Improving Border Security with Better Technology Solutions: ePassports and Acuant CHIP™

Governments are increasingly turning to advanced technology like ePassports to secure their borders and its about time. Some nations like the Netherlands and Brazil use ePassports throughout their countries, but in many cases, it seems like the technology is far ahead of the adoption. With 328 ports of entry, more than 7,000 miles of borderlands and 95,000 miles of shoreline, the U.S. cannot rely on physical barricades and security checkpoints alone. ePassports that contain biometric information can be used by border security to quickly verify the identities of travelers without sacrificing accuracy.

Biometric passports include microprocessor chips that are embedded into the cover. Currently, facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition are the three types of biometric methods used in e-Passports. The chip contains a digital file of each biometric feature, and a comparison of features is performed at the time of crossing. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has detailed the specifications that machine readable travel documents should have to create standardization across countries. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used to authenticate the traveler’s identity through the passport chip. PKI makes it difficult for identity thieves and other criminals to forge ePassports.

Facial recognition is another component of ePassport technology that can aid with border security. Canada is already planning to use facial recognition technology within their major airports by the end of 2017. This new technology aims to allow passengers to use self-service border kiosks to assist with clearance. As biometric identity verification becomes more reliable and commonplace, consumers can use this technology through their mobile devices or at self-service kiosks in airports.

The omnipresence of biometric technology will enable more thorough screenings in less time. Chip readers can also be used in more commercialized settings, like in the hospitality industry. International travelers can use ePassports at self-service kiosks in hotel lobbies to bypass the language barrier and check into their rooms. ePassports can expedite the check-in process for hotel guests while leaving hospitality staff free to provide more personalized service.

Our new partnership with Mount Airey Group, a provider of identity solutions to federal agencies, launches the industry’s most comprehensive authentication product that will strengthen border control by minimizing the use of fraudulent passports. Acuant CHIPTM – our chip reader technology will be a core component integrated with Mount Airey Group’s Ozone® ePassport validation product.

The comprehensive ePassport solution is designed to handle a host of issues unique to passports with individualized policies for every country, and complies with all ISO and ICAO standards. We expect demand for these solutions to grow with the continued proliferation of ePassports and chip technology for border control as well as for commercial use. The convenience of ePassports makes them optimal for airports, where long lines at security checkpoints are common. Mobilizing chip reading technology in border environments will also enhance the coverage, responsiveness, and flexibility of field operations. Biometric technology is poised to become a vital component to national security and by converging physical and digital identities through ePassports, border security can improve accuracy and effectiveness.



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Avoiding ID Fraud, Car Theft and Auto Rental Chargebacks

The advent of the Internet of Things has turned 20th-century cars into automated smart cars that harness sensors and the Internet for connectivity and convenience. In fact, connected cars can contain as much as 100 million lines of coded information. With such large amounts of data, the chances for a possible hack and access to personal data increase; moreover, the growth in car sharing services as a car rental option or a growing division of an existing company also presents cybersecurity issues. However, these problems are resolvable by taking the right steps to avoid ID fraud, car theft and auto rental chargebacks. Here are a few actions to consider.

1. Consider ID scanning & verification

Car rental and car sharing services are susceptible to fake IDs and auto theft, especially during a test drive or when loyalty programs can make it easy for multiple online reservations without the need to swipe a card. However, ID scanning can help reduce this issue. Solutions via mobile devices or scanners allow for quick data capture, ID authentication and even identity verification in real time.

2. Use biometric technology

According to the FBI, more than 700,000 cars are stolen on an annual basis in the United States, with one stolen every 45 seconds, as of 2015. Weak links in code and anti-theft systems explain why car thieves can easily steal vehicles and access personal data from consumers and even suppliers and manufacturers. However, biometric technology, such as facial recognition, offer viable solutions for mitigating this issue. For instance, facial recognition can be used in real-time to authenticate the driver and send a text message to the owner of the vehicle, should an unauthorized person enter the car.

3. Spot potential chargeback signs

While the sharing economy offers car sharing as a new revenue stream, dishonest customers can present security issues in the form of chargebacks. Chargeback fraud is often associated with increased customer complaints, and a history of chargebacks can increase this fraud. That’s why it is vital to recognize risks. Additionally, car sharing services can engage facial recognition to ensure that only drivers signed up for the program are using the authorized account and consider engaging further ID verification services while assessing vulnerabilities.

Final Thoughts

Technology is very often the driver of better services and better products for cars. However, connected cars can leave their drivers and passengers vulnerable to ID fraud and car theft if not secured properly. Business owners and managers of car sharing services or traditional car rental services can also leave their businesses exposed to chargeback fraud from their own customers. You can prevent these actions by using the right technology or consulting with an expert on ID verifications and security services.

Hi-Tech Identity Management Solutions for the Auto Industry Mean Streamlined & Customer Friendly Experiences

Being competitive today, in any industry, means adopting technology that enhances customer experiences and allows for frictionless transactions. This is very much the case in the automotive industry whether it is sales or rental experiences. Competition is fierce, and if you are not adopting hi-tech solutions customers will go elsewhere. Call it the” uberization” of everything, the “uber” effect or what have you, the concept is that consumers want fast, easy and seamless experiences from end to end.

Automated Workflows: Speed, Accuracy & Service

When it comes to standard processes of credential intake and management for the auto rental, sales and fleet management businesses, digitization and automation is a must. No one wants to do deal with manual paperwork which is both time consuming and error prone. Using technology to capture ID images and data means that you get accurate data input right into your CRM and banish long waiting periods for your customers at rental counters and sales desks. Companies can even engage self-service kiosks to make up for manpower, speed up customer processes and allow control to be in customers’ hands. Auto companies like Go Moto and TSD have partnered with Acuant to do just that. The speed and accuracy of scan-to-database technology also allows agents to process more transactions per day.

Identity Verification: Reduce Risk and Auto Theft

ID verification is a must for auto companies to protect their assets and maintain accurate records. Identity fraud is a major factor of rental car theft. Simply verifying the authenticity of a credential can safeguard your business. Engaging technology rather than training staff and relying on manual review can save you time, and more importantly money. The authenticity of an ID can also be done in seconds without any annoyance to customers. Decide what level of risk you need to address to identify the verification solution for your business. Figure out if an ID is fake, use facial recognition match for a ride sharing app to identify a driver is who they say they are, or any number of combinations for your custom needs.

Asset Condition Reporting

Asset condition reporting (condition review and damage disputes) is another process that has been vastly improved by digital solutions such as Record360’s mobile app. The app enables rental and leasing companies to assess a vehicle’s condition, reduce damage disputes, and minimize expenses related to claims processing and repair logistics. The improved accuracy and transparency made possible by digitizing the process is reassuring to customers, who often worry the rental agency will try to blame them for damage they didn’t incur.

Marketing: Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty

Integrating technology into customer workflows allows the capture of accurate data directly into CRM systems. This allows for easy marketing automation ongoing and pleasing initial experiences that are proven to lead to loyalty and repeat customers.  In any service industry where profit margins are thin, competitive edge often depends on brand reputation and customer service excellence. The transparency, accuracy and speed of digitized processes will help business and customers alike navigate tedious credential management processes and unpleasant damage assessments with ease and professionalism, preserving the relationship for future transactions.

In short, if you are not utilizing technology to streamline customer workflows – you will not be competitive.

Survey Finds Car Rentals Lead to Car Purchases

A 2015 survey by Enterprise Holdings revealed that a positive car rental experience can get people to start shopping for a vehicle. The survey said that more than one in four customers reported that a great experience while renting a car made them consider buying one. The younger a customer is, the more of a chance there is that a positive car rental experience will get them to start shopping for a new car. The survey found that 33% of millennials started shopping for a new car after a good rental car experience, compared to 30% of Gen Xers and 23% of baby boomers.

A 2015 survey by Enterprise Holdings revealed that a positive car rental experience can get people to start shopping for a vehicle. The survey said that more than one in four customers reported that a great experience while renting a car made them consider buying one. The younger a customer is, the more of a chance there is that a positive car rental experience will get them to start shopping for a new car. The survey found that 33% of millennials started shopping for a new car after a good rental car experience, compared to 30% of Gen Xers and 23% of baby boomers.

Almost two thirds of customers surveyed said they considered buying the specific model of the car they rented. This year, 68% of millennials and 68% of Gen Xer said they would be likely to buy the same model of a car based on renting it. Last year, 58% of car renters considered purchasing the same model vehicle. Almost a third of rental car customers purchased a car within the past year, and more than half bought a vehicle in the last two years. Millennials are especially likely to consider buying a car, with 91% of them reporting that a car is essential to complete daily tasks for work.

Renting can also change someone’s mind about a make or model. Overall, 69% of customers who rented a car said that they changed their minds about a car model after having a positive experience renting it. According to the survey, the younger the customer is, the more likely they are to change their perceptions of the car model based on a positive rental experience. 73% of millennials reported a change in perception after a rental, compared to 68% of baby boomers.

Consumers are now treating the car renting experience like an extended test drive. With a rental car, customers have the chance to see how a car runs without the added pressure of a salesperson trying to close. Rental car customers can see if the model of the car they rented fits their needs over a period of days, instead of in just one test drive. If the customer can’t get their hands on the car that they wanted, a positive rental experience can change their perception of the model. Even people who aren’t in the market for a new car have considered buying one after having a positive experience with their rental cars.

Rental car companies can give their customers a great experience from the beginning by making it easier to rent a vehicle. Instead of making customers spend time filling out routine forms, rental car companies can use card scanners to immediately gather relevant information from the customer’s driver’s license. The card scanner can also verify the authenticity of the license. Customers can additionally scan their insurance identification cards instead of filling out confusing forms. Card scanning technology can be the first step to providing a positive rental car experience, and may get consumers to consider buying a car in the future.

Connected Cars Dominate CES

At the CES conference in Las Vegas this year, Gary Smyth, the director of General Motors’ Powertrain Systems Research Lab, commented on how the auto industry is headed towards driverless cars. The technology for autonomous vehicles is years away, but in-car technology can help address the issue of distracted driving. The conference demonstrated how automakers are embracing connectivity and appealing to consumers with vehicles that are packed with new technology.

At the CES conference in Las Vegas this year, Gary Smyth, the director of General Motors’ Powertrain Systems Research Lab, commented on how the auto industry is headed towards driverless cars. The technology for autonomous vehicles is years away, but in-car technology can help address the issue of distracted driving. The conference demonstrated how automakers are embracing connectivity and appealing to consumers with vehicles that are packed with new technology.

Volkswagen showcased its new electric microbus, which features an “Active Info Display” interior that’s controlled by touch and voice commands. The Active Info Display screen is broken up into three sections that focus on different tasks for the driver. The Drive section includes navigation, while the Control section has vehicle gauges. The Consume section allows for smartphone integration. This section includes audio controls, and weather and calendar data. It can also display messages from smartphones. The Active Info Display knows who is speaking, and listens to casual voice commands, so if a passenger in the back of the car says it’s too hot, the car will turn down the heat where the passenger is sitting. The steering wheel uses touch pressure and haptic feedback instead of buttons. Even the vehicle’s side-view mirrors have been replaced with cameras.

Mercedes-Benz also revealed the concept of its new E-Class cars, which feature digital dashboards. The car’s dashboard has two 12 inch LCD panels, which are actually just a single long HD-quality monitor. The display shows virtual gauges that are configurable. The left half of the screen is designed for the driver, while the right half is for both the driver and the passenger. Both displays are customizable, and drivers can choose to display both vehicle gauges and a road map.

Automakers are also unveiling new electric cars. Chevy showed off its new Bolt EV electric car which will sell for around $30,000 after a federal tax credit. The Bolt’s range is about 200 miles on battery, and it is designed to be a ride-sharing vehicle. The car takes nine hours to recharge using a 240-volt home charging station, although the company also plans to offer a fast charging option. The interior includes an infotainment touchscreen and a camera display instead of a rear-view mirror. Mysterious startup Faraday Future debuted the concept for an electric car that’s been called the FFZERO1. The 1000-HP electric car integrates smartphones into the steering column, which would enable to smartphone to be the interface between the driver and vehicle.

With all of the hype surrounding connected cars, customers expect to see more technology in their vehicles, and they’d welcome more technology at a dealership as well. Customers will want to test-drive their new smart car, and auto dealerships can use mobile ID scanners to quickly verify the customer’s driver’s license and car insurance card. Customers will not want to test drive a smart car, and then head back to the dealership to fill out routine paperwork by hand. Instead of making their customers fill out pages of paperwork, auto dealerships can use mobile card scanning devices to quickly gather relevant customer information. As the auto industry embraces innovations in technology for the consumer, auto dealerships should also change how they interact with customers.

Modifying Airline Loyalty Programs

American Airlines recently announced new changes are coming to its AAdvantage loyalty program. The airline will now be rewarding customers with frequent flier miles based on how much they spend, instead of on how far they travel. When airlines first came out with loyalty programs, the prices of flights were based on distance.

American Airlines recently announced new changes are coming to its AAdvantage loyalty program. The airline will now be rewarding customers with frequent flier miles based on how much they spend, instead of on how far they travel. When airlines first came out with loyalty programs, the prices of flights were based on distance. Now consumers can save on airfare by buying tickets way ahead of time, or by travelling during the off season. Flights of the same distance can also cost the same amount depending on how popular the destination is. The new program will reward those who fly on expensive tickets, like those who fly first class for corporate events, but it won’t reward people who fly internationally in economy seats. American Airlines will be including base fare plus carrier fees when calculating dollars spent. Changes to the program will start at different times in 2016, and will try to give frequent fliers what they want. The loyalty program is divided by tiers, and members will get different benefits. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Regular AAdvantage program members get 5 miles for each dollar spent, while gold members get 7 miles, platinum get 8 and executive platinum get 11.” The company says that some award redemption levels will decrease by as much as 40%, and the rewards can be used on any day. Before, customers had to worry about Black Out dates, and their miles expiring. American Airlines says that after certain times, award redemption levels to popular places will be reduced. For instance, award redemption levels for places in the Caribbean will decrease after March since they are popular destinations during that time. Cheaper domestic flights will also be redeemable at a lower level for a one way flight. Because of changing market prices and demands, international flights to Europe and Asia will increase.

Earlier this year, the US News & World Report said that American Airlines had the second best airline loyalty reward program. In the same list, United Airlines’ MileagePlus program and Delta’s SkyMiles program were ranked among the worst airline loyalty programs. According to the report, these two programs performed poorly because it was difficult for customers to earn rewards, or find a flight that they could use their flier miles towards. Customer’s judge loyalty programs based on how easy it is to sign up for and use rewards. United Airlines and Delta both changed their loyalty programs earlier in 2015 to reward fliers based on how much they spent, rather than how far they traveled.

Due to changing customer needs, airlines have been restructuring their loyalty programs. Customers are more likely to sign up for a loyalty program if it is easy to use. Airline carriers can use card scanners to help their customers sign up for a reward program. A card scanner would let ticketing agents sign customers up for a loyalty reward program when the customer comes to the front desk to check into their flight. Ticketing agents can use a card scanner to gather information from the customer’s driver’s license or passport. The data can be auto-populated into a form, making the sign up process a quick step for both the customer and the airline. With card scanning technology, airlines can easily add more customers to their loyalty programs.

Airports Plan to Invest in Self-Service Kiosks

According to the 2014 SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey, airports will be investing in more technology to improve the passenger processes. The researchers surveyed IT executives from 106 of the top 200 airport operators around the world. Around 86% of airports said that they were planning on investing in the self-service processes in the next three years.

According to the 2014 SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey, airports will be investing in more technology to improve the passenger processes. The researchers surveyed IT executives from 106 of the top 200 airport operators around the world. Around 86% of airports said that they were planning on investing in the self-service processes in the next three years. This rate is expected to increase to 92% in 2017. Airports plan on spending $6.8 billion in technology.

The researchers also asked questions to 2,500 passengers at busy airports in different countries. The questions were related to how often passengers use self-service features at airports. The survey found that passengers are increasingly using technology throughout the airport. There was a direct correlation between the frequency of travel, and the chances of carrying a smartphone. Half of the interviewed passengers said that they had used a self-service option either online, on their mobile devices, or at a self-service kiosk. Online check-ins experienced the highest increase in passenger use, at 67%. Mobile check-in grew by 64%. Of the passengers surveyed, 70% prefer to use self-service kiosks at the airport to check-in.

Airports hope to use the self-service kiosks to improve the passenger processes. Out of all of the senior IT executives who were surveyed, 37% said that they planned to increase the number of check-in kiosks. Currently, there are already 14,000 self-service check-in kiosks installed in airports worldwide. The SITA survey found that out of the passengers who prefer to check-in online, 37% would choose to use a self-service kiosk if they had no Internet connection at the airport. The passengers who chose not to use the self-service kiosks to check-in were usually traveling with a bag that needed to get checked-in. Lining up at bag drop-off desks canceled the benefits that a self-service kiosk provides, so they preferred to check-in when they dropped off their bags. The survey found that throughout all of the airports studied worldwide, passengers were all consistently looking to speed up the check-in process, and adopting self-service quickly.

More airports around the world are using self-service kiosks in innovative ways. At both Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, passengers can use self-service transfer kiosks to bypass long lines and grab a boarding pass for their connecting flight. Bermuda Airport has started a new missing bag claim kiosk, and 66% of survey respondents said that they would use it. This is an increase from 2013, where only 48% of passengers said they would use a baggage claim kiosk.

Because passengers are receptive to using technology throughout their journey, airports should invest in using self-service kiosks. With self-service kiosks, passengers can bypass long lines and check-in more quickly. Passengers can simply scan their driver’s license, passport, or another form of ID to get their boarding pass. ID readers at self-service kiosks make it easier for the passenger to enter their information in, and provide additional security by detecting fraudulent IDs. With self-service kiosks, airports can speed up the check-in process for passengers without giving up security.