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Facial Recognition: Definition, Benefits, & Use Cases
Published at January 09, 2023
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Facial recognition technology is a form of biometric authentication that uses AI to identify individuals based on their facial features. This technology has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to detect and verify faces in real-time accurately.

One of the main advantages of facial recognition technology is its speed and accuracy. Traditional forms of biometric authentication, such as passwords and PIN numbers, can be easily forgotten or stolen, but a person's face is much harder to fake or imitate.

In addition to its use in security and authentication, facial recognition technology is also being used in a variety of other applications. For example, it is being used in marketing to target advertisements to specific demographics, and in entertainment to create interactive experiences.

However, the use of facial recognition technology has also raised concerns about privacy. Some worry that the technology could be used to invade individuals' privacy or that the data collected by the technology could be vulnerable to abuse.

There are many benefits that come from this security feature but also some disadvantages follow. Before we dive deeper into understanding facial recognition, let's see what facial recognition is.

What is Facial Recognition?

According to Amazon.com, the facial recognition feature is a face analyser software that uses a person's face to identify or validate their identification. Facial recognition technology is able to identify and measure specific features on a person's face in order to identify them. It can be used to identify individuals in images or videos, compare two images to determine if they show the same person, or search for a particular face within a large database of images.

This technology is commonly used in biometric security systems to uniquely identify users during the login process or to confirm their identity. It is also often used for security purposes on mobile and personal devices.

How Facial Recognition works

Facial recognition uses AI to analyse and compare patterns in facial features in order to identify a specific person. When an image of a face is captured, the software looks for specific markers, such as the distance between the eyes, the shape of the nose, and the overall structure of the face. It then compares these markers to a database of known faces in order to find a match.

According to Kaspersky, there are four general steps explaining how facial recognition technology works as follows:

  • Step 1: Face Detection
    Facial recognition technology uses a camera to locate and capture an image of a person's face, which may be shown looking straight ahead or in profile.
  • Step 2: Face Analysis
    Next, a picture of a face is taken and examined, typically using 2D rather than 3D images because it is easier to match with other 2D images such as those in a database or publicly available photos. The software examines the face's geometry, like the distance between the eyes, the shape of the cheekbones, the contour of the ears, lips, and chin, the depth of the eye sockets, and the distance from the forehead to the chin. This process aims to identify specific facial characteristics that make your face unique.
  • Step 3: Converting the image to data
    During the facial recognition process, an image of a person's face is transformed into a set of digital data based on the unique characteristics of their facial features. This data is then used to create a numerical code, known as a faceprint, which is unique to that individual, similar to how a thumbprint is unique. The faceprint is created through a process of analysing and measuring the person's facial features and turning that analysis into a mathematical formula.
  • Step 4: Finding a match
    After converting the image to a unique numerical code known as a faceprint, it is then compared to a database of other known faces. If your faceprint matches an image in the facial recognition database, a decision is made based on the match.

Benefits of Facial Recognition

Aside from unlocking your smartphone, facial recognition has the following benefits:

1. Improved security

Facial recognition can help Governments to identify and track down terrorists and other criminals. It can also be a security tool for locking personal devices and for surveillance cameras.

2. Faster process

Recognising a face takes only a second, which offers benefits to companies that use facial recognition. Companies require both secure and quick solutions in an era of cyber-attacks and powerful hacking tools. Facial recognition allows for quick and efficient identity verification.

3. Efficient Integration

Many facial recognition systems are able to work with various security software, making it easy to integrate into existing systems without needing to make a significant additional investment.

4. Increased convenience

As facial recognition technology becomes more popular, people will be able to pay for purchases in stores simply by showing their faces, rather than using a credit card or cash. This could make checkout lines faster and more efficient. Additionally, since facial recognition doesn't require any physical contact as fingerprinting does, it can provide a quick, automatic, and smooth verification process, which is particularly useful in the current pandemic.

Popular use cases of Facial Recognition

Many industries and sectors have implemented facial recognition technology in their systems. Here are some popular real-world applications of facial recognition technology according to AIMultiple:

1. Healthcare

Facial recognition technology can be used to quickly scan a patient's face and retrieve their medical history and insurance information. It can help to reduce the workload for healthcare professionals and save time for patients. According to a recent study, 66% of patients are willing to use facial recognition for this purpose.

2. Retail sector

Facial recognition technology can improve retail security by reducing shoplifting. It's also being used to automate B2C operations. For example, Amazon Go stores are using facial recognition to implement contactless payments.

3. Finance

Facial recognition technology helps to identify and verify customers and can streamline the process of onboarding new customers. It can also enhance security at ATMs and banks, potentially reducing the occurrence of robberies and fraud.

4. Law enforcement and security

Facial recognition technology has been used by law enforcement for a long time ago to identify and track criminals or people of interest. It is often used in surveillance cameras located in public areas, such as intersections, train stations, bus stations, and airports, to help locate fugitives or people of interest.

Conclusion

In conclusion, facial recognition technology offers numerous benefits and can be used in a variety of settings, including healthcare, banking, retail, and law enforcement. It can save time, enhance security, and streamline processes.

Overall, facial recognition technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we identify and verify individuals and conduct business. By carefully considering the benefits and potential risks, we can maximise the benefits of this technology while minimising any negative impacts.

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