With the likes of Ryanair now allowing most to check in with digital boarding passes, could paperless passports be the next big step?
Tapping your pockets every two minutes on the way to the security area of the airport is an important part of the holiday experience. Then the fear of God passes over you as you frantically check all your pockets and bags in search for the passport you couldn’t find in your pocket. Then you awkwardly hope no-one saw you frantically looking while it was in your hand you the whole time? Cool not just me. We are big fans of the idea that those days could be behind us as the idea of the paperless passport inches itself into reality.
De La Rue are the biggest passport producers in the world. They are currently working on technology that could allow holiday makers to store their passport within their smartphone This could allow you to saunter around the world without fear of losing that priceless little book. Of course you could lose your phone…which is probably equally as bad but look, baby steps.
There are barriers to the introduction of radical technology such as paperless passports. Forgery and the possibility, if not inevitability, of people losing their phone take prime spot. De La Rue admit this is currently in the early stages. In the modern passport there is this little microchip that can compare the carriers face to the one stored in the passport. In theory, it would be a simple transition to develop this technology within the smartphone by simply embedding the workings of the microchip into the programme rather then merely representing the document on a screen.
Paperless passports seem like the natural progression. At the same time, I’ve seen so many people stand at the self-service area of Dublin Airport’s border patrol, baffled by technology to the point they believe entering the country is too difficult.