Accelerator at the Land Border
In preparation for the EU Entry/Exit System (EES), the Ministry of Interior’s Information and Telecommunications Office in Slovenia conducted a 6 months pilot project for the use of self-service kiosks – secunet easykiosk – at land border crossings. The results show that kiosk systems speed up border control processes not only at airports, but also at land borders.
The objectives of the pilot project were to evaluate the technical feasibility of self-service kiosks to fulfil EES requirements and to determine adequacy for the integration with police background systems. The work environment at land border crossings after the introduction of the EES was also taken into account, considering – among others – the available space and respective workflows.
In collaboration with the local partner and prime contractor Cifra (Cifra komunikacijski sistemi, d.o.o.), secunet installed the self-service kiosk – secunet easykiosk – at the border crossing point (BCP) in Obrežje, between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia. As the largest land border in Slovenia, this BCP handled a total of 45 million travellers in 2018, whereby 20% were Third Country Nationals (TCN), i.e. people to whom the rights of free movement of the European Union do not apply.
In the pilot phase, the secunet easykiosk was used for the self-pre-registration of TCN-travellers crossing the border in buses. For the travellers, participation in the pilot project was voluntary. If they decided to participate, they were prompted at the self-service kiosk to enter their passport data by putting their passport onto the integrated passport scanner. They were also asked to capture their biometric data (face and fingerprints). Through the integrated camera with automated height adjustment and a feedback screen, the biometric acquisition process, that was still new for many of the land border passengers, was intuitive and easy to handle. Via touchscreen the passenger could easily follow the entire process visually and intuitively complete the process. During each process step, the required component of the kiosk to be used by the traveller was highlighted on screen and the expected interaction was depicted.
Once completed, the pre-registered data was checked against police information systems (National, SIS, VIS, Interpol database searches). After the pre-registration, the TCN proceeded to the manual border control booth, where the border control officer had access to the pre-registered information via a web-based border control application. Using a passport scanner, the officer read the data from the passport’s machine-readable zone, and then retrieved the information from the kiosk. secunet biomiddle, the versatile biometric middleware, was used to manage the integrated hardware at the manual border control booth through the web application.
TCN-travellers from 26 nations voluntarily used the secunet easykiosk during the pilot phase. The kiosk’s GUI was customised according to the specific project requirements by the customer. The duration of the different processes were logged and analysed for the pre-registration process – proving that kiosk systems are feasible and efficient to speed up the border control process at the land border. The document authentication and biometric acquisition at the self-service kiosk including other interaction by the user (i.e. reading instructions, locating buttons on touchscreen, physical handling of document) took 45 seconds on aver-age.
Compared to existing pilot projects at airports using kiosks for the pre-registration of passengers in future EES scenarios, the pilot project at the land border had similar results. Self-service kiosks – and automated systems in general – are process accelerators for all types of larger border crossing points and shorten the overall time for border control. While the pro-cessing times vary between frequent travellers and non-frequent travellers, secunet easykiosk – thanks to visual user guidance, intuitive processes and advanced technologies – al-lows for an efficient document check and biometrics acquisition in self-service mode.