Smart support for SmartGates

Cars come with 3-5 years, computers with 1-3 years, household appliances with 3-5 years. We’re talking warranties, and a maximum of 5 years is typical for electro-mechanical products, which are in in constant use, by everyday, non-specialist, operators.

So imagine a self-service kiosk that is used for up to 18 hours a day, by the general public, and which carries a 15-year warranty. Yes, you read right – 15 years.

That is exactly what security solution provider Morpho has because they chose to partner with Neo Products on the Australia and NZ Customs Smartgate systems. Neo are so confident of their design, manufacture and production processes that they provide warranty support for the entire length of the 15-year supply contract.

The Smartgate system is installed in international arrivals in Australian and NZ airports for use by inbound travellers with ‘smart’ passports. The aim is to shorten the time needed for incoming security checks, reduce queuing, and to optimise the number of immigration staff and associated costs.

The automated system is in two parts: Firstly, the traveller uses a kiosk to scan their passport and answer security questions. The kiosk prints a transit document. Secondly, the user puts the transit document into a camera/gate system, which compares the traveller’s face to the information in the document, and if successful, franks a code onto the returned transit document, and opens the gate.  The final part of the process is human, when the transit document is read by staff after baggage collection.

When Morpho was first awarded the contract to supply the system to the Australian government, they went to tender to find a partner, and selected Neo to provide the entire kiosk and the read/frank component of the gate. When they won a similar contract in NZ two years later, they extended that partnership across the Tasman. The project has been an unqualified success, growing from the initial 70 kiosks to just under 200 to date.

Under the initial agreement, Neo provided a 3-year warranty, and committed to parts availability for 10 years.  But as new units were rolled out, Neo realised that it was difficult for Morpho to manage a fleet of devices that had differing warranty end dates. So they suggested a 10-year warranty on all equipment, with co-termination. This was such a success that Neo has now extended the warranty out to 15 years.

“The 15-year warranty is unique in my experience” said Steve Bennett Morpho Program Manager Border Control “I have never come across a manufacturer who has so much confidence in their product and process. The end customer has demanding availability requirements and we know that through our partnership with Neo, we can meet those demands”, says Mike Mitchell, CEO of Neo Products Group.

“The key is to design the system for support, right from the start. We design around a principal of flexibility – for example of mounting and cabling – to ensure that even if component parts within the kiosk change over the years, the system still appears and functions exactly the same to the user.”

“It’s not just about physical product design,” continues Mike “we also have to build effective and manageable support processes – including parts planning, reverse packaging and labelling, swap pool management and security-cleared installation teams. This combination of product and process design gives Neo 100% confidence in the reliability and serviceability of our offerings. It means we can offer great value and service to our clients”.

Smartgates are still being rolled out.  As more countries’ passports become eligible for Smartgate and as more Australian passports are renewed with chip technology, the number of users continues to increase. This is great news for travellers – the last thing they need after an international flight is to queue at arrivals – and great news for the Department of Customs and Immigration, who have an efficient and cost effective system.

For Morpho, the Smartgates’ high throughput and essential service means that keeping the systems up and running smoothly is crucial – and with the backing of Neo’s 15-year warranty, they are 100% confident that they have the ‘smarts’ to keep the gates open for business.

To discuss how Neo’s product and support design expertise can make a difference to your business, please contact our sales team on +61 3 9701 1511.