By Chris King •
Updated: 18 Jul 2023 • 16:37
Image of a woman holding her mobile phone for facial recognition.
Eurostar Group, the high-speed international rail service connecting the UK with mainland Europe, has announced the roll-out at London St Pancras Station of SmartCheck.
This new method is a contactless fast-track facial biometric check-in system supplied by iProov, a global provider of biometric solutions. With SmartCheck, passengers can go through only one passport check instead of two.
SmartCheck enables Eurostar’s Business Premier and Carte Blanche passengers to save time and avoid queues for ticket and UK border exit checks in the station.
It securely enrols their ticket, passport and face before they travel, using their mobile devices whenever convenient. The result is a contactless, ticketless, and secure travel experience that enhances the overall passenger journey.
Customers booked in Business Premier or Carte Blanche holders who would like to use the SmartCheck opt-in can download the SmartCheck iProov.me app from the Apple App Store or Google Play to their smartphone.
Before travelling, the passenger uses the app to scan their identity documentation and verify their face alongside their tickets using their mobile device.
The new system then enables Eurostar passengers to expedite pre-boarding processes at the station by proceeding through a dedicated SmartCheck corridor with its walk-past facial biometric checkpoint.
This fast, contactless route, replaces the existing processes of check-in at gates and the manual UK border exit check. Just baggage inspection and one passport check through French border control remain.
Effective from July 18, 2023, the rollout follows a successful trial of the new system that occurred between December 2021 and April 2022 during which iProov worked with its partner Entrust to create the pilot to meet Eurostar’s needs.
The SmartCheck solution incorporates iProov’s Biometric Solution Suite with Biometric checkpoint, together with Entrust’s Identity Verification as a Service (IDVaaS) technology for identity orchestration and digital travel credential (DTC) management.
Gwendoline Cazenave, Eurostar Group’s CEO said: ‘Providing a seamless station experience to our customers is a priority for Eurostar: we continue looking for solutions to increase capacity in stations and simplify the passengers’ flows’.
She continued: ‘SmartCheck in St Pancras International station is a solution for a faster and seamless check-in experience. By introducing SmartCheck, we become the first rail travel operator to adopt biometric face verification. This innovation will enhance our customer departure journey, which is crucial to provide Eurostar’s unique travel experience’.
Andrew Bud, founder, and CEO of iProov commented: “The rollout of SmartCheck in Eurostar’s Business Premier check-in at London St Pancras is significant because it clearly demonstrates how facial biometric technology can be used to manage border control in a smarter and more efficient way, to benefit both organizations and passengers at scale.
‘By creating a biometric corridor, we are moving security checks away from the station, saving precious time and space at the border, streamlining the boarding process to one that’s far faster, more convenient, less crowded and stressful, yet even more secure’, he added.
As part of the ‘First of a Kind 2020’ competition run by Innovate UK, the trial of the iProov solution was funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The initiative supported research, development, and innovation for the UK rail industry.
The trial involved Eurostar passengers and focused on the check-in and exit control processes operated by Eurostar at St Pancras Station.
It was developed in close partnership with Eurostar and WorldReach Software, now part of global identity and data security company Entrust. All personal data is processed in compliance with the GDPR, with full passenger consent.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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“Your digital papers please” instead of “Your papers please”…we’ve come a long way. Hitler would be proud. Nothing about our lives is private or personal anymore. We are a society that has sold our souls for a bit of convenience and/or false sense of security. He who gives up freedom for a bit of security loses both.
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