Facial recognition technology is a visual analytics tool that detects and authenticates human identities using the biometric data contained in the shape and features of their face. When employed in an access control system, the camera identifies human faces in its detection zone and compares them to its database. If the system matches the person’s face with a template saved in the database (and they have the correct permissions to enter the door), they are granted access.

The rising demand for facial recognition

Smart access is becoming increasingly popular in many industries1. Facial recognition is one of the fastest-growing and most controversial of the smart access technologies. By 2026, the global facial recognition market is forecasted to more than treble in value to USD $11.62 billion2. As with the growing trend for fingerprint or iris recognition, the security market is making clear steps towards a preference for biometric access credentials.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the backdrop for a sudden and sharp increase in demand for facial recognition specifically. Although the risk of contracting COVID-19 from touching surfaces is very small3, facial recognition is the only biometric option that offers a truly touchless solution.  Alternatives such as fingerprint recognition or iris scanners necessitate close contact and physical touch every time someone uses them. Many people are now living with significantly increased anxiety around cleanliness and shared surfaces4; facial recognition eliminates the need for physical contact entirely.

Advantages of facial recognition

Facial recognition is a robust validation method for access control, as unlike password or passcode entry, it is extremely difficult to clone or steal biometric data. Keys or pass cards can be borrowed or lost, with companies footing the replacement bill. With facial recognition solutions, these costs, and the risk of security breach through theft or loss, are eradicated, saving a significant amount of money5. Moreover, biometric data is consistent and does not need to be updated frequently, as passwords do to maintain security.

Facial recognition in action

Access control systems that utilise facial recognition are ideal for both commercial and residential settings, to increase security, safety, and protection. Facial recognition technology is quicker, more efficient, and more accurate than the human eye. It works in real-time which helps speed up the decision-making process for granting or denying access. Where it might take an employee five seconds to take out their access card, present it to the reader, wait for a response, and then open the door, facial recognition such as iface™ can match faces in less than one second. In high-traffic sites, such time savings accumulate to make a huge difference to overall site efficiency.

Moreover, facial recognition provides an effective solution for gyms, schools, universities, offices, and residential care homes, significantly lowering waiting times and creating a seamless user experience with minimal steps. No more fiddling in your pocket or bag for keys or cards or trying to remember keypad details. No need to report your lost card or reset your passcode. Facial recognition is the way forward for maximum security, accuracy, convenience, and speed.

Recognition, not surveillance

The controversy around facial recognition technology is generally focused on public facial recognition. These are the technologies used widely in some countries (especially China6) to surveil citizens in public areas. Access control systems, which usually operate on a private and limited network, generally utilise the other form of facial recognition: one-to-one matching. This is where faces are scanned one by one and then compared to a pre-defined database of users.

Why choose iface™?

The ievo iface™ captures faces with extreme accuracy, accounting for differences in head inclination, illumination, angle, face expression, and ageing, increasing ease of use and security. Its dual cameras – one for visible light and one for near-infrared detection, mean faces are picked up and identified even in low light conditions.

With high-speed facial matching (1 second in 1:N mode) powered by an octa-core processor, iface™ makes significant improvements in efficiency. iface™ can be installed on a wall, desktop, or turnstile, and works with a facial capture range of up to two metres. As a backup, iface comes with a built-in MIFARE® DESFire® card reader.

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