Home Affairs extends Vision-Box airport departures smartgates deal

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Home Affairs extends Vision-Box airport departures smartgates deal
Source: Australian Border Force

But no word on status of arrivals deal.

Vision-Box will continue to provide smartgates in the departure halls of Australia’s international airports until 2026 after the Department of Home Affairs extended its contract for a yet undisclosed value.

The border technology provider revealed late on Thursday that it had secured a five-year extension to its six-year contract with the department inked back in April 2015.

The existing contract – which started life valued at $18 million, but has since grown to just over $41 million – was not due to expire until June 2021.

Vision-box said the “short-term” focus of the extension was on continuing to support and maintain the 92 existing facial recognition departures smartgates.

The terminals allow users to scan their passport and continue through rather than approach an immigration official for processing.

However, Vision-Box also said it would also use the extension to bring “some innovation in the area of departures smartgates for automated border control”.

“Vision-Box will support Home Affairs in implementing several initiatives that improve the operational efficiency of border processes,” it said.

The extension of the departures contract comes just months after Home Affairs paused the trial and rollout of its next generation airport arrivals smartgates from Vision-Box.

The 105 facial biometrics ready arrivals smartgates were to be part of an automated biometric border control solution slated to eventually allow travellers to pass through arrivals without producing a passport.

While the department is currently reviewing the program, iTnews understands the Vision-Box contract for the arrivals smartgates has already faltered and will not progress after trials failed to return good matching results.

Although the department has declined that this is the case, last month it revealed the existing IDEMIA (previously Morpho) airport arrivals smartgates would now be refurbished at the cost of $30 million.

Vision-box used the announcement of the extension on the smartgate depatures program as evidence of its “long-term strategic partnership” with Home Affairs, though did not mention its work on arrivals.

Home Affairs has been contacted for comment.

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