From catching criminals to tracing missing children, facial recognition technology is improving the way we live
It’s hard to ignore the impact that modern facial recognition technology has had in our society. We’ve already seen its ability to dramatically improve security and automate processes. For example, cameras in stores are helping to reduce theft, while advanced access control systems in buildings are replacing the traditional (and often cumbersome) door pass.
But there’s more. Facial recognition technology has a whole range of applications across a wide array of market sectors, from retail and business to travel and education. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting and inspiring stories here, proving that the benefits of facial recognition are now almost impossible to overlook.
1. Surveillance sunglasses
China arguably leads the way in facial recognition and the BBC recently reported that Chinese police have started to use sunglasses “equipped with facial recognition technology to identify suspected criminals.”
The wirelessly-enabled glasses are linked to a database of suspects, allowing police officers to scan crowds and identify criminals much faster that they could do on their own. According to Chinese state media, the technology has already helped police catch several suspects in Zhengzhou. The system itself works by using facial recognition technology to compare photos taken by patrolling police officers to a blacklist of known offenders.
2. Finding one face in thousands
If the camera-equipped sunglasses above are impressive, facial recognition technology can function even better when connected to a network of wide-view CCTV cameras. Again, by comparing photos taken by these cameras to a database of known criminals, matches can be made in seconds and security teams duly alerted.
In China, facial recognition technology was able to pick out one man from a crowd of over 50,000 people who were attending a pop concert in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. “The man, who was only identified by his family name Ao, was quoted as saying he felt safe among such a huge crowd and would never have gone to the concert if he knew the police were capable of identifying him,” reported Today Online.
3. Cutting down on marriage paperwork
On a lighter note, couples in Chongqing in China can now have their identities and personal information verified by facial recognition, reducing the time it takes to issue a marriage certificate. Using a face-scanning machine, the technology can “check the applicant’s information in 0.3 second[s] and produce a report for obtaining the marriage certificate.”
4. Finding missing children
The power of facial recognition technology can be summed up by the fact that, in India, it has helped police find 3,000 missing children in only four days. Checking 45,000 children in New Delhi would be an almost impossible task using traditional methods. But facial recognition technology could sift through the data in a matter of hours, allowing thousands of children to be identified, matched to missing persons reports, and reunited with their families.
5. And the rest…
There are many other areas were facial recognition is proving to be a huge success. For example, worldwide burger restaurant Caliburger is using facial recognition to identify repeat customers and remember their previous orders. While in China, facial recognition is even being used in toilets. “Each person scanning their face received 40cm of toilet paper from a dispenser,” reported the South China Morning Post. “The aim is to stop each user taking too much – and crack down on theft of paper.”
Again, in China, Alibaba’s Fliggy and hotel technology company Shiji is behind a facial recognition system for hotel check-ins. Guests can book online and use a face ID system for credit inside the hotel.
“Our aim with this project has been to find ways for hotels to increase guest satisfaction by reducing wait times as much as possible,” said Shiji Group COO Kevin King. “Working with Fliggy and our partner hotels have made this a success and we’re monitoring privacy and efficiency closely to develop ways to increase this across more hotels.”
The ongoing success of facial recognition technologies is becoming hard to ignore. Find out how the VIA Smart Access Control System is already helping to improve security here.