10 Uses of Facial Recognition Technology

FaceTech is making an important impact

From security, identification, payments, healthcare, and marketing. For most of us at the moment our only contact with FaceTech is likely to be at electronic passport gates or finding novelty filters on Snapchat. However, like it or not, our faces seem to be becoming an increasingly important tool for accessing possessions and information, as well as enabling different sectors to learn more about consumer markets. Wild wide ranging implications on ethics and business, in future, how might industries – not to mention everyday people – use FaceTech to their advantage?

1. Accessing personal devices
We can unlock our phones with our fingerprints, so why not our faces? Today, essentially all phones, laptops and tablets are fitted with cameras. Say, for instance, your phone was stolen. Only you would be able to unlock it, making it worthless to anyone who isn’t an experienced hacker. Once proven accurate, this could encourage consumers to store more personal information on devices, contributing to digitalisation.

2. Unlocking your car
If, one day, we can access our personal electronic devices with our physical appearances, then this could also be the case for other connected possessions. According to Gartner, the number of IoT connected devices will reach 20 billion by 2020. One of the most obvious examples are cars. Jaguar has already been working on walking gait recognition software, and cars can already recognise and respond to surrounding environments. Eventually, this will probably include recognising their owners.

3. Targeted advertising
Back in 2013, Tesco announced the roll out of targeted ads based on the gender and age of customers at petrol stations. Using a screen kitted out with OptimEyes software, the grocery giant aimed to offer more relevant advertising to the benefit of company and consumer. Today, other retail companies are looking to install similar software that identifies customers as they enter shops, changing display boards to suit their personal preferences.

4. Marketing feedback
As well as discovering the best ways to connect with potential and existing customers, facial recognition technology is also being used to judge levels of engagement. This has already been put to the test on smart ad boards, trialled in 2015 in London. Walmart is also rumoured to be developing its own FaceTech system to gain insights into customer satisfaction. Eventually, this could become standard procedure for all major retailers.

5. Securing data
Through biometric authentication (in other words, using someone’s face to verify their identity), sensitive digital data could be secured from malicious influences. Data security has become a pressing issue, and not just for the boardroom. Now, it’s important for everyone to know exactly what information they have, and how to make sure it’s safely stored. FaceTech could provide a way of doing this, only giving access to one verified user.

6. Mental Health diagnosis
We know that facial recognition tech can be used to detect diseases, but what about the healthcare issues that aren’t so easy to spot? Through closely tracking a patient’s expressions, medical staff could judge the extent of distress and come closer to making an accurate diagnosis. This, of course, has uses outside of healthcare facilities too. . .

7. Social robot interactions
In order to function as quality companions and helpers, social robots need to be able to understand the nuances of human emotion. Alongside natural language processing and contextual data, FaceTech will also be vital in enabling a meaningful exchange between humans and bots. In order to respond to a distressed human, social robots can’t simply rely on what that person tells them.

8. Reading concentration levels
If you have ever been in a class or lecture you’d rather not be in, it’s very easy to lose concentration. At ESG Management School, facial biometrics software called Nestor tracks the engagement of students during lessons. This isn’t about chastising people – it’s a way of letting them know exactly where gaps in their knowledge are likely to be. This is also applicable to a professional working environment, monitoring collective activity levels throughout the day and working out how best to maximise productivity.

9. Online purchases
Alibaba, a prominent Chinese ecommerce company, plans to use the Alipay platform to let users makes purchases over the Internet. At the beginning of this month, Alipay launched a ‘Smile to Pay’ facial recognition system at a KFC outlet in Hangzhou. The system recognises a face within two seconds, and then verifies the scan by sending a mobile alert. ‘Smile to Pay’ is also able to identify people wearing make up or wigs as a disguise.

10. Helping the blind
Listerine, the brand behind the popular mouthwash, might not seem like a regular candidate for technological development. However, the company has created a mobile app that enables the blind or visually impaired to know when someone is smiling at them. This new way to experience the world could help blind people to forge more meaningful connections with others, easing the isolation that can come with a sensory defect.

Once FaceTech can demonstrate security and accuracy, it’s various potential applications could make everyday life easier. Applying facial recognition capabilities to services and products is equally advantageous for businesses, establishing a deeper relationship with consumers. Instead of selling products to customers, a brand could identify a demographic, check if they match purchasing trends and see what items of clothing they buy to create a certain look. This applies to any sales team in any industry. FaceTech is also bridging the divide between the digital and real world. Eventually, secure online locations that can only be accessed by one person alone will transform personal possessions and data storage. Even so, it’s worth keeping hold of that spare key.