Vision-Box: European migrant crisis and border management challenges discussed in Portugal

Company Vision-Box
Date 10.06.2016

Vision-Box sponsored the Congress promoted by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service and their Union.

Refugees fleeing to Europe: a recent event or a structural trend of the 21st century? Is enhancing security at borders vital in order to maintain the freedom of movement in Europe? Does Portugal have the necessary human and technological means to effectively answer these challenges? These were some of the questions addressed last week at the Conference promoted by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) and their Union (SCIF). Vision-Box presented their approach to the current challenges based on the deep understanding of border issues worldwide.

Lisbon, June 8th, 2016 – Protecting citizens and maintaining free movement are some of the most important duties of a government. As European countries have been rethinking their border control strategies, especially in a moment when efficient border management strategies are imperative, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service and their union (SEF/SCIF) promoted a conference under the theme “Europe and the refugees – risks and opportunities”. The goal was to debate the migrant crisis and to understand how prepared the country is to effectively answer these challenges.

Inserted in the SEF/SCIF Annual Congress agenda, the Conference took place last week in Lisbon, attended by the highest-ranking authorities of the Portuguese Government and of National Border Control, as well as by the main sponsor Vision-Box, a close partner of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).

SEF has been involved in the most relevant discussions about the current refugee situation in Europe and is engaging in gathering the right experts to define new strategies to address the demanding challenges, together with Vision-Box. Portugal was one of the first countries in Europe to introduce Automated Border Control (ABC) technology following the implementation of the electronic Passport. The well-known RAPID, launched in 2007, was the first ABC system in the world to recognize travelers using face biometrics. The subsequent nationwide rollout of a state-of-the-art integrated ABC solution, also by Vision-Box, equipped the country with the most advanced and robust shield securing the country’s borders, including over 100 ABC eGates at 7 international airports in Portuguese mainland and Azores and Madeira islands, becoming the first large-scale automated borders program worldwide.

Head of Marketing Pedro Torres represented Vision-Box, the right partner to answer the main question of one of the discussion panels: “Portugal, border of
the EU: does SEF have the operational conditions to guarantee the safety of national borders?”. From a technological point of view, “SEF has one of the most
advanced platforms in the world to fight against growing challenges such as illegal immigration, identity fraud, smuggling, trafficking and others.” said Pedro Torres. “The integrated border control solution based on self-service biometric technology, which is under continuous improvement, has completely revolutionized the way borders are managed today, and there are still important developments to be pursued, especially when it comes to integrated data management and exchange, cross-stakeholder collaboration, anticipation of risk and big data analytics, some of the key areas where Vision-Box has leading edge technology. And we’re working on it with SEF and other organizations in Europe to keep our borders safe.”

Vision-Box approach to European Borders was also clear at this event. The company has been working on it together with association such as IATA, Frontex, eu-LISA, ICAO among others to define harmonized guidelines and legal frameworks to create sustainability at our borders. Instead of deploying incremental updates on traditional processes which fail on a medium-term basis to actually improve border management, the company suggests the creation of a sustainable Entry and Exit System, supported by the Personal Data Envelope concept, created for each traveler and migrant entering a EU country, and which virtualizes biographic and biometric data as well as travel details and relevant interactions with authorities (creation of a document, crossing a border, etc.), and the OrchestraTM platform, an integrated, robust collaborative software platform that is based on flexible self-service points of interaction, and which collects and generates actionable information, draw patterns, and analyze risk. This multi-stakeholder platform is devised for different stakeholders, such as Border Authorities, Government Authorities, Airports and Airlines, to provide valuable bilateral services to each other based on high quality and real-time citizen data, information and event streams. The objective is to identify suspects, help apprehend irregular and illegal immigrants, especially over stayers, deter illegal immigration, prevent terrorism and tackle other serious criminal activities.

Automated Border Control has indeed been and still is the cornerstone of modern border management, but its full potential is far from being achieved. Integrating land, air and sea port borders, together with the use of biometrics and automation by a wider range of citizens and countries is the beginning of a trusted Chain of Identity that will harmonize and secure borders not only in Europe but around the world.


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