As European countries plan to lift restrictions and open up much-needed travel within the EU, attention is sharply focused on how to ensure the safe and free movement of people – not only to minimize further outbreaks of the coronavirus, but also to avert the transmission of new variants.
On March 17 2021, the European Commission announced its proposal to create an EU Digital Green Certificate that can be used across all EU Member States and can also be introduced in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The ‘Digital Green Pass’ as it’s also known, will certify that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from Covid-19. The proposed certificate, which will act as the EU version of a Covid passport, is expected to be accepted for entry into all EU countries, will be available free of charge, in digital or paper format, and will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity.
Critical to its success will be mobile scanning apps to validate the process – developed by EU countries and deployed by authorities and travel operators like airlines, train and ship operators. The EU has stipulated that the ‘Validator Apps’ need to be ready for use by the 1st June 2021.
Ensuring the continuous operability and success of the apps is reliant on three main technical must-haves:
- Scanning performance must be assured in any condition to validate both digital and paper-based certificates
- Data capture must be compliant with GDPR data protection legislation
- The apps need to work offline in accordance with the European eHealth Network’s Trust Framework
Here we will look at the key role of mobile scanning in meeting these requirements of the Digital Green Certificate system. In addition, its role in managing changing circumstances and passenger volumes and how a low cost mobile solution would be immediately accessible in the pockets of all validating personnel.
Reliable mobile scanning holds the key
The QR Code on the Digital Green Certificate will be the vital link between a mobile app and the organization issuing the credential. The reliability and accuracy of the scanning engine within any mobile app is therefore critical to the smooth and uninterrupted operation of the validation process at all issuing locations and checkpoints across EU Member States.
Such need for efficiency is also exemplified when you consider passenger numbers will potentially bounce back to pre-Covid volumes over time. It will take scanning technology with guaranteed accuracy and speed to deliver the seamless experience modern users expect, whether they’re the issuing authorities, travelers or border control personnel. If the app doesn’t work on all the necessary device types and in real-life ambient conditions, it will simply not achieve the EU’s certification objectives and result in friction and frustration.
Also, deploying costly and fixed hardware barcode scanners will simply not cut it in terms of flexibility, mobility and ensuring swift passenger throughput without congestion. Instead, for entities responsible for verifying certificates the ubiquity of smart devices gives far greater flexibility, high performance and a lower cost mobile solution to quickly and accurately capture data.
The use of everyday smartphones to scan barcodes has already proved invaluable during the pandemic. Scandit technology has powered smartphone apps to scan any type of barcode, including Aztec and QR codes – the EU’s current recommended preference – simply and safely, supporting a number of vital public interactions from Covid-testing for the NHS through to grocery shopping and contactless parcel receipt.
Data protection compliance and offline verification
With Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK technology all processing is done within the scanning device, ensuring full compliance with data protection laws. These include the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), effective in Europe from May 2018.
A further requirement demanded by the European eHealth network is that offline verification should be supported. By offline verification, the network’s trust framework refers to a scenario where the verifier requires no online access to external resources at the point of verification. Instead, the digital signature included in the QR code will be verified through “dedicated verification software”. Scandit’s scanning engine processes data within the device itself and can therefore operate as seamlessly offline as it does online.
Superior scanning performance is a must for Digital Green Certificates
Given the myriad of environments in which the proposed Digital Green Certification system will need to operate, superior scanning is a must. Essentials include scan speed and the ability to scan Aztec or QR codes in any conditions. EU recommended Aztec QR codes are compact, tunable and can contain more information, but many open, non-proprietary scanning software solutions have poor support for them. This isn’t an issue with Scandit.
Digital Green Certificate apps will need to scan torn or damaged codes on paper certificates, in poor lighting and glare. Scanning the barcode on a smartphone with a damaged display or cracked screen is another common challenge. Also, it might not be possible for the person scanning the certificate to physically touch it either, so scanning at varying distances and awkward angles, for example when holding up the digital certificate on a smartphone screen, will also be a necessity.
Scandit brings high performance scanning software into any mobile app, enabling over 20,000 smart device models with a camera, to scan any barcode in the most extreme conditions – essential for all organisations needing to validate the Digital Green Certificate.
Equally, data captured accurately from scanning the certificate will be required by multiple users such as local and national government officials, travel companies, border control agencies, airlines, port authorities and, of course, the travelers themselves. Quickly and accurately scanning the QR code on the certificate will link the validator app to the issuing authority and allow immediate access to the traveler’s details.
Scandit provides an all-round solution
Implementing an EU Digital Green Certificate system and streamlining queues requires high quality, fast performance on any smart device regardless of make or model, including iPads and other stationary scanning devices. User studies have confirmed that Scandit-powered mobile apps significantly outperform other scanning software, including solutions on devices under any condition with all types of barcode. They are simple to integrate into native mobile apps on any framework with assured performance on many devices, essential for speedy deployment and use across multiple countries within the EU. Scandit also offers the freedom to integrate this capability into browser-based apps.
High-performance smartphone scanning from Scandit is already a familiar part of air travel, from supporting self-check-in, baggage checks and security clearance to ID scanning at the departure gate. It’s use in a new essential way to support the successful implementation of the Digital Green Certificate is a further route to ensuring a safe and frictionless travel experience for passengers and authorities alike.
To experience Scandit scanning performance first hand, why not try our SDK Barcode Scanner demo or Web SDK demo. If you would like to talk to us about adding scanning to your validation app, please get in touch.