Download PDF version Contact company

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.

Robust encryption

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).

Anti-spoofing safeguards

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.

Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

In case you missed it

Crossing the divide - automating security processes across physical, business and IT domains
Crossing the divide - automating security processes across physical, business and IT domains

Security is a critical requirement for all organisations. Getting security right involves the correct mix of people, processes and technology working together. However, many enterprise companies don’t look at the full mix that encompasses information security, and instead split their physical security and business continuity teams away from their IT security departments. According to research by ASIS, around half (52 per cent) of companies have converged two or three out of their physical, IT security and business continuity teams together, with the majority of those opting to bring together their continuity and physical security teams. Of those that have not brought teams together, around 70 per cent have no plans to do so. It's Important to bring all department's security together The reason for this is that cybersecurity is perceived as having a more specialist role within the business and that this prevents companies from bringing their departments together. However, while IT security has its own specialist requirements and skills, it should not be looked at alone. Businesses are looking at how to manage risk more effectively across all their operations, and they have problems when their teams are siloed and don’t have the full picture. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed its own guide to this area, based on the growth of the Internet of Things and more connected devices entering both homes and businesses, so this will continue to grow in importance. The rise of automation The pace of change that companies face today, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that more organisations are moving to digital services and automating their operations as much as they can. Security is no exception here - according to our research on security and automation, 75 percent of companies say they would need an additional three or more analysts in place to deal with all their incoming alerts in the same day, while 83 percent say their teams face ‘alert fatigue.’ IT security teams are drowning in data, but they feel unable to cope - yet at the same time, they will have to work more closely with other departments as well. Automation is necessary to deal with all these problems, but it should not be looked at in isolation. While IT security teams are keen to invest in automation using technologies like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR), these investments can be used across both physical and IT security. As IT security teams invest in automation, they can adapt and extend their approach to help risk management and security in the physical world as well. The best approach to be successful around this is to look at areas where real-world and IT security challenges cross over for businesses. To adopt this approach successfully involves understanding business processes better. Fraud detection processes Automation involves using data and analytics to improve how a process operates from beginning to end, including where IT and technology is used to support physical interactions or activities. A good example of this would be a bank’s fraud detection process, where multiple digital and physical transactions have to be monitored and investigated. Bringing together different teams - physical security, business continuity, risk management and IT security - is about how to protect the whole organisation against risk. While the most well-known area for fraud investigation would be credit card transactions, there are multiple different types of transactions to track, from national and international wire transfers to prepaid phone cards and other prepaid cards that can be used for credit purchases. Each of these will have its own workflows and requirements to investigate a transaction, This can include looking at whether transactions are false positives or need further investigation, which is based on a mix of digital documentation for online purchases and physical data from in-person transactions. At the same time, the sophisticated nature of fraud can mean there is a large IT component to any investigation. Members of the IT security team may need to be involved alongside the anti-fraud department. While this investigation is necessary, it pulls analysts away from cybersecurity tasks, which can be especially frustrating where false positives are concerned. Instead, automating the investigation process can help. Consolidating Physical, IT and risk management By consolidating processes and automating the workflow, this pulls physical, IT and risk management together in a smarter and more efficient manner. It also improves productivity for an anti-fraud team as they can remove false positives from the workflow and get automated support for IT analysis. If the team needs more human insight, they can bring this in where they need it rather than requiring it for every investigation. While anti-fraud is one example of where this kind of convergence and collaboration is required, there are other use cases. For instance, industrial control and manufacturing applications that run production lines around the clock are frequently targeted for attacks, either to steal vital data or to disrupt business operations. This crosses over from the realm of IT into the world of operational technology, where systems are very different and the systems used may have been in place for years, even decades. Bringing together different teams - physical security, business continuity, risk management and IT security - is about how to protect the whole organisation against risk. By working together, teams can be more efficient rather than working in their respective silos. This involves better use of data across those teams, which will rely on more automation to be efficient. Using SOAR, security analysts and business risk professionals can cut the amount of time needed to respond to potential problems, reducing the impact and remediating faster. At the same time, it reduces the waste associated with false positives and manual work. The emphasis here should be on how to support the business with better security - by consolidating processes and working more effectively, security teams across the organisation can achieve that goal.

Dahua Technology’s video and access control solution enhances safety in Empresa Panamena de Alimentos food company’s facilities
Dahua Technology’s video and access control solution enhances safety in Empresa Panamena de Alimentos food company’s facilities

Dahua Technology is a globally renowned video-centric smart IoT solutions and services provider. Based on technological innovations, Dahua Technology offers end-to-end security solutions, systems, and services, in order to create value for city operations, corporate management, and consumers. Dahua Technology has designed a video surveillance and control solution for a popular Panamanian Food Company - Empresa Panamena de Alimentos (EPA). Dahua’s security solution Empresa Panamena de Alimentos is a renowned company in the processed food industry in Panama, Central America. It was founded in 2012 and owns production plants and warehouses in the capital city, as well as agencies around the country. EPA’s products, including all kinds of cookies, coffee, and pasta, are already important parts of consumers’ day-to-day life. With the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic risks, EPA needed a system to sustain efficient management and operation, over their staff and facilities. Implementing multiple access controls in the facilities As a food company, the operations of the company need to be under caution, especially during the pandemic As a food company, the operations of the company need to be under caution, especially during the pandemic. It was necessary to implement multiple access controls in the facilities. With multiple plants located around the nation and accelerated growth, a centralised monitoring system for all equipment, alert management and user reports was needed. The solution, applied at EPA’s facilities, integrates various electronic security systems under a single platform and was evaluated based on the company’s needs. ANPR, AI-based cameras and access control systems “Currently, 480 Dahua devices have been arranged. Among them are different models of cameras, access control systems, and automatic number plate recognition products. AI-based cameras enhance the level of personnel protection. Everything is monitored by a DSS Express server in the main plant,” said Luis Araujo, the Manager of Infrastructure and Telecommunications of the Secutec Panama. Every day, more than 800 employees enter EPA facilities nationwide, the access control system allows a faster and safer automated entry of the staff and their cars. Access controllers and Pro Network Video Recorders Besides, three Pro Network Video Recorders (NVR5864-4KS2) were also adopted Apart from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) devices, more than 20 access controllers (ASI7213X-T1) were installed in main offices for temperature monitoring and attendance management. Besides, three Pro Network Video Recorders (NVR5864-4KS2) were also adopted. With a powerful processor, they have the capability of 4K resolution processing and high definition recording quality. Perimeter protection and access control In Dahua Technology’s security solution, perimeter protection and access control are both realised. “We have had Dahua equipment for 7 years. It is a brand that has been of great help to our safety. It has contributed to continuous and steady operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Guillermo Figueroa, EPA’s Safety and Control Manager. Javier Rodríguez, Secutec Panama’s Operations Manager, valued the quality and technology of Dahua’s solution, which has been ‘key’ for the development of their projects, the support and accompaniment to the brands that are planned to be developed. Trust in Dahua Technology’s solution “We are very proud that our teams are here for EPA and that companies, like EPA and Secutec, trust Dahua Technology. We continue to innovate to offer solutions that help companies to work in a safer and smarter way,” said Fermín Osorio, an Engineer at Dahua Technology Ltd.

Everbridge Control Center deployed by G4S to accelerate Abu Dhabi Global Market Square’s physical security digital transformation
Everbridge Control Center deployed by G4S to accelerate Abu Dhabi Global Market Square’s physical security digital transformation

The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square (ADGMS), located on Al Maryah Island, in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, is a high-profile, architecturally compelling business and hospitality hub. Many of the most globally prestigious companies inhabit the buildings, in the award-winning financial centre. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square ADGMS also hosts frequent international dignitaries and large-scale public events, including the Abu Dhabi national New Year’s fireworks display. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square was the first project in the UAE, to achieve LEED Core and Shell (LEED-CS) Gold pre-certification, by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square (ADGMS) consists of: 450,000 sq. m of office space, a lavish retail section and luxury business hotel offerings, 4 Grade-A commercial office towers with 30 floors each, 4 km waterfront promenade, Over 2,000 cameras, and Over 1,000 doors. Unconnected security systems and situational awareness gaps Because of its iconic status, the Abu Dhabi Global Market Square faces many unique challenges to security, including: Political pressure - Because of ADGMS’s status and frequent high-profile international visitors, any disruption to operations - be it natural disaster, activism, terror or other critical events, could cause issues on a national scale. Protection for VIPs - Regular visits from prestigious VIPs, such as sheikhs, the royal family, and global business leaders, elevates security risks and the need for executive protection. Unobtrusive security - ADGMS is a public space with tenanted offices, meaning that security must be robust, but unobtrusive and follow all global data, and privacy regulations. Physical location - Being situated on an island is an extra security risk, complicating the ability to enter and exit the space, during planned and unplanned critical events or emergencies. Architecture - The buildings in ADGMS are mostly glass, with many levels, making it difficult to secure. Previously, a number of systems were deployed to help with security and life safety, such as CCTV, access control, fire detection, and building management. However, these were not connected and left gaps in situational awareness, which ADGMS found unacceptable. In light of the above challenges, ADGMS building managers felt it essential to harden security, across the market square, within these buildings and in connecting areas. Risk intelligence & integrated control of physical assets Martin Grigg, Principal Consultant and Project Lead for PTS Middle East was selected to design and oversee the project Abu Dhabi Global Market Square approached PTS Middle East (PTS Consulting Group Ltd.), a multi-national security and digital transformation consultancy, which carried out the threat, risk and vulnerability assessment, designed the mitigation measures, and provided oversight of the installation and commissioning of the entire system. They were also tasked with ensuring that the system met the operational requirements and was fit for purpose, and proportional to the risks, faced by ADGMS. Martin Grigg, Principal Consultant and Project Lead for PTS Middle East was selected to design and oversee the project, right from concept to completion. Everbridge Control Center deployed Following the assessment, G4S, a British multi-national risk consultancy company, headquartered in the United Kingdom, was selected to deliver the project, based on its experience in helping secure many of the region’s most prestigious locations. G4S is also a global partner with Everbridge, and together, they have secured people, assets and infrastructure for numerous organisations. G4S selected Everbridge Control Center to integrate and manage all the technology, which is coming into their Security Command Centre (SCC). Everbridge Risk Center was also deployed to provide real-time threat intelligence to ADGMS. Critical issues solved by Everbridge technology: Consolidation of four control rooms into one, reducing the office space needed for security - This premium space is now free and able to be re-purposed as rentable office space, Reduction of man guarding costs, as fewer resources are needed to secure the facility, Real-time situational awareness allows for reduced risk, accelerated response times and keeps stakeholders informed, Everbridge Control Center provides event driven, unified interface and automated SOP presentation, Everbridge technology provides flexibility to adapt, as requirements change, Reduction in time taken to identify a security incident and resolve it, Intelligence from the facial recognition systems is proactively used to welcome friends and identify known criminals, Risk intelligence to identify events, such as sandstorms, allows ADGMS to act faster, enabling them to reduce the risk to people and operations, and Automated reporting capabilities save huge amounts of time and resources - A report that took 20 minutes can now be automated in seconds.