Is facial recognition ready yet?

Is facial recognition ready yet? Source: Shutterstock

Which businesses can use facial recognition right now?

GOVERNMENT organizations seem to have beaten commercial entities in adopting and deploying facial recognition in the real world.

Whether it is the UK, the US, or even China, government departments such as the police, the army, and even immigration & border control are using facial recognition — and with great success.

However, the question that some business leaders are asking is if the technology has commercial applications that can form part of the digital blueprint of certain businesses, or if its use is limited to public service.

To answer that questions, here are some exciting ways facial recognition technology can be used by modern businesses:

# 1 | To detect and prevent shoplifting

Shoplifting is a problem for most retail organizations, costing some of the larger chains anywhere between US$500,000 to US$2 million every year.

Facial recognition has a solution to that problem. The technology can identify if store visitors are convicted felons or have been identified as ‘shoplifters’ previously — based on video footage from the past.

Further, the technology is capable of analyzing changes in the facial reaction of people in the stores, drawing the attention of the security team if shoppers seem evasive or stressed. The team can then manually review the shopper’s actions before they even attempt to leave the store.

# 2 | To make sure drivers are attentive

Facial recognition doesn’t just match faces to photos. It can help businesses understand the emotions that a human is going through — by ‘reading’ their faces.

Are the eyes closing for longer than usual? Are the eyes not blinking enough?

These are some of the criteria that vehicles can use in order to detect the physical state of drivers and assess whether they’re fit to drive.

Further, the technology can check if drivers are looking away from the road too often (to check his mobile device or speak to someone in the backseat) and warn them of potential dangers and remind them of the damage an accident can cause — at existing speeds.

# 3 | To ensure patients take the right medications

Patients, especially those who are older, find it hard to remember to take their medications on time and often forget which medicine is to be taken when.

Further, those are the patients who often have their grandchildren around — which makes leaving medicines out in the open quite dangerous.

Hence, pharmacies and healthcare professionals are contemplating the use of a medicine box with facial recognition technology. Not only can it sound an alarm when a certain medicine needs to be taken but also use the technology to identify if the right patient is getting the medicine.

# 4 | To understand in-store customer behaviors

Aside from mapping and identifying shoplifters, facial recognition technology can help retailers better understand in-store customer behaviors.

Here’s how it works: Every customer, when they’re inside the store, is tagged by the machine — either with their real name (if available) or an identifier. Then, the customers’ movements throughout the store are captured as a set of quantitative data points — such as how long they spend in each aisle and the total value of their purchases from each section.

Subsequently, the retailer can analyze those numbers and then make decisions that ensure customers find what they’re looking for, pick high value items first, and so on, in order to maximize revenues for the retailer.