BLS International Joint MD Shikhar Aggarwal
BLS International Joint MD Shikhar Aggarwal. (Photo: File)

Exclusive Interview: Introduction of e-visa in has given convenience to national and international travellers. In many ways, E-visa has bypassed the need of physical movement and made the processing and accessibility of visa services to travellers faster. However, with the Introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and robot processing automation and analytics, experts feel that the process can be improved manifold backed with higher data security.

TechObserver.in’s Sanjay Singh spoke with BLS International Joint MD Shikhar Aggarwal to understand how Visa industry is looking at emerging technologies. “Chip technology in the face-to-face environment and 3-Domain Secure (3-DS) tools, which help enable consumers to authenticate their identity in real-time, offering a balance of greater data exchange between merchants and financial institutions, especially at the time of shopping, can be a game-changer in the visa industry,” he said adding that security must be given the topmost priority and it should match the speed of innovative possesses in the visa industry.

How do you look at e-Visa? How can the process be further improved?

E-Visas is a service given by government to automate the process of visa processing. Introduction of e-visa in Visa Industry has given convenience to national and international travellers. E-visa indeed has bypassed the need of physical movement and made the processing and accessibility of visa services to travellers faster.

This could further be improved with Chip technology in the face-to-face environment and 3-Domain Secure (3-DS) tools, which help enable consumers to authenticate their identity in real-time, offering a balance of greater data exchange between merchants and financial institutions, especially at the time of shopping, which can be a game-changer in the visa industry. Security must be given the topmost priority and it should match the speed of innovative possesses in the visa industry.

We must understand that it’s not only “innovation” but “responsible innovation”, which needs to be made more secure through adoption of newer technology, especially when it comes to driving security across the payments ecosystem.

Further, with the Introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and robot processing automation and analytics in the visa industry, the process can be improved manifold backed with higher data security.

What are your views on use of emerging technologies like AI, machine learning in visa processing?

The visa industry is using AI in various formats like online appointment booking, mobile biometric services, e-Visa and allied contact centre.  There’s no denying that adoption of AI is picking up pace in various sectors, including visa and consular services. Most of the companies today are adopting AI mechanism in their business.

It is expected that by 2025, 50% of companies would have adopted AI mechanism and Visa processing is not an exception to this. Many software professionals and experts believe that implementing AI across several industries will give AI software potential revenues and a phenomenal ascent up to $90 billion by 2025.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence in visa processing industry has not only made the process easy but also has streamlined it.

Do you find any changes post GDPR on data security in visa industry?

Over the years, technology has transformed our lives in many ways, and with transformation comes security and sustenance of these transitions. VISA industry has always been attentive towards data security. If you see the impact of GDPR on data security in VISA industry, it’s not much, however the law enactment has streamlined the whole process making it more transparent and secure than before.  It has also created opportunity to build deeper trust with customers (VISA Applicants).

As per GDPR, Organizations now are obliged to demonstrate their compliance. For demonstration, organizations must maintain the evidences of data security related decisions, processes, security audits etc. We also think that GDPR will force companies to change their data practises, making it more transparent and compliance oriented.

GDPR has empowered customer and has paved the way for better, more transparent business environment, with respect to data management.

It is expected that by 2025, 50% of companies would have adopted AI mechanism and Visa processing is not an exception to this.
It is expected that by 2025, 50% of companies would have adopted AI mechanism and Visa processing is not an exception to this. (Photo: Agency)

How has been business in India and what is your business expectation in the year 2019?

Outsourcing business is growing at a very fast pace in India and the number of visas processed from India are growing enormously as the appetite of Indians to travel abroad is increasing every year. In coming years, BLS expects to maintain its growth pace as it has showcased in last couple of years and has a vision to touch the lives of a billion people globally by creating a differentiated service experience.

What are the five key trends that you see will impact Visa industry in 2019?

Visa industry will witness the growth like never before, in coming years, and with frequent travelling it will be imperative for us to scale the operations accordingly and make the process seamless for travellers.

Moreover, citizens will be demanding better services and the government’s focus on more secure and smooth administration will derive the growth for the industry, which will result in outsourcing of services as an obvious solution.

With the 70% of market in the world still unsourced, we foresee a tremendous potential & opportunity in the market.

The key trends in 2019 will be: Growth in the number of embassies and consulates worldwide; Extensive use of technology and AI; Emerging debate on data security; Growing independent travellers and their personalised requirements; Cumbersome administrative nature of visa processing; Growth of visa applications with increasing number of travellers; Overcoming the negative image associated with visa application processing (i.e., long waiting time and queues in visa application.

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