The Opel Zoo in Kronberg/Germany, originally known as the “Georg von Opel Outdoor Enclosure for Animal Studies,” provides expansive compounds and enclosures for around 1,500 animals spread across 27 hectares. There are more than 200 species being kept at the zoo, and many of them are endangered. Located on the southern slopes of the Taunus mountain range and offering fantastic views of the Kronberg old town and the Rhine-Main region behind it, the Opel Zoo is one of the most popular leisure and culture destinations in the state of Hesse, attracting around 650,000 visitors per year. One of the zoo’s main draws is its generous new enclosure for African elephants – the only one of its kind in Hesse.

The new elephant enclosure

The new elephant enclosure, which was completed in the fall of 2013, is the zoo’s most ambitious construction project to date. The new elephant house provides its residents with large individual pens. In addition, an indoor run of more than 800 square meters gives the smaller elephants plenty of space to get out of the way of the more dominant ones. Combined with the three outside sections that have a total area of 8,000 square meters, this gives the four residing elephants ample opportunity to both converge and avoid each other when so desired.

Better vantage for critical areas

“During the planning of the enclosure, we focused on both the welfare of the elephants and on the safety of the premises,” explains Dr. Thomas Kauffels, the director of Opel Zoo. “It’s very important to know at any given time where each animal is located, which gates are open and which need to be closed.” The initial plan made during construction was to install a set of pan/tilt cameras in the elephant enclosure. When it came to the implementation of these, however, the camera concept turned out to have several flaws, and Opel Zoo contracted Encom Consulting from Saarwellingen to remedy the situation.

"During the planning of the enclosure, we focused on both the welfare of the elephants and on the safety of the premises"

Encom Consulting had already worked for the zoo for several years, among others for the installation of multipath transmission systems. A specialist for security solutions and risk management, the company had also installed the zoo’s first high-resolution webcams, which among others monitored and documented the construction of the elephant enclosure. The webcam feeds could also be viewed online on the zoo’s website. When assessing the original camera concept, Encom realised that the planned pan/tilt cameras would not be able to fulfil many of the requirements.

Cost was another important factor. The pan/tilt cameras would have required a large number of expensive optical fibre cables. Optical fibre was particularly needed in the high voltage area to avoid interference. The original concept also entailed a much larger number of cameras in order to cover all the required areas; the new concept required significantly fewer units. For cables in the proximity of high voltage systems, Encom developed a pulse interference elimination process that made it possible to do without optical fibre. Due to the differences in cost and also in quality of security provision, the management at Opel Zoo decided to abandon their original camera concept and instead contracted Encom to implement the network and install the MOBOTIX cameras they had recommended. With these, the hardware costs alone were decreased by almost 30 percent – not counting the significant follow-up cost reductions, among others resulting from lower power consumption and the MOBOTIX solution’s much lower maintenance requirements.

MOBOTIX’s FlexMount cameras

For example, the semi-circular elephant corridor only needed three of MOBOTIX’s FlexMount cameras. The FlexMount is a very versatile model featuring two hemispheric lens units, each of which is connected to the camera processor via a one to two-meter cable. With its twin sensor modules, the camera can look ‘around the corner’; this enables it to monitor a fully hemispheric area. The camera processor outputs two undistorted, high-resolution 180-degree panoramic video feeds.

The current resolution is 3.1 megapixels, which is set to be increased to 6 megapixels in the future. With the installed cameras, the entire elephant corridor can be monitored seamlessly. All it takes is three cameras to simultaneously show all twelve viewing angles on-screen. Each of the cameras features one day and one night sensor covering the same physical area. The cameras automatically select the best camera module to suit the light level, and similarly, the software automatically uses the most suitable exposure settings.

MOBOTIX day/night cameras used at Opel Zoo
The semi-circular elephant corridor only needed three of MOBOTIX’s FlexMount cameras

All of the cameras feature highly specialised video sensors for both day and night mode. In the rare event that panning and zooming is needed, this is performed electronically within the video feed. Thanks to the high megapixel resolution, this is usually possible without requiring any degrading interpolation. The zookeepers are thus provided with detail views and other image sections without any mechanical movement of the lens, i.e., the sensor, and therefore without any wear and tear. Because there are no movements, there is no need for a motor, which means there is no risk of mechanical failure and no need for costly maintenance. Before entering the elephant corridor, the keepers can always tell if there are any elephants inside the connecting corridor. This information is provided via a laterally-mounted, fully dustproof MxDisplay.

The same applies for the elephant house’s indoor run. Here, a number of FlexMount and AllroundDual cameras are installed as well. These provide the zoo with a full view of the indoor run right up to the visitor platform, all on the same screen.

Mobotix AllroundDual cameras

As well as the high-up AllroundDual cameras, the outside area also features a number of FlexMount cameras. Thanks to their very small image sensors and up to two meters of distance to connect to the separately-housed camera processor, these could be positioned very discreetly. This is of crucial importance in an elephant enclosure. With other systems, the cameras would have to be installed well outside of the elephant trunks’ reach, which usually means a height of at least six meters.

“Elephants are very inquisitive, and they like to inspect things thoroughly. An elephant’s trunk can weigh up to 200 kilograms, which means the cameras need to be installed in a way that they won’t be damaged by a strong slap,” says Jasper Jasperson. “With this system, the video image sensors were integrated very inconspicuously into our molded rock surfaces. We can now record footage at a comparatively low elevation of just three meters above the ground. For the first time, we can view the elephants ‘eye to eye.’ At the same time, being closer to the ground gives us a more faithful perspective on objects in the distance.”

In designing the cable layout, Encom also paid attention to the zoo’s special requirements, with top priority given to failsafe operation

Priority to failsafe operation

In designing the cable layout, Encom also paid attention to the zoo’s special requirements, with top priority given to failsafe operation. Because of this, the number of active devices in the field was reduced to the barest minimum. Optical fibre is only used where absolutely necessary, i.e., where extreme distances need to be covered; this isn’t only for cost reasons but also to keep down maintenance.

Ultimately, only two optical fibre cables were needed, both of which are used outside to connect to the watering spots 400 and 500 meters away. All of the other camera locations are connected using direct wide-range copper cables. These cables also supply the MOBOTIX cameras with power (three to five watts). According to the specifications of the originally proposed system, each camera was going to consume 55 watts – that’s more than ten times the amount of power. Even when there is a power failure, the MOBOTIX cameras continue to be supplied from a UPS, ensuring the security feed is never interrupted.

A single 360-degree camera provides a fixed view of the entire outside area of the elephant compound, offering a panorama over 5,500 square meters. This main view is supplemented by further 90-degree cameras for a separate lower section. This way, the keepers can always see where each animal is currently located. As well as for safety and security, Opel Zoo also uses its cameras to research animal behaviour.

In order to minimise intrusive external factors while still providing around-the-clock visual data of the animals, Encom Consulting again recommended the use of hemispheric MOBOTIX cameras. These make it possible to see exactly how the elephants traverse the compound, which routes they take and when they interact. With its special lens, the FlexMount camera provides a full view of almost the entire area, recording uninterrupted footage over many months. Thanks to the hemispheric system, this is possible using just a single camera – with the originally planned pan/tilt cameras, six to eight individual cameras plus ongoing manual repositioning would have been necessary.

For each camera not installed, Opel Zoo is saving four-digit amounts in acquisition, cable, and maintenance costs; this adds up to a substantial difference. Having fewer cameras also means there are less feeds to take up screen space, and resultantly, the remaining camera feeds can be displayed at a much bigger size. In a similar vein, the FlexMount also offers another important advantage: With a multi-camera system, the animals constantly move from one viewing area to the next, whereas with a single hemispheric panorama camera, they remain within the one 360-degree view. They never disappear from the video feed, nor do they double up in overlapping viewing areas. And when the sun is low, all the animals remain fully visible despite the strong backlight. This is only possible because the MOBOTIX camera – in contrast to other designs – does not use an iris.

MOBOTIX cameras in use at Opel Zoo, Germany
The widescreen panoramic image provides roughly twice the resolution of a standard video image

The patented MOBOTIX high-tech image processing algorithms inside the camera calculate and correct the complex pixel array, eliminating the need for an iris and its inherent susceptibility to backlight.

The widescreen panoramic image has the same number of lines as a standard video image but provides roughly twice the resolution. The camera-integrated motion analysis software makes it possible to trigger recording in response to predefined events – such as an elephant entering or exiting an area. This greatly speeds up research later on, saving the zoo both employee time and data storage space.

“The free-of-charge MOBOTIX software is so easy to use that our team could start analysing the images almost immediately, producing valuable findings for our daily interactions with the animals, as well as supplying great image material for documenting the animals,” says Uwe Böhme, administration manager at Opel Zoo.

Researching the behaviour of the Rothschild Giraffes

Another set of cameras is installed in the zoo’s enclosure of Rothschild giraffes. In this instance, the focus is less on security and safety than on research, such as the projects being conducted by the Opel Zoo-sponsored Chair in Zoology at Frankfurt’s Goethe University. Endowed Professor Paul Dierkes and his team are making excellent use of modern image-gathering methods in their research, which is focused on the animals’ wellbeing and relies on unobtrusive research equipment.

In this enclosure, six FlexMount S15 and AllroundDual M15 cameras are in use. Both of these models have a resolution of five megapixels. Thanks to the sensors used in these cameras, the zoo’s research team can benefit from outstanding light sensitivity. Additionally, the sensor technology offers a frame rate of up to 30 frames per second, as well as extreme zooming. Not only does this produce sharper images, it also allows for the cameras to be positioned further away from the areas to be monitored. Accordingly, it was possible to install the cameras well out of the giraffes’ sight. The M15 is a day-and-night camera; depending on the configuration, both day and night recordings can be made simultaneously, which is particularly valuable in poor lighting conditions or in complete darkness. Encom is also testing specially-designed animal camouflage housings with optical shutters – despite fully blending in, they still output a high-quality colour image. This is making it possible to capture footage that was previously either impossible to get or would have required a lot more effort.

Thanks to the sensors used in these cameras, the zoo’s research team can benefit from outstanding light sensitivity

Mobotix cameras with thermal sensors

For testing purposes, the newly-developed MOBOTIX cameras with thermal sensors are being deployed in both the elephant and giraffe enclosures. With the thermal sensors, the animals’ body heat can be traced visually. The cameras can therefore detect movements from distances of up to 400 meters very precisely, even under challenging lighting and weather conditions. The future of thermographic cameras in animal research looks very promising. For example, they can be used to display images of animals living in caves or nesting without intruding on them at all. There are also interesting possibilities in the area of preventive veterinarian diagnoses.

Cost effective with enhanced safety

As well as the animal enclosures, the zoo shop and ticketing area are also being secured using MOBOTIX cameras. “We’re very happy with our camera systems, particularly with how Encom managed to adapt the complex camera programming to our needs. The same applies to the excellent MOBOTIX cameras, which are wonderfully sturdy,” says Uwe Böhme. As well as the increased safety and security provided by the new camera concept, the zoo also benefits from having significantly fewer power cables than originally planned for, and power consumption has been reduced to a mere tenth.

Similarly, the risk of cameras failing has also been reduced by a factor of ten. “Compared to our original pan/tilt camera concept, we’ve now got a better set of features and still managed to save around 30 percent on hardware and software,” says Böhme. “That doesn’t even include follow-up costs, such as the maintenance that would have been needed over the years; with the MOBOTIX cameras, this isn’t needed at all. We’ve already started planning for further camera systems around the zoo.” One of the next projects is to test further motion analyses for the colour-based display of animal routes through their compounds.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places
Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places

With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed.  Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realise they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimising the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory  We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximise the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.

Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy
Why cloud-enabled physical security must be part of your long-term digital strategy

COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown saw an unprecedented demand for cloud-enabled technologies across Europe. Such services enabled people to stay connected and allowed some businesses to relocate personnel and continue to operate successfully. With enterprise-focused video conferencing mobile app downloads showing a weekly 90% increase in comparison to pre-COVID-19 figures, it’s clear that cloud services have proven invaluable in these challenging times. Now, as the benefits to business of cloud technology become apparent, and the grip of COVID-19 begins to loosen, senior decision makers must consider the learnings from the past few months and look to apply them to boost productivity, streamline costs or become more agile in the long term. Digital transformation presents some enticing advantages for those companies that have been slow to adapt. The physical security industry, traditionally video surveillance cameras (CCTV) and access control, will have witnessed how cloud infrastructure is not only cost effective and safe, but is a force multiplier for connecting platforms, services and people with potent business benefits. The future is VSaaS and ACaaS In today’s modern, connected world, dated technologies are giving way to their cloud-enabled successors, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS). In this context, cameras and readers are added to a network as IoT devices that bring security systems up to date and represent a vital component in any modern, cyber-secure digital strategy. Frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings But better security is just one benefit of a much greater system that can bring real value. Built in analytics, for example, that utilise the data from network video cameras and smart access control devices, produce valuable business insights that help to inform and automate decision making. In the recent pandemic, frictionless access control has meant touch free access to buildings; while occupancy tools have helped retailers adhere to strict government guidelines on social distancing. And as more security equipment becomes connected to the wider IT network, the advantages have not been lost on the IT industry that is expressing more than a passing interest in the adoption and management of such systems. Morphean recently conducted a survey of 1000 IT decision makers across the UK and Europe, with the purpose of providing clarity around their security purchasing intent in the 2020s. Findings revealed that as many as 84% of IT managers are currently using or considering VSaaS or ACaaS systems, pointing to an appreciation of the convergence of physical security and IT security, and a willingness to embrace systems when integrated with IT in the cloud. An adaptable business model with recurring revenues Of course, it is not just the IT industry that is changing mindsets towards hosted physical security. As a result of COVID-19, end customers are demanding it too and found it easier to scale at speed when business circumstances changed. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, a hosted solution offered greater dexterity as operational challenges around the pandemic arose. Businesses were able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing need without the need for large upfront capital investment, instead, paying for the convenience as-a-service out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. This is the proven business model of cloud, yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. VSaaS is still alien to installers and integrators used to selling hardware on narrow margins, reliant on existing financial arrangements with distributors to fund new equipment. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities. This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis. Instead, convenient and recurring monthly payments will have put the installer on a firmer footing and guaranteed ongoing vendor support backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades to ensure delivery of a high quality service that’s always up to date and online. What is driving your digital strategy? VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. CEOs and CIOs within the physical security reseller industry must learn the lessons and apply the learnings to drive their businesses forward in the ‘new normal’ where hosted security solutions must surely play a major part to expand their offering to a wiser customer base. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions represent an investment into improving security and operations, and a chance to forge new business relationships to face the challenges of an ever changing world.

Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world
Facial recognition: Contactless solutions for a safe, post-pandemic world

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. From a purely business perspective, facial recognition’s powerful identification and authentication capabilities make it ideal for two primary applications: first as a security tool, and second as a workforce management solution. The touchless, accurate credential solution Facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses 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. By using an individual’s face as an access control credential, facial recognition eliminates the need and expense of physical cards and proximity devices, or the need to physically enter PIN codes. In addition, facial recognition readers meet the new emerging need to limit physical exposure to germs and viruses by offering a highly accurate touchless access control credentialing solution. 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. With the growing popularity of facial recognition technology, there are many choices already available with more undoubtedly on the way. 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 facial recognition reader 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, which are critical for accurate facial recognition. Functional ergonomics This results in a faster, more comfortable, and convenient user experience 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 Like any intelligent edge device, the performance of a facial recognition solution is directly reliant on its processing power. New advanced facial recognition readers deliver exceptional performance by employing enhanced face template extraction technology combined with powerful processor. For example, a facial recognition reader with 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 within 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. For example, facial recognition readers that support multiple RFID proximity devices supporting 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz provide varying degrees of protection and greater implementation versatility. Videophone or intercom capabilities Facial recognition readers with multifunctionality can solve several challenges with one solution 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 hopefully soon to follow post-pandemic world, have surely accelerated the need for highly accurate, cost-efficient, and reliable facial recognition technologies to help get people back to work safely. Selecting the right facial recognition solution for your specific access control and/or workforce management is now more important than ever before, making a little extra due diligence during the evaluation process a smart decision.