Biometrics on IFE could accelerate border clearance, say developers

03 October 2017
Will the passenger of the future be able to undergo border clearance checks in mid-air? Source: Panasonic Avionics

In-flight entertainment (IFE) technology provider Panasonic Avionics has partnered with biometrics firm Tascent to develop in-flight applications for biometric identity equipment installed on seatback screens.

Panasonic Avionics and Tascent revealed their plans during APEX EXPO in Long Beach on 25-28 September 2017. They believe there are many viable business cases to blend biometrics and IFE, including enhanced personalisation, secure payments of onboard purchases, and a streamlined travel process based on border pre-clearance in-flight.

Jon Norris, senior director of corporate sales and marketing at Panasonic Avionics, explained to Jane’s that while the application of biometrics on IFE for border pre-clearance is novel, there are already enough developments in place to make this prospect viable and attractive to airlines.

At APEX EXPO, Panasonic exhibited the concept of biometric border pre-clearance on one of its digital-travel concept Waterfront smart seats. Norris explained how the companies believe border pre-clearance in-flight would work.

“Imagine that you pre-validate for the Global Entry process [to enter the United States] with the biometric information checked against the database. You get on the aircraft and the seat back screen takes your photo, verifies it, matches it to your passport, and you fill in the customs form,” he said. “Essentially, when you get off the aircraft to your destination your walk through a fast-track lane, which has one of these biometric devices which can verify you as you’re moving, and that simply lets you out.”

Norris emphasised that the proposal uses technology that is readily available, citing one of Tascent’s devices being already in use at Changi Terminal 4. “This is technology that is already ready to deploy and it is already starting to be deployed at airports,” he said.

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