Leading the shift to a Digital ID: How NEC simplifies integration and prioritises privacy to meet airline and government needs


By Jason Van Sice, Vice President of Aviation, NEC Corporation of America

The increasing shift to Digital ID for expedited customer service in travel raises a few questions. Logistics of implementation is often first for organisations, but personal privacy in the age of biometrics is foremost for many individuals.

NEC has invested as much thought in these issues as it has in continually improving its recognition technologies in its more than 40 years of delivering biometric solutions. Aviation services designed for the NEC I:Delight platform and NEC’s published AI and Human Rights Principles reflect the company’s commitment to building trust across all adopters.

Airlines, airports and travelers share certain customer experience benefits of biometric-enabled identification:

  • Fast and accurate verification of ticketed travelers result in shorter lines
  • Hygienic, touchless Digital ID eliminates personal contact at checkpoints
  • Compliance with security requirements enables full curb-to-gate service
  • Streamlining routine processes frees staff time for more personal service

Backend business benefits, such as demand-driven IT optimisation and enterprise management controls, apply specifically to the organisations implementing the technology. NEC designed I:Delight and supporting aviation services for easy integration with existing infrastructure.

Interoperability, Scalability Are Key

A cloud-native, agnostic and readily adaptable platform makes NEC I:Delight interoperable with existing infrastructure. NEC’s aviation services support and simplify cost-effective integration with various airport and airline systems. Retrofitting systems requires flexibility, and NEC expertly and efficiently adapts systems by adding cameras and other necessary elements to upgrade customer experience without replacing entire business systems.

Specifically tailored aviation frameworks ease the implementation. I:Delight aviation services offer built-in APIs based on industry standards, such as IATA and ICAO, and developed with expert partners like SITA.

I:Delight is configurable for specific air travel needs, yet scalable and extensible for long-term use across multiple use cases and situations. Travel industry partners foresee a future where identity management services automate a seamless and secure travel experience from curb to pillow.

Transparency Builds Trust

Digital ID adoption requires users’ trust that the system protects identities and personal data. NEC and its partners establish Data Privacy Impact Assessments, give users complete consent and control, and prove to regulatory agencies and governing bodies that the technology both verifies and secures information.

NEC works with industry associations including the Future of Privacy Foundation (FPF), International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA), IJIS Institute, and more to inform key government stakeholders on issues and solutions. Openness with agencies such as U.S. Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) helps representatives field questions from elected officials who answer to the public.

In the U.S., where many airlines use the U.S. CBP Travel Verification Services for international travels, data is encrypted and saved for a limited time. Facial recognition is used only to match a passenger’s face to the passport or visa image on the flight manifest to ensure the person boarding the plane is supposed to be on the flight.

NEC has similar relationships with agencies and governments around the world and has made a global commitment to privacy and human rights through our Digital Trust Business Strategy Division. With stakeholders representing consumers, technologists, legal and industry experts, the division develops policy and process for NEC Human Rights by Design (HRbD) – an expansion of our “Privacy by Design” process.

NEC’s continual investment in its verification technology and commitment to users’ privacy rights led to its leadership in the shift to Digital ID in air travel and transportation. We will continue to develop opportunities for streamlined processes and improved customer experiences throughout the travel ecosystem.

To learn about the NEC I:Delight platform with Digital ID management services and our interoperable aviation services and solutions, click here.

Visit NEC’s booth #D1 during FTE Global in Las Vegas, December 7-9 to learn more!

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