WorldReach Software

WorldReach Software: The Urgent Need for Remote and Touchless Identity Services for Travel After the Pandemic

May 29, 2020 – IATA Strategic Partnerships Newsletter – COVID-19 Special Edition

At the time of writing, in May 2020, many international flights are cancelled, and airports are mostly deserted. Soon, however, health restrictions will begin to lift and international travel will show the first green shoots of recovery. That recovery will depend on the industry’s ability to respond to the legitimate concerns of travellers.

High on the list of traveller concerns will be: am I required to wait in close proximity with other travellers, and am I required to use touch devices (such as kiosks, eGates and fingerprint readers) immediately after other travellers?

At WorldReach, we have been working for several years on an IDV service (identity and document verification) designed for the specific needs of travel and border control. Our platform – Know Your Traveller™ – combines the power of smartphones to read a passport chip (via NFC) with the latest in facial recognition technology.

Any organisation using this service can have confidence that a genuine document has been presented and that the traveller is a real, live person who is the rightful holder of the document. All this can be achieved remotely.

This IDV service is already in production at volume in the real world: it has been used since early 2019 in the UK as the first step in the innovative EU Settlement Scheme. More than 3 million EU nationals have already applied successfully to settle in the UK, and an overwhelming majority did so remotely with no in-person visit and no mailing of hard copy documents.

This remote, touchless approach has huge potential across the travel continuum. 
Instead of requiring newly arrived travellers to stand in a queue with others and use a touch-screen kiosk or eGate, why not allow them to enrol before travel, on their own smartphone, and grant access based on a touchless facial match at the border?

Enrolling travellers in this way, via biometric matching at each airport touchpoint, is the seamless travel vision central to the IATA One ID concept. 

Instead of expecting visa applicants to travel to an application centre and wait with others to enrol their biometrics, why not allow them to submit the information remotely, using a mobile device?

At WorldReach, we believe travel service providers can contribute to pandemic recovery globally by adopting new processes that support the remote and touchless use of biometrics. We in the industry have an obligation to work collaboratively with agencies and partners to make that happen.

Jon Payne
Executive Director, Global Partnerships
WorldReach Software

For more information: WorldReach Software COVID-19 Response Paper