A government trial of digital age-verification technology aimed to identify underage customers attempting to purchase alcohol, has begun and will run between January and May 2022.

ICU age verification technology will now be piloted in several convenience stores in the Northwest of England, with test sites being monitored to ensure retailers are provided necessary support.

Innovative Technology, who provide a range of biometric solutions designed to estimate someone’s age has been approved as a participant in the UK governments pilot of age verification technology for the retail sale of alcohol.

The regulatory ‘Sandbox’ trial will still require humans to check customers ages, but the technology will be used to help retailers abide by the law currently in place to prevent alcohol being sold to anyone underage.

Digital alcohol age verification trial delayed

The Sandbox trial provides the opportunity for industry standards approved by the Age Check Certification Scheme (ACCS) to be tested in controlled, smaller environments. The trial will test the practical use of digital age verification in real situations.

Andrew O’Brien, ICU product manager, outlined the objectives of the trial stating: “A core objective for us during this trial is to understand the impact such technology can have in helping to reduce any potential abuse and aggression directed at staff who refuse underage customers attempting to buy alcohol.

“We believe this simple tool will have a significant impact to support retailers in adhering to the 2003 Licensing Act. From large supermarkets chains to corner shops, we have ensured our product is accessible for all with simple deployment and minimal resources required,” he added.

ICU has no recurring transaction fees, with no charge per age estimation making it a cost-effective solution for retailers.

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