How Facial Recognition Will Change the Way of Travel



Stakeholders in the travel industry must routinely monitor and process information from an immense number of individuals. This makes beneficial the adoption of any reliable technology that can speed up this activity -- both for travel organisations and for travellers. At a crucial time for the industry’s recovery, in which the public is acutely aware of matters pertaining to health, safety and sanitisation, there is strong demand for the industry to improve facial recognition engines as a requisite to enabling contactless solutions. 


How Facial Recognition Works 

Facial recognition is a form of biometric technology which incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) and makes it possible to initially enrol individuals and later verify their identity based on a mathematical representation of their facial features alone. The software identifies facial landmarks, extracts the geometry of someone’s face and generates a mathematical representation of the individual. This mathematical representation is compared to a database of known faces and the identity with the highest similarity is retrieved. 

In biometrics, verification (1:1) can be understood as the task of assessing the validity of an identity claim made by a subject, i.e., whether the subject is who (s)he claims to be or not. 

Biometric identification (1:N) is the task of assessing whether a subject is present in a closed database of N possible subjects, known as the gallery.  


How Transport Hubs and Border Controls Benefit 

Within the travel industry, security is a critical concern that facial recognition technology can help to address. At transport hubs and border control crossing points, for example, screening and real-time security checks can be facilitated by comparing on the spot visual captures of travellers’ faces against an internal database. This data repository may house not only facial images but also links pertaining to an individual traveller’s health status, immigration history, current visa status, criminal record, etc. With facial recognition, authorities can easily identify travellers and determine the places to which they should or should not be granted specific access. 

By being a robust digital identity management platform, Seamless Journey Platform act as a hub of multi-source data streams, connecting multiple stakeholders around the traveller's journey. This enhances security, customer experience, and operational efficiency. The information generated by operations on the platform can in turn provide insights for data-driven decision making. 



What This Means for Travellers 

For travellers, the near-instantaneous recognition of facial features helps to speed their passage along the journey and provides opportunities to personalise and enhance their travel experience. 

Using facial recognition in tandem with an orchestration platform, travel stakeholders can centrally manage traveller identity, allowing the use of a biometric single token across the different touchpoints of the traveller's journey. The traveller’s biometric token effectively becomes their permit to pass through checkpoints and other controls. An on-the-move face scan unlocks passage at every stage, including airline lounges, and other traveller experience points. 

By associating an individual traveller’s facial recognition biometrics with other data streams such as product preferences and transaction histories, that experience becomes both seamless and personalised. For example, retail outlets and hospitality venues can offer travellers the option of providing a photo of themselves prior to using their facilities or checking in, along with their preferred options for products and services, order fulfilment, and so on. When the camera at the venue identifies their face upon arrival, the traveller can then receive a uniquely tailored and personalised service. 


Managing Facial Recognition Data While Safeguarding Privacy 

Incorporating facial recognition into the travel experience requires the capture and collection of personally identifiable information and the manipulation of related data from multiple connected streams. For this reason, the use of the technology also comes with a certain amount of public concern over how travel stakeholders are utilising and sharing their personal data. 

Beyond identification and verification, facial recognition technology has a range of other potential uses. These include identifying if an individual is male or female and providing an estimate of their age. Such sophisticated applications have been a source of worry for some -- particularly in the light of various allegations linking law enforcement and security agencies around the globe with profiling of face subjects based on race, gender, ethnic origin, and other factors. 

Coupled with responsible data governance, an accurate, reliable, and unbiased facial recognition algorithm is a safeguard against such concerns. The Vision-Box Facial Recognition (FR)™ engine is built on an algorithm that is agnostic and compliant with all required references and is continuously evaluated by NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology). This is the body to which all players in the face recognition and verification space must submit their engines for evaluation. NIST regularly evaluates algorithms on how well they perform and is perceived by the industry as the de facto ranking for algorithm performance. 

Vision-Box FR™ is an integral capability of Vision-Box's Seamless Journey Platform, which enables the centralised and responsible management of travellers’ identities. With travel industry stakeholders needing to strike a delicate balance between throughput, user experience, and security, Vision-Box Seamless Journey Platform rich collaborative platform provides real-time intelligence and end-to-end traveller-centric ecosystems management. With “Privacy by Design” at its core, the travellers retain stewardship of their own data, and how it is shared. 


Real Environment Experience Matters 

Every business case has different needs. Operational reality requires agile systems and engines capable of answering different business cases. It’s of critical importance to develop and continuously deliver a solution that is fundamentally configurable and able to respond to every client’s needs. Real environment experiences and the underlying development of a proper implementation methodology are the way to ensure that our clients are successful with our solutions. With this in consideration, Vision-Box FR™ engine is constantly optimised to ensure that the algorithm is totally unbiased and agnostic to race or ethnicities, providing a personalised, inclusive, and expandable traveller journey. 

If you would like to learn more about how facial recognition can change the way your travel organisation operates, contact us at Vision-Box. 


Publish date: March 2022

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