Facial recognition or face recognition is a biometric software application capable of uniquely identifying or verifying a person by comparing and analyzing patterns based on the person’s facial contours. Facial recognition is mostly used for security purposes, though there is increasing interest in other areas of use. In fact, facial recognition technology has received significant attention as it has the potential for a wide range of application related to law enforcement as well as other enterprises.
Face recognition has its biggest application in attendance. The biometric systems store faces and names and allow employees to mark their attendance from anywhere and anytime. The GPS in the phone helps in verifying the location. This is very useful for organizations with on-field employees. In December 2018, a government-run school in Tamil Nadu, India moved to a smart attendance system, powered by ICET and AIndra Labs. This system allows the teachers to record the class attendance using face recognition on smartphones and mobile devices, reducing effort and improving accuracy.
- Access and security
With the launch of iPhoneX in 2017, face recognition became mainstream. One can now unlock their phones, log into apps and make mobile payment using their face id. This has opened doors for many possibilities, especially in the mobile banking sector.In May 2018, HSBC launched face recognition banking for its corporate customers. The bank’s customers can now use their face id to log into the HSBCnet app in 24 countries. HSBC says the new functionality “speeds up log-in times to less than a second”. According to the bank, Face ID analyses over 30,000 reference points to create a “depth map” of the face – “with less than a one-in-a-million chance of mistaken identity”.
- Criminal identification
Face recognition systems are becoming very popular with the police departments and other law enforcement agencies. The system, which is usually only accessible by authorities, consists of a database with photographs and details of criminals. The authorities provide the software with an image of an individual they’d like to identify. The system, then checks that image against those in the database and thus identify the suspect. Face recognition software can prevent crime even before it takes place.Face recognition was recently used by police in Maryland, US to identify a shooter. Police had difficulty identifying the suspect using fingerprints, so they turned to the state’s facial recognition software, and were able to determine the suspect was 34-year-old Jarrod Ramos. They used the Maryland Image Repository System, or MIRS to identify the shooter soon after the crime. “We would have been much longer in identifying (Ramos) and being able to push forward in the investigation without that system,” said Police Chief Timothy Altomare.
- Photo management apps
Facebook uses facial recognition to suggest friends to tag in a photo. This feature reads the image and matches the face using its database. Facebook is also planning to extend its face recognition technology to fight fake accounts which use another person’s photos. The system once implemented will alert the users when their picture or video is posted on Facebook.
At a crossing in Shenzhen, China, a giant screen displays the faces of pedestrians who jaywalk. The surveillance cameras along the road are equipped with facial recognition technology and capture those who cross or walk in the street unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic.Singapore is also planning to equip its 110,000 lamp posts with surveillance cameras as part of its ‘Smart Nation’ plan. The wide-spread camera surveillance raises privacy concerns but Singapore has pledged to be sensitive towards privacy.