Facial recognition technology has come a long way since it first came to market several years ago. Initially plagued with technical challenges and widely viewed as a futuristic solution, facial recognition is now firmly implanted in numerous consumer and business products and applications.
New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications.
Facial recognition’s powerful identification and authentication capabilities make it ideal for two applications: first as a security tool, and second as a workforce management solution.
The touchless, accurate credential solution
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the touchless nature of facial recognition as an access credential was gaining traction with physical and cyber security professionals. Using an individual’s face as an access control credential eliminates the need for physical cards or PIN codes. Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs by offering a highly accurate touchless access control.
Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses
As a workforce management tool, facial recognition helps preserve the health of employees checking into work, while providing management with an infallible means of documenting employee time and attendance while providing a detailed history of overall workforce activity and individual personnel tracking. Both of which have been longstanding challenges due to easily compromised time tracking systems and practices. Now, nothing is left to question based on hard data.
Selecting the right solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management application is dependent on a very wide range of variables. But there are a few core characteristics that you should look for when evaluating facial recognition readers.
Wide and near-angle LEDs
Most facial recognition terminals employ some form of IR (Infrared) technology to help ensure high visibility by the unit’s image sensor. This often limits where the unit can be installed such as outdoors or near windows due to strong ambient light. More advanced facial recognition readers employ as many as 80 wide-angle near infrared LEDs and 60 narrow-angle near infrared LEDs, allowing the unit to recognise faces even in full daylight and brightly lit environments (not direct sun). This enables installation at indoor locations near windows, lobbies and building entries.
3D pixel intensity distribution analysis
Another advancement to look for involves three-dimensional pixel intensity analysis. Ambient lighting contains ultraviolet rays which can negate near infrared LED lighting, and can also cast shadows making it difficult for a facial recognition reader to pinpoint the facial recognition points required for identification and authentication. Three-dimensional pixel intensity distribution analysis minimises the effects of ambient light when acquiring facial images by minimising lighting contrasts. As a result, it is easier for the algorithm to recognise the shape of the face, enabling it to extract more facial features and create higher quality face templates.
The angle and position of a facial recognition reader directly impact the performance of the unit. Facial recognition readers with different viewing angles for built-in visual and infrared cameras allows users to stand at positions that are most suitable for facial recognition with little or no effort of contortions. This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience.
High performance processing
The performance of a facial recognition solution is directly reliant on its processing power. New advanced facial recognition readers employ enhanced face template extraction technology and powerful processors. A 1.4 GHz quad-core processor can perform up to 3,000 facial database matches (1:N) within one second. More advanced solutions also feature Group Matching functionality capable of executing up to 30,000 matches in one second.
Live face detection
It is most important that the facial recognition readers you evaluate are capable of analysing faces in real time to maintain fluid entry/egress even during high volumes of employee traffic. Hardware-dependent live face detection systems employing technologies such as facial thermogram recognition and facial vein recognition require expensive hardware components, provide less accurate matches and slower authentication performance, which is counterintuitive for mainstream access control and workforce management applications.
Dual authentication for added security
Although the use of an advanced facial recognition reader provides the convenience, health benefits and cost-savings of touchless identification and authentication, there are many applications where more than one credential may be necessary to ensure the highest levels of security. Advanced facial recognition readers with multimodal, multifactor credentialing capabilities provide this added security benefit.
Videophone or intercom capabilities
Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution. A perfect example includes devices with SIP (session initiation protocol) videophone capabilities which effectively eliminate the need and associated expense of installing separate intercom devices while adding another layer of security to one’s facility.
The COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic world have accelerated the need for highly accurate, cost-efficient, reliable facial recognition technologies. Selecting the right solution for your access control and/or workforce management is more important than ever before, making extra due diligence during the evaluation process a smart decision.