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Many have heard the term facial recognition, but few know what exactly it is and how it has been used to solve complex problems in business and daily life. Also referred to as FRT (Facial Recognition Technology), this technology is most known for the ability to unlock smartphones and computers, it is an extension of Image Recognition. However, its capabilities reach far beyond this. There are uses in the law enforcement field, retail industry, and even casinos. The future of the software holds great promise as well, such as in the medical field. This article will look at these unique and indispensable abilities being used today and some possibilities for the future.
About Facial Recognition Technology
Facial recognition is an application where biometrics software analyzes an individual’s facial patterns, structure, and contours to identify that individual. Think of a person’s face being scanned like a fingerprint. The data collected is stored in databases for the software to compare each scan for identification. It works through four steps:
- Detection. A camera, or multiple cameras scan an individual or even crowds and capture images.
- Analysis. The 2D image is then compared to images in the database. It looks at 80 points on the face such as eye placement and cheek bones. The software also looks at how wide a nose is, the length of the jaw, and how deep set the eyes are in the sockets. Each face is as unique as a fingerprint.
- Conversion. The image and the 80 points are then converted in to a mathematical formula called a faceprint.
- Match. This faceprint is positively identified from the data and an individual is assigned to the print by matching it with an already existing facial database.
Current use-cases of facial recognition
Use-case 1 — Safer schools
With the onslaught of school shootings and child abductions in recent years, authorities and school administrators have been looking for ways to improve school safety. One of these methods involves the implementation of facial recognition software. This dramatically reduces the instances of unauthorized persons gaining access to students and staff by limiting those who can enter the buildings.
Use-case 2 — Controlled access
With the use of FRT and drones, businesses can now keep sensitive areas more secure and control the access to them. For instance, airports and military bases use this technology to ensure that no-one enter restricted zones without proper clearance. This also secures these areas from potential terror attacks by alerting the proper channels of any individual who may be on a watch list.
Use-case 3 — Casinos and cheaters
Casinos have had an ongoing issue with visitors trying to beat the house by cheating ever since the very first one opened. Sure, they lose money to cheaters, but the real threat is of losing their casino licenses. It would devastate their business if they had to shut their doors until the owner could get it back. Therefore, casino security stays on top of all the latest security tech like facial recognition. FRT allows security to identify known cheaters as they come onto the casino floor and remove them before any damage is done.
The future of FRT
The data systems for Facial Recognition Technology is growing daily. This means the system if getting smarter if you will. With the advances of this technology, there are numerous ways in which it could be used in the future. Here are two such instances:
Future of retail
Retailers are already embracing Facial Recognition Technology in the battle against theft. However, there is a possibility gone that will be the days of waiting in lines for checkout. Shoppers will be able to scan their faces to purchase their goods. In addition, facial recognition is just getting attention for being used in some markets to monitor shoppers’ habits. This could possibly be used for targeted advertising when an individual enters a store.
Future of medical diagnostics
Of course, the medical field always stays on the cutting edge of technology and has seen many advancements. Facial recognition is no different. Researchers have used FRT to analyse individuals for precursors for things like Body Mass Index, physiological health, body fat and blood pressure. Currently, there are experiments being conducted with using the technology to see its accuracy in detecting other cues for health issues. Soon those feeling under the weather may be able to open an app, scan their face, and have a diagnosis returned without ever leaving their house or place of work.
In conclusion, facial recognition has been called creepy, invasive, and a violation of privacy. However, the uses-cases far outweigh a few voices not ready for this highly useful technology. In the law enforcement field alone, it has turned into an invaluable tool to identify potential threats, dangerous individuals, and even missing persons. FRT is even keeping schools safer. Facial recognition software is not going away and will only continue to develop and expand such as in the medical, device applications, and even the automotive industries. The future is Now and many amazing use cases are on the horizon for this technology.
Banks and insurance agencies can make use of it for verification purposes when customers try to make transactions or buy policies. HR departments can utilize this technology while onboarding employees.
About Shailendra Kumar
Shailendra is the Vice President and Chief Evangelist of SAP and is on the Advisory Board of Aegis School of Business, Data Science, Cyber Security, and Telecommunication.
With over a quarter of a century's experience in the field of Emerging Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics and Data Science, Shailendra has built upon extensive knowledge of data-driven analytics strategies for revenue growth, cost reduction, marketing and customer behaviour management to drive business outcomes.