July 18 2023
iProov helps Eurostar speed up and streamline the travel process
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, 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 exit checks by Eurostar staff in the station, by securely enrolling 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 SmartCheck opt in and download the SmartCheck iProov.me app from the Apple App Store or Google Play to their smartphone. Before traveling, 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 automates the current manual UK exit check carried out by Eurostar staff. Just baggage inspection and one passport check through French border control remain.
The roll-out, which is effective from 18 July 2023, 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. 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, iProov said: “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.”
About the trial
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.
The trial 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.