rather than manually searching for their files.

Benefits of biometric readers

The benefits of biometric readers are almost unparalleled – particularly when used in the industries mentioned above.

Biometrics – including fingerprint identification – can substantially increase the security of the business and, subsequently, employees. The data is highly reliable and accurate and, therefore, only grants certain permissions and privileges to the assigned user. It’s also almost impossible to replicate a user’s fingerprint, with only a mathematical template stored on a control board separate to the reader head, which significantly reduces the risk of any security breaches or vulnerabilities due to human error.

Airport biometrics and other solutions can also help streamline processes. For example, Heathrow is hoping to reduce the time spent from checking in to take off, and the same can be said for other industries. Implement fingerprint identification eliminates the need to take manual timesheets and hiring employees to do so. The employees only need to enter the building using their fingerprint, and the database or access control system will do the rest.

If you would like to discuss the options for fingerprint biometrics with our team, you can get in touch here. Alternatively, we’ll be exhibiting at the Professional Security Magazine ‘Security TWENTY 18’ London Heathrow event, on the 7th November 2018, and would welcome the chance to speak with you directly!

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