The Future of Facial Recognition

facial recognition future

From emotion detection to secure payments, the future for facial recognition looks bright

We’re arguably at the start of the facial recognition revolution. Currently, the technology is often associated with security, but it’s capable of so much more. Greater computing power, edge processing, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are making systems ever smarter, giving them the ability to understand how people are reacting, as well as what they look like.

Here are just some of the ways that facial recognition will develop and be used in the future.

Emotion Detection

Emotion detection is the next big thing in facial recognition, with the promise that it’s not only possible to identify an individual, but also interpret how they’re feeling.

The applications of such technology are impressive. In China, the Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School is testing emotion detection to monitor its pupils and their wellbeing. By scanning every 30 seconds, the system can ascertain whether pupils are happy, confused, angry, surprised, fearful or disgusted. The system can also alert the teacher if attention levels drop, providing data that could help improve classes or allow curriculums to be tailored to how each class responds.

Facial recognition is now being used in schools
Facial recognition technology can be used in schools to monitor attendance and even pupil attention.

Emotion recognition has a big future in business too. Ping An Puhui, a Chinese micro-lending company, is starting to analyse facial expressions to determine if applicants are willing to repay loans. This can help cut down on fraud, as well as boost loan growth in rural areas.

Emotion detection will allow stores to monitor how customers are feeling as they shop, enabling frustrations to be dealt with earlier. And, for security purposes, anyone in distress or acting suspiciously can be spotted automatically.

Facial recognition currently gives businesses a great deal of ‘who’ data. But emotion detection will give them the ‘why’ behind actions, helping companies develop a greater understanding of their customers.

Age Detection

Facial recognition systems are getting better at determining people’s ages all the time. As well as aiding demographics collection, age detection algorithms can be useful in retail environments, flagging up warnings to shop assistants if someone is too young to buy certain products (like alcohol or cigarettes). With accurate age detection, retailers can better maintain their legal responsibilities while reducing the potential to offend customers.

Secure Payments

We’ve seen facial recognition systems that can be used to spot VIP customers, but future systems will also allow payments to be made in the same way, creating a more secure way to shop.

In a concept store in Hangzhou, the fast-food retailer Yum China, has introduced a ‘Smile to Pay’ system. Once registered on the system, customers can pay for their food at a kiosk with a simple smile, providing a way of paying that outstrips contactless mobile payments for security and speed.

Facial recognition on phones shows how far the technology has come
Facial recognition technology can already unlock our phones, so why not use a face ID for payments and travel?

Expect more of this facial ID technology to appear in stores, kiosks and even vending machines. Just as facial recognition systems are used as door passes, face IDs could even be used in public transport systems to reduce fraud and speed up movement. Airports around the world are already trialling the technology to create a paperless travel experience.

Improved Security and Policing

Facial recognition can be a big part of a modern company’s security strategy, with access control systems now able to spot people on a whitelist or blacklist to admit or deny workplace access accordingly. In the future, the power behind facial recognition systems will be able to do far more. Automatic monitoring, for example, will be able to spot shoplifters at work or those not scanning items at self-checkouts in supermarkets.

Of course, law enforcement agencies are also turning to facial recognition, to automatically scan through CCTV footage to find known criminals faster and to prevent terrorist attacks. In China, police are even using camera-equipped sunglasses (linked to a facial recognition system) to spot criminal suspects, widening their surveillance capabilities.

Far from a way to spot known people, facial recognition can give businesses greater insight into their customers, while consumers (if they give their consent) can enjoy a world that’s easier and more secure to interact with. Find out how VIA can help start your facial recognition journey, with products such as the VIA Smart Retail Engagement.

VIA Technologies, Inc.