On 20th July 2022, the Home Office announced their intention to create a contactless, digital border for passengers at airports. A trial is intended to run for 2 years, with facial recognition being the primary approach.
With the history of government IT systems, a little wariness is understandable. Neither could the Home Office resist a mainly political announcement, rather than focusing on methodology, or practical detail.
Their post’s nature may be a reaction to a report on Border Force released at the same time, from former Australian immigration minister Alexander Downer. This slated the organisation, so the Home Office wanted to appear proactive.
Others have published more detail, with the intention being for passengers to register via an app. This pre-screening approach would allow them to bypass eGates, or other checks, maintaining security whilst reducing paperwork and journey time.
A Practical Opportunity
Professor James Ferryman of the University of Reading is a member of the Home Office’s Border Vision Advisory Group and did expand on the planned roll out. Contactless corridors are in his view fantastic news for travellers.
They will in the end integrate a variety of new technologies, avoid a need to stop at all within an airport and make life easier for those who can’t use eGates.
Disagreeing with his analysis may not be rational, when developing technology will continue to change our lives. As mentioned in the video, understandable privacy points will be raised and jobs could go but these concerns are unlikely to prevail.
A planet with 8 billion people requires systems which are efficient, or as we have seen, grinding to a halt is all too easy. Similar approaches are on the horizon for the movement of goods across borders.
We posted recently on Dynamic’s involvement in testing a new type of ATA carnet, app based rather than on paper. This proved to be a success and points to the future of temporary exports, or other movement.
Disagreement on the Northern Ireland protocol is ongoing and there are plans to solve some issues there through remote monitoring. Trials are taking place across the globe, to bring in similar systems.
This process isn’t new, the arrival of railways, telegraph lines and steam ships brought dramatic change over a century ago. The foundation of what we call globalisation, eliminating the effect of geographical distance.
System development and acceptance always take longer than anticipated but over time, we will see a different approach to borders everywhere.
Part Of The Future
Our team are excited about the changes coming to ATA carnets and we will keep you up to date. The same applies to wider changes in border control, which are a significant part of our customers lives.
Whether or not the 2 year UK trial goes to plan, there is little doubt that we will ultimately see a different approach. One that may feel a touch intrusive at first but should make travel more manageable.
An idea which began before steam ships, with the first dug out canoes 10,000 years ago. The latest apps are an inescapable part of the same human path.