NXP Semiconductors is hailing the rise of ePassports. In a statement announcing its top global ePassport trends, the company says that “of 900 million passports issued, 730 are ePassports, which now represent the majority of passports in circulation.”
Citing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the company says that 120 states around the world are currently issuing electronic passports. Accordingly, more than 5,000 automated border control gates are now in operation around the world.
It’s in this context that NXP’s top three trends are unfolding, and they all revolve around increasing digitization and mobilization. One trend, the move to increased security in response to increasing displacement and terrorism, is encouraging more authorities to put passport data into secure integrated circuits. Another trend is the emergence of mobile solutions that will eventually let passport data be stores in smartphones and wearables, and transmitted via NFC.
But perhaps the most important trend, with respect to the immediate future, is the ICAO’s new LDS2 standard, which will allow travel data to be stored directly on an ePassport’s chip. That standard will also provide greater support for biometric data, letting governments integrate fingerprint templates, facial templates, and more into their ePassports, which could help to facilitate trust in bilateral and multilateral travel programs.
These trends are all good news for NXP, of course, which claims to already have its technology in ePassports from 95 of the 120 countries currently issuing such documents; and with its rising profile ready for a potential boost from its acquisition by Qualcomm, NXP could prove to be an even more important player in the growing ePassport market.