In the field of access control, face recognition has come a long way. Once considered too slow to authenticate people's identities and credentials in high traffic conditions, face recognition technology has evolved to become one of the quickest, most effective access control identity authentication solutions across all industries.
Advancements in artificial intelligence and advanced neural network (ANN) technology from industry leaders like Intel have improved the accuracy and efficiency of face recognition. However, another reason the technology is gaining traction is due to the swiftly rising demand for touchless access control solutions that can help mitigate the spread of disease in public spaces.
Effective for high volumes
Face recognition eliminates security risks and is also virtually impossible to counterfeit
Modern face recognition technology meets all the criteria for becoming the go-to solution for frictionless access control. It provides an accurate, non-invasive means of authenticating people's identities in high-traffic areas, including multi-tenant office buildings, industrial sites, and factories where multiple shifts per day are common.
Typical electronic access control systems rely on people providing physical credentials, such as proximity cards, key fobs, or Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, all of which can be misplaced, lost, or stolen. Face recognition eliminates these security risks and is also virtually impossible to counterfeit.
Affordable biometric option
Although there are other biometric tools available, face recognition offers significant advantages. Some technologies use hand geometry or iris scans, for example, but these options are generally slower and more expensive. This makes face recognition a natural application for day-to-day access control activities, including chronicling time and attendance for large workforces at construction sites, warehouses, and agricultural and mining operations.
In addition to verifying personal credentials, face recognition can also identify whether an individual is wearing a facial covering in compliance with government or corporate mandates regarding health safety protocols. Beyond securing physical locations, face recognition can also be used to manage access to computers, as well as specialised equipment and devices.
Overcoming challenges with AI
So how did face recognition become so reliable when the technology was once dogged by many challenges, including difficulties with camera angles, certain types of facial expressions, and diverse lighting conditions?
Thanks to the emergence of so-called "convolutional" neural network-based algorithms, engineers have been able to overcome these roadblocks.
SecurOS FaceX face recognition solution
FaceX is powered by neural networks and machine learning which makes it capable of authenticating a wide range of faces
One joint effort between New Jersey-based Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) and tech giant Intel has created the SecurOS FaceX face recognition solution.
FaceX is powered by neural networks and machine learning which makes it capable of authenticating a wide range of faces and facial expressions, including those captured under changing light, at different resolution levels, and varying distances from the video camera.
Secure video management system
A common face recognition system deployment begins with IP video cameras that feed footage into a secure video management system connected to a video archive. When the software initially enrolls a person’s face, it creates a "digital descriptor" that is stored as a numeric code that will forever be associated with one identity.
The system encrypts and stores these numeric codes in a SQL database. For the sake of convenience and cost savings, the video server CPU performs all neural network processes without requiring any special GPU cards.
Unique digital identifiers
The next step involves correlating faces captured in a video recording with their unique digital descriptors on file. The system can compare newly captured images against large databases of known individuals or faces captured from video streams.
Face recognition technology can provide multi-factor authentication, searching watchlists for specific types of features, such as age, hair colour, gender, ethnicity, facial hair, glasses, headwear, and other identifying characteristics including bald spots.
SED-compatible drives rely on dedicated chips that encrypt data with AES-128 or AES-256
To support privacy concerns, the entire system features an encrypted and secure login process that prevents unauthorized access to both the database and the archive.
An additional layer of encryption is available through the use of Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs) that hold video recordings and metadata. SED-compatible drives rely on dedicated chips that encrypt data with AES-128 or AES-256 (short for Advanced Encryption Standard).
How do face recognition systems handle people who try to trick the system by wearing a costume mask or holding up a picture to hide their faces?
FaceX from ISS, for example, includes anti-spoofing capabilities that essentially check for the "liveliness" of a given face. The algorithm can easily flag the flat, two-dimensional nature of a face mask, printed photo, or image on a mobile phone and issue a "spoof" alarm.
Increased speed of entry
Incorporating facial recognition into existing access control systems is straightforward and cost-effective
Incorporating facial recognition into existing access control systems is straightforward and cost-effective. Systems can operate with off-the-shelf security cameras and computers. Users can also leverage existing infrastructure to maintain building aesthetics.
A face recognition system can complete the process of detection and recognition in an instant, opening a door or turnstile in less than 500ms. Such efficiency can eliminate hours associated with security personnel checking and managing credentials manually.
A vital tool
Modern face recognition solutions are infinitely scalable to accommodate global enterprises. As a result, face recognition as a credential is increasingly being implemented for a wide range of applications that transcend traditional access control and physical security to include health safety and workforce management.
All these capabilities make face recognition a natural, frictionless solution for managing access control, both in terms of performance and cost.