Trialling Large-Scale Biometric Systems

This article describes the UK's largest biometric trial, recently conducted at Heathrow Airport. Generally used by airports to speed the processing time for frequent fliers, biometric systems include such applications as iris scans. However, in this article, in which the author declares the UK's largest biometric trial to perhaps be the largest in the world, the emphasis is not on frequent fliers. Instead, the focus is on the deployment of an appropriate system for passenger throughput where biometric data would not be retained beyond a 24-hour period. Speed, accuracy, and usability would be the chief factor sought. In fully describing how the trial was conducted, the author also notes some lessons learned. The main lesson learned showed that biometrics could meet the need for passenger verification within a busy airport environment. The strengths of the different biometrics under trial were also highlighted, providing useful data regarding speed, accuracy, and usability. Perhaps the most significant finding noted relates to the "fumble factor" (FT), which the author calls the greatest challenge because of the need to rapidly process passengers. FT is seen to be an area where both careful thought and planning beyond the actual biometric transaction are needed in order to realize the most significant savings of time. However, it was noted that different requirements by future decision makers would result in different biometric choices.


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  • Accession Number: 01050489
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 26 2007 10:19PM