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Paperless Travel and Human Identity

July 5, 2017
Can we truly be independent from physical documents with document-less travel?

Can we truly be independent from physical documents with document-less travel?

Happy 4th of July! As United States celebrates Independence Day today, we look back at our journey so far, and gather our thoughts on our dependence on documents to affirm our identity.

Mankind is inching towards eventually becoming a multi-planetary species, with an initial mission date to Mars set for as early as 2020. Some of us might live long enough to actually witness this first hand in our life time, as an increasing number of things dreamt up as part of science fiction are slowly becoming a reality each day.

Even as we advance in the area of technology in the present day, we still rely on analog means to validate our travel: traditional photo IDs, cards, and documents. When the first human lands on a different planet, are we expecting him or her to use a traditional photo ID document to check-in and access the first (possible unmanned) human settlement? Will we have something more advanced? A digital identity perhaps? What about the next ten travelers, or the next million? What about the robots that accompany us on such missions?

Document-less travel is closer to a reality today. With baby steps, we started off working on something as simple as automating the registration form filling process using an app. We then started sending this verified data across to property management systems to automate this entire registration process for property owners. In 2015, we integrated our technology with that of door locks to provide seamless access into properties. In 2016, our technology was once again integrated with electrical appliances’ in-room control system, using a verified profile.

Today, products like ours provide a document-less check-in experience for users on Earth at hotels, offices, and member clubs. With the ability to link photo IDs and memberships to a phone, it is now a reality to have the freedom of document-less travel across our participating locations. We have essentially created a document-less platform that makes check-in faster and more secure, regardless of wherever we’re traveling to worldwide. All it takes is placing a finger on the sensor of your phone to retrieve your verified profile, and seamlessly continue to the end destination - your room.

Is the phone even the best place to be putting an identity on, you may ask? At present, a smartphone is probably the closest gadget within our reach every day, that can retain information about our identity and additional digital information such as software keys. Short of embedding a chip in each human, the 2 billion smartphones humans are already carrying daily as a species currently seems like a convenient platform. This is also a foundation for other machines, such as robots, to digitally communicate with as an identity. In the future, we will explore different ways to retrieve a verified profile for humans without a smartphone - through other biometrics such as face or voice recognition, perhaps.

The importance of a human identity transcends travel. When we have self-driving cars, will our cars even know who their owners are? Or will they rely on a key fob to assume the identity of its owner? As a product, we see ourselves becoming a platform that serves a need for increasingly advanced AI and machines to have a clear understanding of the humans they are interacting with - a document-less platform for human identity, if you will.

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