Technology & Innovation

The Transformative Power of Facial Recognition for Business

If you feel that you’re living within George Orwell’s 1984, you might not be totally wrong. Big Brother is watching. Science fiction is science fact. But, not in a bad way at all. After all, how do you think you’ve been tagging people on social media? Facebook rolled out its facial recognition feature way back in 2012. In fact, the disruptive power of this tech is such that Markets estimate that by 2024, the global face recognition market could generate revenues of a whopping $7 billion, growing at a CAGR of 16% between 2019 and 2024. By the end of 2019, this market is expected to cross the $3.2 billion mark.

Get Smart, Use Face Recognition Technology

Can you unlock your smartphone just by looking at it? That’s because it’s powered by face recognition technology. This biometric software application can identify and verify people by analyzing the unique features of their face, like facial contours, structures and expressions. The application of this technology for security purposes is a no-brainer, and not just for your smartphone. Keys can be stolen. So, maybe your home is more secure if you can unlock the door with facial recognition. The Veris visitor management system is in the process of using such facial recognition features to provide high-end security to some of the largest companies in India.

5 Industries That Are Using Facial Recognition

Facial recognition offers benefits to a wide variety of industries. Here’s a look.

1. Healthcare

Again, the application of facial recognition comes naturally to healthcare settings, where it can make it significantly easier and quicker for patients to complete the visitor check-in process to see a doctor or be admitted to a hospital. The last thing you want when you’re feeling really unwell is to stand in long queues and then filling up complicated forms.

In fact, in 2015, Apple had launched ResearchKit and CareKit, two open-source frameworks that could help recruit subjects for clinical trials and then monitor their health remotely. It might be possible that in the future, facial biometrics are used to monitor changes in facial features over time to track an individual’s health status through skin displacement or changes in skin color. It might surprise you to learn that facial recognition can also be used to track cardiac health. In 2014, Amazon had applied for a patent for an app that would combine facial recognition with heart rate analysis. The patent was finally granted in 2017.

2. Hospitality

Facial recognition offers definite advantages for customer services, especially in the hospitality sector. It offers customer care representatives to offer more personalized services when the facial biometrics are linked to a guest’s account. You would simply need to walk into a hotel to activate a visitor check-in and use facial recognition tech to enter the room allotted to you. No key cards, no fear of losing them or someone else entering your room in your absence.

On the other hand, the hotels would benefit, with their staff being freed up to focus on better serving the clientele, using the time to cross-sell or upsell services tailored to the specific customer. The technology is already in use in some Marriott Hotels in China, where there are kiosks for guests to check-in through facial recognition. All you need for this is a smart visitor management system that offers iPad check-ins.

3. Retail

Just like the way Google uses your search history to show you ads and e-commerce stores use your shopping behaviour to show you products you might be interested in, facial recognition in retail means a much more personalized shopping experience. This could be a huge opportunity for physical retail stores to level the playing field with e-commerce.

For instance, face recognition software could be used to capture what a customer might be looking at and then retailers could offer similar products through email promotions or online ads. Walmart uses patented tech to analyze facial expressions of customers waiting at the check out lines to assess their satisfaction.

In China, JD stores offer customers a QR code, which they can scan and then a camera uses face recognition algorithms to identify the person the next time they enter the store. Each item in these stores has RFID tags. So, when the customer is leaving, they need to stand at a sign marked on the floor and the RFID tags on the items they’ve chosen are immediately scanned. The cameras use the facial recognition algos to then charge your account directly. No long check-out lines.

4. Banking and FinTech

What could be more secure for online or mobile banking than using your face to login into your account? Singapore-based OCBC and the multi-national HSBC have added face biometrics as a login option for mobile banking. The tech claims “less than one-in-a-million chance of mistaken identity.”

What if this tech was used at ATMs to securely withdraw cash? All the instances of stolen PIN or ATM cards leading to the theft of your hard-earned money would be completely eliminated. Plus, just like retail, banking could offer you more personalized services at their branches with facial recognition. Imagine what a difference it would make to customer experiences at banks.

5. Marketing

Targeting your marketing campaigns at the right audience would become much more precise with face recognition. In fact, just by gathering demographic information on the people who stop to look at specific ads could provide a lot of data for marketers to fine-tune their campaigns and provide immersive advertising experiences to the target audience.

This is exactly what Virgin Mobile did in 2013. The company used an interactive ad where the viewer needed to blink to make the ad’s story move forward.

While these might be the top 5 industries where facial recognition could bring in positive transformation, they are by no means the only sectors this technology can benefit. Imagine a situation where you could attend an event, whether a music concert or a seminar, simply through facial recognition, rather than standing in long ticket queues or even the guest registration software to fill in your details.

And, if you integrate this technology with CCTV cameras, you can track not just unauthorized entries to events or your business premises, you could even monitor where a visitor goes within the premises, to ensure that no one overstays their welcome or attempts to enter restricted areas. If any such activity is spotted, an immediate alert could be sent to the security team. Such real-time notifications are already enabled in the smart visitor management systems offered by Veris in India.

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