How Facial Recognition Technology Is Changing Our World | Digitized House

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How Facial Recognition Technology Is Changing Our World

How Facial Recognition Technology Is Changing Our World
Facial recognition security is built into all of the latest iPhones from Apple. Image: Digitized House.
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The hot topic in today’s surveillance industry is ​facial recognition technology​. Not only is this groundbreaking tech being utilized for security purposes, but it’s becoming more common on smartphones, banking apps, and even social media platforms. The power and convenience of facial detection have made it an increasingly popular attribute, transforming not only the technology industry but the world as a whole. 

How Does Facial Recognition​ ​Work?

Facial recognition is simply the way in which technology is able to recognize and identify the human face. The system is able to use biometrics to map out facial features and compare them to databases in order to find the perfect match or verify the identity of an individual. Although the technologies can vary across different software and platforms, the basic steps usually consist of the following:

Step 1:​ Your face is captured through a photograph or video. Your image may show you looking straight on or in a series of pictures, including side profiles.

Step 2:​ The software used in facial recognition reads the geometry of your face and keeps a recording of your facial landmarks. Key factors of your facial features such as the distance and shape of your eyes, chin and forehead length, and mouth shape are all used to create your facial signature.

Step 3:​ The facial signature acts as a mathematical formula which is then used to be compared amongst other known faces saved in the database.

Step 4:​ The determination is made based off of the saved images in the facial recognition system’s database.  

Who Is Using Facial Recognition Technology? 

With the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple brought facial recognition technology to the masses. Image: Apple.
With the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple brought facial recognition technology to the masses. Image: Apple.

The primary reason why facial recognition is changing the game in the tech world is that it’s being used for a variety of different purposes across numerous industries. You can find this technology being implemented in an abundance of devices, applications, and local areas, such as the following: 

  • US Government in Airports:​ The process of going through customs controls has been given a modern update with the use of facial recognition technology. Not only has it helped to cut down on the time spent on the traditionally long and chaotic customs lines, but it’s also helped the Department of Homeland Security keep better track of who is coming in and out of the country at any given time. The first arrest was made using facial recognition back in August 2018, when an imposter was trying to enter the country under a different alias. This event provided clear evidence of the power this technology possesses in helping to enhance the efficiency and capabilities of security systems.
  • Mobile Smartphones: What’s a passcode? This is most likely a question future​ generations will be asking since facial recognition is now being utilized in the mobile sector. The release of the Apple iPhone X and Face ID demonstrated that even smartphones can utilize this technology to make using the iPhone even simpler and that much more secure. Apple has stated that the likelihood of a random person unlocking an iPhone equipped with Face ID is merely a 1 in a million chance. Safe to presume that just about anyone would take their chances with those odds.  
  • Social Media:​ Facebook has also recently dived into the world of facial recognition technology. They have implemented the tech into an interesting feature that allows it to spot out faces and provide recommended tags as you upload a photo. With just about a 98% accuracy rate, Facebook has made it that much easier to tag friends and send out a link to their profiles. Users are also notified when an image has been uploaded that could have them in the picture (helpful if the user neglected to tag you).
Users can manage the new Facebook facial recognition settings for photos through a series of panels in the app, including turning the feature off entirely. Image: Facebook.
  • Banking Apps: ​Banks such as Bank of America have applied this technology into their apps, making it even easier for users to switch amongst their different accounts. By utilizing this identity verification method, the technology has made it that much more convenient for users to access their account information and transaction activities, with the added bonus of vastly improved security.  
  • Hospitality:​ In an attempt to make the guest experience more convenient and effortless, facial recognition has been utilized in the hospitality industry as well. A few ​Marriott chain hotels in China​ now allow their guests to check-in using a facial recognition kiosk. Not only does it allow them to check-in for their stay, but it also sends an automatic payment straight to their account. It’s expected that this type of technology in this setting will soon expand and even allow guests to enter their room based off of facial recognition, therefore eliminating the need for a room key.

When it comes to facial recognition, the possibilities are truly endless.

What Does This Mean for the Surveillance World?

Now that more and more industries are starting to incorporate this type of technology, further advancements are inevitably going to be made. The pioneering industry that had a clear need for facial recognition in the first place has also been making recent improvements. Panasonic security systems have released the Panasonic FacePro Deep Learning Facial Recognition System that has raised the standards in facial detection. This new system incorporates various features that allow it to better detect and recognize faces that would have been too difficult to verify previously. FacePro’s primary features consist of the following: 

  • Face Matching: ​This attribute allows the monitor to record up to 20 remote cameras from one server in real-time. Once the software recognizes a face matched with those in the system, a display of alarm history will appear in the list. 
  • Face Search:​ Every face that is stored in this system’s data is automatically saved and easily accessible through the database. This feature makes it much easier to search later on.  
  • Analytics Section:​ This software also features an analytics section that keeps track of various statistics such as people’s ages and gender and displays it in an accessible banner/graph. The statistical data that is collected can then be saved as a CSV formatted text file for analytical use.

The level of surveillance security is only expected to get increasingly more advanced with the creation of all these new, innovative features. We can safely anticipate that new facial recognition technologies will continue to move the world for all industries across the board. 

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Lowell Bradford

Lowell Bradford is Senior Editor at in New York City.