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What: It's all about speed and accuracy

Say Cheese – 3 Types of Businesses That Will Smile for Facial Recognition

Just waaalk right through!

Katy Perry smile braces
Published:   |   Updated:   |   Posted in ,

The way we enjoy goods and services are rapidly evolving alongside the technological innovations incorporated by businesses, be it for cost and operational efficiency, or simply to enhance the consumer experience. On this front, businesses are increasingly looking to experiment with facial recognition technology to achieve these goals.

Here are 3 types of businesses that can benefit from the deployment of facial recognition and reap the efficiencies that can be passed on to customers through improved quality of services delivered.

For the Hoteliers: Checking yourself (in and) out with a smile

… guests can simply upload a picture of their passport and selfie to the hotel’s mobile app ahead of time and proceed to scan their face for a secure and seamless self-check-in upon arrival at the hotel.

Guest satisfaction drops by 50% with a five-minute wait at check-in. Understandably, a long wait at concierge is not something guests would want to be caught in after a tiring flight. With facial recognition technology, guests can simply upload a picture of their passport and selfie to the hotel’s mobile app ahead of time and proceed to scan their face for a secure and seamless self-check-in upon arrival at the hotel. This frees up employees’ time (that would otherwise be expended on administrative servicing) that can be invested in forging lasting guest relations, which is incredibly important in the hospitality industry.

Facial recognition can also reduce logistical pain points for the hotel and guests. For example, a simple face scan can grant guests floor or facility access, removing the need for scanning physical access card. Without the need to keep an inventory and tracker of access cards, operators can save up to US$1,000 per month in discarded RFID key cards.

For the Financial Service Providers: Banking on greater security to financial services

The use of facial recognition can strengthen this process by verifying who the user is, instead of what they know or what they possess.

With the resurgence of phishing scams targeting bank account holders early this year, it is no wonder the Singapore government is implementing stiffer penalties and stringent compliance requirements, placing greater responsibility on providers to secure and verify the legitimacy of user identity and transaction.

While existing two-factor authentication keys help to improve the security and legitimacy of user identity, such proof of authentication can be easily compromised if the user misplaces their key (i.e. a mobile phone or other paired devices) or leaks their password. In fact, 80% of consumers perceived biometrics to be more secure than the traditional username and password combination. The use of facial recognition can strengthen this process by verifying who the user is, instead of what they know (i.e. password) or what they possess (i.e. paired device or token). This prevents bad actors from being able to circumvent the security checks since the biometric data cannot be replicated. Financial service providers will be able to assure the security of every transaction while remaining compliant with the new legislations.

Just last year, Gemalto partnered with Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), a financial solutions provider in Japan, to make mobile banking transactions easier to use by leveraging Gemalto’s facial biometric authentication solution to secure access to its mobile banking apps.

For Airline and Airport Operators: Boarding your next flight with a smile

The use of facial recognition to automate the passenger verification process ensures a seamless, less intrusive and faster experience compared to the one provided when relying on fingerprint scans.

The rising number of passengers travelling continues to outstrip growth in airport capacity. Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region carried the largest number of travelling passengers in 2017 (1.5 billion passengers, up 10.6% over 2016), legitimising the need to speed up the flow of passengers through airports and reduce the risk of cross-border identity fraud.

Facial recognition systems can help airline operators spot lookalike and document fraud that untrained airline personnel would find challenging to verify. During authentication, the facial identification system will capture the person’s face and determine their identity by examining a biometric pattern, calculated from their biometric features and comparing them to a set of templates in the database. The system can also automatically identify passengers who are exiting with a different ID document from the one they used at entry, or when someone is exiting after expiration of their visa, clamping down on all false or invalid access.

Beyond security, facial recognition deployment also helps airlines overcome capacity constraints. In 15 years’ time, airlines will face the tall challenge of having the capacity to service twice as many passengers. The use of facial recognition to automate the passenger verification process ensures a seamless, less intrusive and faster experience compared to the one provided when relying on fingerprint scans. A simple face scan can correctly identify passengers with 99.4% accuracy in under five seconds. Say goodbye to snaking queues at the boarding gate and scoot right to your seat.

What is next?

Let’s be clear: Facial recognition isn’t ready for “lights out” scenarios just yet. The technology can only be as advanced as the datasets that are constantly fed into the programme to enrich its knowledge. And of course, data scientists are still formulating algorithms comprehensive enough to eliminate all inherent biases in datasets. The goal is not to replace human agents but to provide businesses with the tools to enhance the quality and efficiency of services they provide. With the use of facial recognition technology eliminating labour-intensive bottlenecks and augmenting the security and accuracy of verification processes, the question is not why, but how to integrate facial recognition to benefit your business.

Featured image is a screengrab of Katy Perry’s music video, Last Friday Night.


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With close to two decades of experience in this industry, I’ve undertaken strategic roles as the Global Head of Marketing and Product Management for the Mobile Financial Services and pioneered the development of new offers and innovations for cross-industry solutions.
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