If you’re a fan of sci-fi thrillers, you surely know about facial recognition.  As early as 1985, we saw it used in the mid-80’s James Bond film, A View to a Kill, and in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 neo noir film, Minority Report, and in countless other movies.

From Sci-Fi to Reality

With great strides in technology, Facial Recognition has made a leap from science fiction to reality.  But what is it really and how does it work?

Facial recognition is a system used in identifying individuals by comparing a live capture or digital image data with the image on record for that person.  The system uses what are called nodal points (end points) in the face to measure variables such as the depth of the eye sockets, the width or length of the nose or the shape of the cheekbones.

The data on the nodal points are captured on the digital image of a person’s face. This data is stored as a faceprint.  This faceprint becomes the basis for comparison against data captured from faces in an image.

Face Recognition Identity Access Control

Practical Applications

Today, Facial Recognition is now used in a variety of applications from logging into user accounts using the built in camera of smartphones or tablets, to law enforcement in the identification of suspects, to commercial use to gather demographic data, and to use in places like casinos to identify VIP’s, for instance.

Tagging your friends on Facebook?  Yup, that uses facial recognition technology.

In the security and safety sector, facial recognition is used to control access to high security/high value areas.  When a person’s face is captured on camera, facial recognition software matches the image with what is on record.   A match (or a non-match) allows or denies access.

Further, development of commercial software applications combined with development of a wide range of high-resolution network cameras has made it possible and affordable to use facial  recognition even in non high security situations.

Facial recognition can be used as an alternative to other electronic access control systems that use other types of entry devices,  but with the added advantages listed below.

The Advantages of Using Facial Recognition in Access Control

Facial Recognition Biometric Scan Progress

Non Contact.  Unlike other biometric characteristics such as handprints or fingerprints, facial recognition is non contact, and therefore, more hygienic and easy to use.

Simplifies access control.  Users simply need to present themselves and if their image is recognized by the system, access is instantly granted.  No PIN’s to enter or smart cards to present.

Unique Credential.  Because your face is your access credential, it cannot be duplicated nor lost or stolen.

Flexible.  Like in other electronic access control systems where parameters can be set to control doors based on presented credentials, facial recognition capable systems can be programmed to limit access to certain time periods and/or for specific persons.

Audit Trails.  Unlike other electronic access systems where audit trails may only be just time stamped records of the coming and goings of people, facial recognition systems store images of all transactions.  This means that images of people who gained or in some cases, failed to gain access, are on file and recoverable, should the need arises.

Interface-able. It can be used to work with an existing access control system.

Technical Requirements

What are the components of access control systems using facial recognitions?

  • Computers and network. A more powerful computer other than the ones used for regular video surveillance systems and an IP network that enables integration with an IP-based access control system.  In addition, VMS, video management software, is needed, especially in larger installations.
  • High-Resolution Network Camera. Another critical component is high-resolution cameras with a minimum of 1080p to make operations more reliable and efficient.

Call Us Today

At Action 1st Loss Prevention, your safety and security is our top priority. We carry a wide range of access control systems, and will be sure we work with you to configure an access control system to meet your needs and budget.

Call us today for an appointment at 800-675-3015.  Our experts will be happy to discuss your security needs and provide a free onsite survey and estimate. Or, contact us online.

Tags: access control, building security, loss prevention, facial recognition, security audit trails, biometric access control systems