As of the 18th of July 2023, Eurostar has officially launched its SmartCheck biometric gates for Business Premier and Carte Blanche passengers at London St Pancras International station.
The SmartCheck solution was created by Inverid partner iProov, which utilises Inverid's ReadID NFC technology to enable its facial recognition solution to gather verified personal information and a high-resolution face image from an electronic identity document's chip. SmartCheck was created to combat a 30% reduction in efficiency at St Pancras, where long-lasting effects from the Covid-19 Pandemic and Brexit combined with station bottlenecks meant inefficient and labour-intensive pre-boarding checks reduced the number of passengers able to board Eurostar trains successfully.
To solve this problem, the passenger downloads an app before they arrive at the station, where they read the chip of their passport and take a selfie for facial verification. Then, when they arrive at St Pancras for their journey, instead of having to queue to show their passport for manual inspection, they simply walk through a SmartCheck biometric gate which scans their face using data collected in the app and proceed to the luggage security area. Eurostar began to trial SmartCheck (powered by iProov and Inverid together with Entrust) in 2021, and has now gone live with the service for Business Premier and Carte Blanche class passengers. The same partners collaborate in this project now. "SmartCheck clearly demonstrates how facial biometric technology can be used to manage border control in a smarter and more efficient way, to benefit both organisations and passengers at scale," according to Andrew Bud, CEO of IProov.
Jim Slevin, Inverid's Travel & Borders specialist and regional director UK&I states that "SmartCheck shows how the generation of a Digital Travel Credential (DTC) through remote self-service, pre-registration, secure identity and document verification will streamline all modes of international travel without compromise on security. In the context of the European Entry Exit System (EES), electronic travel authorisations in general and ensuring an enhanced passenger experience - the blueprint is here."
SmartCheck shows how the generation of a Digital Travel Credential through remote self-service will streamline all modes of international travel without compromise on security. Jim Slevin, regional director UK & Ireland Inverid
This streamlined boarding process is more efficient for Eurostar and also more enjoyable for travellers who face less stress on their journey by pre-emptively registering. The SmartCheck app only needs to gather the passenger's information once, and it is stored securely for future use. SmartCheck will be evaluated in the autumn of this year before Eurostar decides whether to implement it in other stations and passenger classes across its services, creating an efficient and user-friendly ecosystem for European rail travel. Inverid is proud to be part of this innovation and looks forward to creating a seamless travel experience for other modes of transport.