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Why airports ‘must have touchless tech post-Covid’

Travel hubs – like Dubai International Airport – where touchless technology gates are installed at border control will lead the way post-Covid

That is the view of Mitul Ruparelia, a sales chief at Vision-Box, a leading travel technology provider, which installs automated border control e-gates at airports globally.

In addition to checking a traveller’s passport, the Vision-Box e-gate scans the iris in their eye before permission is granted to pass through border control.

Dubai International Airport (pictured) bought 122 e-gates from Vision-Box for each of its three terminals around three years ago. Vison-Box has also signed contracts in Bahrain and Qatar, among other countries in the Middle East.

More than 100 airports worldwide use Vision-Box’s e-gate technology, which is also found at seaports and land ports.

Mitul Ruparelia - Head of Sales, EMEA & India, Vision-Box

Asked about how airports fare without the technology, Mitul Ruparelia, head of sales, Vision-Box EMEA and India, said: “An airport that does not have border control gates will be impacted more so now than ever before. If you think about the world that we live in, the less touch, contact or interaction the better it is.

“Overall screening efficiency is another challenge. As good as a human eye is, you’re looking at a passport image and then you’re looking at the person standing before you. How effective is that? How reliable is that across a 24/7 operation?

“In the current climate everything is being challenged on cost, and e-gates provide a much more clear and succinct way of processing passengers without creating a financial burden.

“It’s also key to streamline operations. Passengers are not having to wait in queues – they go straight through the e-gates.”

Ruparelia said that demand is still high from Vision Box’s customers despite financial constraints caused by the pandemic. “We’ve been fortunate not to be financially impacted, because there’s a demand,” he added.

Vision-Box is working with The Emirates Group to allow travellers to digitally enrol themselves through their mobile phone using biometrics before they arrive at the airport.

“Using their mobile, they would turn up at the e-gate and would be scanned and walk through to the departure lounge,” Ruparelia said.

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