NEC believes that COVID-19 will force many public and private organizations to rethink their approach to digital transformation. In that regard, the company specifically argues that the coronavirus will create more interest in scalable contactless technologies, which are more hygienic than shared, contact-based alternatives like touchscreens.
According to NEC, that trend will be particularly pronounced in the realms of payments and identity. COVID-19 has permanently altered the way the world views public health. As a result, safety precautions like social distancing are likely to persist even once the immediate threat starts to subside. There is a lower risk of transmission with a contactless payment card than there is with a digital signature pen or a traditional credit card, and that remains true whether the threat is COVID-19 or another virus.
The logic is similar when it comes to identity. NEC, for example, referenced the curb-to-gate screening system that it has deployed at Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. The system allows passengers to check in and pass through security checkpoints with only a facial recognition scan, and is safer because it negates the need to hand physical boarding passes and identification documents to security personnel. The ability to scale will also be important because it will make it easier to extend contactless services to more locations.
Of course, NEC is not the first company to note that COVID-19 has increased the demand for contactless technology. However, it did suggest that the virus has only accelerated a transformation that was already underway.
In the meantime, NEC indicated that it is integrating thermal sensors into its own I:Delight platform. In doing so, it becomes the latest company to advocate for thermal imaging as a way to help contain the spread of the virus, although NEC argues that thermal sensors should be used in conjunction with other biometric devices.
May 4, 2020 – by Eric Weiss