In 2020, the way facility managers and consumers interacted with their typical environments changed drastically due to the rapid global spread of Covid-19. In response, the architecture, engineering and construction industries and many others have seen a worldwide increase in the exploration and implementation of contactless biometric technologies.
According to PR Newswire, the global contactless biometrics technology market size is expected to reach US$18.6bn by 2026 — but with so many different biometric technologies on the market, how can you be sure your facility is spending critical dollars on the right systems, and most importantly, those that will continue to streamline your operations in the post-pandemic future?
It’s not unique to point out that, right now, customers are going to expect a more seamless experience with minimal person-to-person and person-to-device contact when they utilize a facility or procure a product. How an organization goes about planning for, procuring and implementing these technologies can make all the difference when considering long-term return on investment.
Recently, our special systems engineering team has seen an uptick in consumer demand for biometric technologies, including temperature-sensing cameras and video analytics, as well as biometric registration and credential validation. Although these biometric technologies are useful in many applications, the infallible accuracy of these systems, from temperature-sensing cameras to biometric registration, has yet to be proved.
In fact, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not yet formally recognize single-token biometric identification as credential validation, with the exception of trials. However, in the wake of Covid-19, we have seen the industry trending toward large-scale implementation of facial recognition biometric validation.
If your organization plans to invest in any of these biometric credential validation technologies in the wake of Covid-19, we suggest that every technology considered and implemented should serve multiple purposes. For example, airports house access control and security programs within the airport itself, so it would make practical and financial sense to have that biometric technology align with passenger processing biometrics so that airports do not need to invest in multiple types of equipment or systems.
The elimination of multiple biometric technology systems eliminates the cost and burden of training employees to use multiple systems, as well as the maintenance burden of having to stock parts and repair multiple complex technologies. There are many challenges to implementing a biometric solution that will be accepted by multiple agencies, but the upfront cost and energy to coordinate those efforts will pay for itself over time.
Another example of multi-purpose biometric technology was employed by our special systems team while working with a medium hub airport in northeastern USA. The team implemented a camera system that applied advanced analytics for temperature-sensing terminal biometric data collection to simplify passenger processing, as well as detecting open parking spaces in the landside smart parking system. This cuts costs with the use of just one video management system and streamlines data collection and dissemination within the airport’s asset management system.
The best consultants are aware of what products are on the market, have studied their potential successes or failures, have excellent resources, look at use cases in other industries, and do not make clients’ objectives bend to technology; rather, they craft requirements such that the technology eases their operation. As consultants, we employ agnostic design principles with the sole aim of implementing design and technology services to ensure our clients’ long-term success.
When considering the many new biometric technologies on the market, we recommend that an airport seeks out third-party research, either directly or through an agnostic consultant, to understand the true accuracy of manufacturers’ claims about the efficacy of their technologies. Our team also suggests reaching out to fellow airport operators who have implemented the technology being considered: inquire about their lessons learned, any unintended consequences and how these systems may have changed their operational procedures. We also suggest reaching out to other venues in the region; other industries often have fewer hurdles when it comes to implementing a new technology, and have the feedback you need.
At Arora Engineers Inc (Arora), we believe that the long-term value and ultimate utility of these biometric touchless technologies lie in a facility’s investment in backbone systems, including data infrastructure and congruence to potential outside agencies, which current and future technologies rely on for connectivity. These backbone systems include organized structured cabling systems, active networks, radio-based systems (wi-fi, DAS) and information transport systems and asset management tools.
Our experts can assess your current and future technology demands to address operational changes that need to occur once new technologies are in place. For example, there is no sense in deploying temperature-sensing technologies to assist in check-in, screening or boarding if there is no corresponding operational procedure to address a trigger or alarm once it’s announced. Our experts can work with your team to determine what technology solutions can be implemented to not only meet the complex needs of your facility today, but for years to come.