ID passes are yesterday’s technology. Facial recognition has the potential to improve security, identify unauthorised access and keep track of visitors.
Building security has improved significantly over the past few years, evolving to cope with the threats of terrorism, fraud, theft and unauthorised entry. It’s an area ripe for innovation, as access to a building is often managed through security passes, with security guards tasked with watching over the process and stepping in when they see something suspicious.
Managing such a system is not an easy job and it’s impossible to catch everything. In a large building, for example, how does a security guard know who’s supposed to be there and who isn’t? What about former employees who retained their old door passes? Will every security guard know to look out for them? Even the best-trained and most vigilant security staff will have breaks or get distracted dealing with other problems. This leaves opportunities for unauthorised access to the building.
Security checks can be stepped up, of course. But the danger here is that it becomes a laborious process, annoying for employees, while slowing down entry and exit flow. Facial recognition offers a quicker, more efficient way to process and track visitors. As an example, Australia’s SmartGate airport security system uses facial recognition to “handle as many as 150 passengers an hour – that’s one person being processed through immigration every 24 seconds.”
The most obvious use for facial recognition is that it can act as the security pass of the future. While security passes can be stolen, borrowed or copied, a person can’t change their face. By swapping security passes for facial recognition technology, and using a whitelist system, only those people registered for entry can access a building. Better still, you can add granular control, restricting which people have access to key floors or rooms.
Facial recognition is faster and easier than using a card too. Employees don’t need to pull out a security ID (or hunt for one in their bag), and they’re immediately ready to be scanned. This speeds up entry to a building and ensures that only those who are authorised can do so.
Using facial recognition also gives you the ability to maintain a blacklist, a database of people banned from a building. By using automated monitoring, security cameras can identify those banned from access, warning security staff immediately. This will help prevent someone from sneaking into the building, coming in via a back entrance, or following someone through security gates.
Should an employee leave a business, they can be easily moved from the whitelist to the blacklist, preventing further attempts to enter the building.
Visitor and Employee Tracking
Who’s inside your building at any point? While visitors can be signed in, and employees may need to tag in with a security card, not everyone taps out or signs out. This can make it hard to know who exactly is in the building at any time, which can not only be a security risk, but can also pose a health and safety problem. For example, in the case of a fire alarm, you need to know when the building has been cleared and whether anybody is left inside.
With facial recognition, it’s possible to track who comes in and who goes out of a building automatically and, depending on camera placement, show where they’re located. Singapore’s Changi airport, for example, is testing facial recognition to help track travellers on their journey from check-in desk to departure gate.
“We have lots of reports of lost passengers,” Steve Lee, Changi Airport Group’s chief information officer, told Reuters. “So, one possible use case we can think of is, we need to detect and find people who are on the flight. Of course, with permission from the airlines.”
The technology can also track when people leave a building, counting them out as well as counting them in. Should there be an emergency, you can be confident that you’ve accounted for all the occupants and successfully cleared a building. Crucially, if you need to locate a single person, a facial recognition camera system can pinpoint their last known location, helping you find them faster.
Facial recognition systems can go even further. Advanced emotion detection can help spot people in distress or anyone acting suspiciously, delivering insights that a security guard may not spot.
With object detection built into a security system, it’s also possible to look for suspicious objects automatically. Alerts can then be sent to security staff, allowing them to deal with the problem instantly, avoiding any problems.
Tailoring a security system for your building and security needs is crucial. The VIA Smart Access Control System is capable of processing data locally for speed and security, checking data against a remote database that gives you scalability and centralised control.
Running on the high-performance Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820E embedded platform, each system can monitor up to four video streams. Using the facial recognition abilities mentioned above, the system can control access to a building, as well as track attendance of both staff and visitors. The basic facial detection building blocks can also be expanded, giving you the custom applications and controls that modern security requires.
Click here to find out more about the VIA Smart Access Control System and how we can help you get started.