Facial recognition powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been getting a bad rap. And it’s mostly thanks to recent events in Hong Kong.
“Images of protestors hauling down and destroying pole-mounted facial recognition cameras appear to come straight out of George Orwell’s 1984,” says Laurence Seberini, co-founder of Camatica, a Johannesburg-based start-up specialising in facial recognition for business.
The anarchic images suggest hidden, AI-powered undercurrents in Hong Kong society, until one realises the facial recognition cameras were simply one of the tools that helped pre-protest Hong Kong function well by monitoring traffic, jaywalkers, and so on.
Camatica thinks its time to remind readers that, in the overwhelming majority of instances, camera-based facial recognition is used globally to improve quality of life.
Facial recognition is used at airports and malls to protect public spaces, it’s used at corporate office parks to ensure quicker, more seamless entry and it’s even used to ensure the democratic elections that deliver our accountable leaders run smoother.
Mr Seberini lists three of the best, ‘soft-touch’ uses of facial recognition technology:
Camera-based facial recognition is finding growing favour within corporate South Africa as a way to fairly and accurately manage employee attendance in the workplace. It can be can be used to reward stellar employee attendance and used responsibly by HR professionals, facial recognition can more rapidly pick up instances where intervention is needed to help employees overcome challenges that may be affecting attendance.
Facial recognition solutions specifically-designed for the queue-prone retail sector can analyse frustrating queues in retail environments like banks and grocery stores. The systems can notify store managers when queues have exceeded set thresholds and they can provide reports enabling managers to identifying stores with unacceptable queues.
Finally, ‘face-based’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) can help regular clients feel special when they interact with their favourite brands. VIP clients can be instantly greeted from a mobile app the moment they walk into a bricks and mortar store. With traffic to the latter declining, this is especially valuable for shops wanting to stay relevant.
“With the Camatica real-time facial recognition system, mobile app and web interface, the opportunities in facial recognition are endless,” concluded Mr Serebini.