Automated Border Control Market: How Vendors Can Permit Smoother, More Secure Country Entries

Border security concerns necessitate investment from governments and border control agencies in the latest security technologies and Automated Border Control (ABC) systems to minimize economic losses from the illegal movement of people.

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Market Overview

  • ABI Research estimates 2,609 individual automated border control system installations globally in 2022, growing significantly from 2021 at 2,159 units.
  • Key projects include:
    • Thales’ deployment of 120 eGates in France, and the same number in Spain
    • Thales’ installation of 500 kiosks in France for the Entry/Exit System (EES)
    • IDEMIA’s high-quantity kiosk installation across eight Australian airports
    • The German automated border control system EasyPASS, available in Frankfurt, contracted mainly to secunet, with biometric (e.g., facial recognition) units from Cognitec, and gate hardware from Magnetic AutoControl
    • Low-volume deployment of eGates in Dhaka, Bangladesh
    • Vietnam’s impending biometric-backed ABC introduction.
  • In evaluating kiosk growth versus eGate growth from 2021 to 2022, ABI Research sees a Year-over-Year (YoY) percentage rate growth of 32.7% versus 10.8%, respectively. This relatively greater increase in kiosk shipments is a direct result of the European market’s increased traveler registration requirement as a response to EES.
  • ABI Research expects the ratio of shipments of kiosks to eGates comparatively to remain kiosk-leaning going into 2023, while significant growth across both segments is still anticipated across the forecast period at a 12.8% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2027.
  • Total revenue in 2022 for automated border control shipments landed at US$148.9.7 million. Healthy growth, at a 13.1% CAGR, is anticipated across the forecast period as the market matures, arriving at US$275.6 million in 2027.
  • Software and services revenue represents roughly 65% of total ABC revenue, highlighting the importance of obtaining tenders for end-to-end deployments for those offering a turnkey solution, rather than providing only the front end hardware. The main components of this are the border control entry/exit system software and risk assessment system.

Air travel is continually increasing, not only as the availability of international travel expands, but also due to the huge bounce back of international travel as a result of COVID-19 limitations ceasing. This fuels the requirement of efficient and secure automated border control systems to clear passengers quickly and accurately, supporting international travel recovery. – Lucas Stewart, Analyst at ABI Research


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Key Decision Items

Strive for Best-In-Class Biometric Processing, Minimal Algorithm Bias, and Low False Accept Rates and False Reject Rates

Vendors should strive for best-in-class biometric processing, minimal algorithm bias, and low False Accept Rates (FARs) and False Reject Rates (FRRs), being key metrics of a successful automated border control solutions that are worthy of investment to progress. The great prevalence of biometrics in the world today supports the adoption of biometric-backed ABC systems. eGate systems rely on travelers holding biometric passports, which are penetrating the market at increasingly high rates. Biometrics has progressed from its nascent stage and Machine Learning (ML) developments have enabled the creation of better-honed and more accurate biometric (facial recognition technology) matching algorithms.

For reasons of seamlessness and efficiency, the speed and accuracy at which this process can be carried out (including FAR and FRR) are of key importance. These metrics are indicators of product strength, so they should be a key area of focus for vendors to minimize matching time and increase the accuracy of the biometric engine.

Focus on Kiosks in the European Border Control Market

The European market for self-service kiosks is key as preparations begin for the

European Entry/Exit System (EES). The EES is an automated Information Technology (IT) system for registering non-European Union (EU) nationals traveling within Europe for a short stay (up to 90 days), aiming to modernize border management by increasing efficiency and the quality of border processes. ESS mandates EU automation systems to have the ability to obtain an accurate biometric trail of those entering or exiting a country. Developing technology and allocating manufacturing for automated border control solutions should lean toward kiosks as a faster-growing sub-market than eGates.

Automated border control kiosks enable biometric registration and act as a semi-automated intermediary step that allows for faster completion of a citizen’s travel authorization. Governments have the option to force the registration of data on traveling citizens, allowing for added security options, including watchlists, blacklists, and surveillance, generally collected at a biometric kiosk.

Consider the Potential of Family eGates

Currently in development, though not actively employed, is a so-called family eGate. In this prospective ABC form, multiple people can pass through a border crossing simultaneously, well-suited for families with younger children not wishing to be separated. The addition of this solution on the horizon will result in further efficiency, as it can achieve a greater degree of automation. Therefore, this variation is a natural development for vendors seeking to modernize the traveler experience and aligns with the aforementioned market drivers.

As a trailblazing automated border solution, family eGates will see significant opportunities for potential implementations with airports wishing to streamline processes further. Exploring the possibility of family eGates as a potential first mover will secure a strong market position as stakeholders look to further automate Border Control Management (BCM) for families and children unable to use an ABC solution.

Express the Undeniable Benefits of Automated Border Control Systems to Stakeholders

Clearly outline the commercial benefits of implementing an ABC project to stakeholders, such as port operators, government agencies, private enterprises, law enforcement authorities, aviation organizations, etc. eGates act as a differentiator, and a strong implementation can yield benefits in monetization, such as clearing citizens faster and enabling them to spend more time shopping in the airport. Ultimately, automated border control systems should be aligned with enhanced user (citizen) experiences and, subsequently, higher Return on Investment (ROI) for the stakeholder.

Besides speeding up border control/immigration processes, automated border control translates to better staff management for end users. In the case of automated border control, for example, one staff member will oversee a number of gates and interpose themselves accordingly when manual intervention is needed. This is, of course, more efficient in terms of staffing for the airport, requiring fewer staff members than the traditional means of a border control officer performing a manual check on each citizen. This benefit also applies in the case of kiosks, enhancing staff processes for efficient border clearance. In addition to the advantage of requiring fewer staff members, automation eliminates human error and is essentially more reliable than its human counterparts.

Keep the Concept of Gateless Borders under Close Observation

Alongside a generally strong focus on Research and Development (R&D) to continually improve biometric capabilities and develop eGate solutions for the changing demands of the market, the gateless border concept should stay top of mind. The technology behind the idea is essentially automatically capturing citizen biometrics and verifying that against national databases simply by passing through the airport. This comes in the form of a tunnel or corridor with multiple biometric sensors. This is in line with a priority of ABC stakeholders—a seamlessness user experience.

In developments within the automated border control market by competitors surrounding this concept, market players should be reactive and make necessary investments as soon as possible to compete for what could hold tremendous value.

Key Market Players to Watch

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This content is part of the company’s Citizen Digital Identity Research Service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights.