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Is Facial Recognition A Good Choice For Access Control?

Access Control Systems can come with any number of choices for credentials, but it’s biometrics that have really taken off in the past few years. And while fingerprint scanners have been popular for some time, facial recognition is becoming a possibility for access control; it’s not just for phones anymore, and facial recognition has now grown to an almost $7 billion market.

But is facial recognition a good choice for securing your building through an access control system? Is it safe? Does it have any drawbacks? Keep reading to find out.


How Facial Recognition Works

Facial recognition uses a 2d or 3d scanner (or camera) to scan your image, and then uses advanced algorithms to map and detect the features that make your face unique. By recognizing all the various features of your face – say, the distance between your eyes and forehead, eyes, forehead and chin, and width of your eyebrows and lips, etc.

The recognition system then translates them into hundreds of data points, representing the unique geometry of your face. For practical purposes, this may be called a “faceprint.” This data can be either presented as an image or just as data numbers that can be quickly sorted and compared to other facial data sets.

This is, essentially, the same way that iris scanners and fingerprint scanners work, but uniquely programmed to work with facial recognition. To compensate for unusual camera angles or poor image quality, the facial recognition algorithm can actually detect these angles and make the adjustments necessary to the faceprint.

How is Facial Recognition Used? What Are The Benefits?

Facial recognition is used for a variety of security purposes. The most basic is now to unlock your smartphone, but it’s also used in many situations where analytics might be helpful, such as in retail or at airport checkpoints.

Perhaps the most effective application, however, is for access control. Fingerprint scanners are already popular and reliable choices for biometric credentials, for even tighter and more convenient security, but now many facilities have the option to use facial recognition.

Why? Because facial recognition is so easy; all employees or authorized personnel must do is stand in front of the scanner, and the system will do all the work – recognizing their unique faceprint and unlocking the assigned door, often within milliseconds. This takes much of the hassle out of already very easy-to-use door control systems; it’s almost like not even having some kind of security system in place, while being just as secure. They are comparable to fingerprint scanners in reliability and ease of use – not to mention easier when you’re wearing gloves.

Is facial recognition harder to hack and outsmart than fingerprint scanners? Not necessarily – but it’s not any less secure. Determined hackers will always come up with some way to outsmart a system if they really want to, but facial recognition provides one of the best, comprehensive, secure options for biometric access control systems.

What Are The Drawbacks?

The biggest concerns with facial recognition that most people have are privacy concerns; they don’t want an image of their face being stored somewhere. That’s why it’s important that companies using facial recognition only use it to store profiles for employees, who have access to secure facilities. It should also only be used in places that need quick, streamlined security efforts without sacrificing security.

Will Facial Recognition Replace Fingerprint Scanners Soon?

Likely not anytime soon, but if the AI deployed in these systems keep growing and improving, it could someday. At this point, facial scanners for access control are just not as popular as fingerprint scanners – but that’s likely to change as time goes on.

Up Next: Facial Recognition for Video Analytics, or something.

 

 

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