EU research project delivers waiting-time reduction, cost efficiency, and security improvements for land border crossing points and access to high-security areas

The EU funded research SMILE Action has concluded its activities concerning the development, testing and evaluation of the proposed solution for better managing land border crossings. SMILE researchers worked and managed to achieve up to 90% border waiting-time reduction and up to 25% cost reduction compared to current practices, by using biometric technologies and handheld devices.

“Border crossing management is one of the major brain-twisters nowadays in EU countries. In an ever-interconnected world, authorities struggle to maintain the security needed while facilitating the travelling and trade so to boost economic growth. Three years ago, SMILE researchers started to work towards reconciling these contradictions.” said Georgios Stavropoulos(a research associate at the Centre for Research & Technology Hellas – CERTH). “We managed to achieve this goal by moving some of the procedures back in travellers’ home, like a check-in when someone takes a flight. Thus, we developed a system where border authorities have the time and new and affordable technologies such as different biometrics modalities to check if the traveller is the one who claims to be as well as the authenticity and validity of her/his documents. Based on the system’s tests, we are convinced that SMILE solution can and will make a difference not only at land borders but also in other law enforcement applications due to its versatility.”

The SMILE end-users (border authorities and security agencies) with the guidance of technical partners tested vigorously the system against different scenarios such as the border crossing of single travellers, groups, or highsecurity access to restricted areas. Based on the evaluation, we found that the time required checking a single traveller crossing the borders is almost 2′ 20” when using the SMILE solution, while with legacy systems the time required ranges from 5 to 30 minutes. The evaluation also showed that if implemented, SMILE solution can reduce up to 25% operational expenses at land border crossing points and generate net benefits of up to € 6 million for five years per border crossing point.

To achieve these goals, SMILE partners have developed a system that exploits the capabilities of smart mobile devices, biometric technologies, advanced encryption techniques for data privacy and security, and secure cloudbased solution for data exchange, among others. As a measure to ensure the visibility of those achievements, SMILE partners will showcase them at this year’s SRE (Security Research Event), which will take place in Bonn, Germany in November 2020, allowing us to promote them in one of the most prominent security events in Europe.