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When Your Face is Your Key

Dec. 10, 2019
Is manufacturing ready to embrace facial recognition technology?

Whenever the topic of facial recognition surfaces, it tends to garner immediate reactions. For instance, according to the Center for Data Innovation, one in four Americans think that the government should strictly limit the use of facial recognition technology. Of course, the majority of respondents are in favor of its use if it means safer environments.

According to NIST data, there have been rapid improvements in the accuracy of facial recognition technology including the infusion of deep learning capabilities. These advances are opening the door to an array of use cases. For instance, airlines are using facial recognition technology to expedite boarding and the hospitality industry relies on the technology to improve customer service. As the facial recognition continues to mature, its adoption is sure to compound.

What about manufacturing?

There are a couple of opportunities for facial recognition in manufacturing with the biggest one being security, explains Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Vice President Daniel Castro. “Facial recognition is useful for access control. For low-risk applications, it can be a replacement to traditional forms of access control, such as access codes or key cards. Using facial recognition instead may be faster and more convenient—no more lost access cards,” he says. “For others high-risk applications, it can be used as additional layer of security, such as by using it in conjunction with access cards. For example, facial recognition can help prevent tailgating—where an unauthorized person follows an employee through an open door—or employees sharing keys or access codes.”

Castro tells IndustryWeek he also foresees manufacturers embracing facial recognition for safety purposes. For example, a business may want to identify everyone who is on the factory floor. “They may combine this with other information to provide useful real-time intelligence and alerting, such as to ensure that only those with proper training have access to sensitive equipment or that employees who have been terminated do not unexpectedly return,” he says. “Finally, some businesses may use facial recognition to make it easier for employees to clock in and out of work.” 

This added layer of security may prove useful as organizations contiunue to move forward into data driven environments where leadership has personal responsibility to protect access to information.

Interested in integrating facial recognition into your operations? The good news is that facial recognition is fairly easy to deploy. The keys to success include stable network connectivity, cameras and lighting. “As with many technologies, there needs to be good buy-in from the users,” Castro says. “Facial recognition is less intrusive than other types of biometrics (e.g. a fingerprint or iris scan) and can be processed quickly, which makes users generally receptive to it. Plus, many are also familiar with it since it is integrated into consumer devices like cell phones.”

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