What is facial recognition and what is it for?



Do you unlock your phone with your face? Do you enter your online banking with a selfie? If you don’t, you probably know someone who does. Without realizing it, facial recognition has become part of our routines.

If you are a curious person and want to know more (beginner level), keep reading, you can jump to the part that interests you the most in the index.

What is facial recognition?

Facial recognition is the technology capable of identifying specific people in videos or images from their faces.

Facial recognition systems are highlighted by …

  • Their data can be measured quantitatively and the patterns they extract tend to remain stable over time, which translates into a technology with a high level of accuracy
  • They compare the information they extract from a face with existing information in a database to find matches and “recognize” people
  • They are based on machine learning technologies, which feed on data sets to continue “learning” and offer increasingly precise results when it comes to recognizing people

???? By the way, technology has recognized human faces for over 60 years. Here you can read more about the history of facial recognition.

Face detection vs. facial recognition

At first glance, “face detection” may look the same as “facial recognition”. In fact, they are commonly used synonymously.

But they are not the same.

Face detection is the technology that makes it possible to identify the presence of people’s faces in digital material. That is, it distinguishes if there is a human face in an image or in a video.

For its part, facial recognition is more specific. It corresponds to a biometric technology and focuses on recognizing the individual (distinguishing him/her from another individual focusing on facial differences).

Facial recognition answers the question: whose face is it?

In addition, as we will see in the next section, it is a “longer” process than face detection, since facial recognition captures the individual’s face and compares it with information and images registered in a database. data.

What does facial recognition identify? How does it work?

Humans distinguish people’s faces by the color of their hair, the size of their eyes, the shape of their nose, etc. Facial recognition works in a similar way, it identifies the unique facial features of each person (better than us, everything has to be said).

Using biometrics , facial recognition systems detect the measurements of the face of individuals, the specific features of each person. These systems take into account the distance between the eyes, the size of the head, the shape of the face, etc. Where we see a round nose or large eyes, these systems see data.

As you may be imagining, this technology works through unique mathematical patterns, which are fed with as much information as possible that they extract from the unique traits of each person.

In addition, thanks to artificial intelligence, these systems are capable of offering the highest quality in terms of security and reliability, as they continue to improve thanks to progressive learning algorithms.

Like us, to recognize a person and “detect those unique measurements and characteristics”, facial recognition algorithms need to “have seen them” before.

That is why to “recognize a person”, facial recognition systems compare the facial features of a face -in an image or a video- with face features stored in a database. The system recognizes an individual when it finds a data match .

Broadly speaking, most facial recognition technologies work as follows:

  1. First, the faces of the people to be identified are captured in images or videos
  2. Next, the system extracts the facial characteristics of the people in question; the software reads the geometry of people’s faces
  3. Thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the technology establishes facial biometric patterns that result in unique facial prints (that is, mathematical formulas for the system)
  4. Once the system has the facial prints of the users, it is already capable of “recognizing” and identifying people by comparing external information with the known facial prints (previously registered)
  5. During this comparison, the system establishes a percentage of similarity between the facial prints it has and the new information; and make the decision, that is, recognize a person or not

What is facial recognition for?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have perfected facial recognition systems to adapt them to all types of industry and activity.

Although many of its uses are still being discovered, it is a technology that is increasingly present in our daily lives.

Surely you are familiar with its use in:

Access controls

Without a doubt, one of the most important and widespread utilities. In access controls to companies, training rooms, laboratories, etc., facial recognition guarantees that entry to the facilities is safe and fast; and that only authorized persons enter.

Video surveillance

Facial recognition allows identifying individuals with great reliability and automatically, hence its use is very widespread in some countries as a measure for detecting criminals (with the help of criminals databases).

Follow-up and assistance

It also serves to monitor class attendance, medical consultations, training sessions, etc. Say goodbye to attendance sheets!

Unlocking devices and vehicles

Both Apple and Android devices have the option to unlock the phone with the face. Definitely, it is a much more agile, comfortable and secure process to protect our information.

On the other hand, more and more mobility companies are relying on facial recognition to replace keys, to adapt the preferences of who drives, recognize and alert drivers if they are deviating or not focusing on the road, etc.

Access to mobile applications and online services ne

Without the need to enter a password, facial recognition is a very easy way to access platforms in which you are previously registered (login), accept payments, etc.

Check-in at hotels, airports …

The automation of tasks such as check-in, billing, reservation of facilities, etc. they are also enhanced at the security level thanks to biometric technology.

Payment method

Some stores, both physical and online, already opt for more secure transactions thanks to facial recognition.

What are the advantages of facial recognition systems?

We are talking about a state-of-the-art technology, but with a long journey (at Alice we have been researching and developing them for more than 10 years!).

Shall we review some of its advantages?

It increases security

It is a precise and unreplicable means of identification. If facial recognition is characterized by something, it is because it is based on unique characteristics, each person’s face is inimitable, hence the precision of this technology compared to other security systems.

It offers convenience and accessibility

It is a comfortable, fast and simple system for the user. Unlike other types of identification systems, facial recognition does not require any action from the user, they only have to place their face in front of the device .

It offers benefits that directly facilitate people’s daily routines, since it allows the possibility of carrying out procedures remotely (the identity of users can be verified without the need for them to be physically present).

In addition, does not require any type of learning or adaptation period on the part of your clients. Which increases its efficiency and accessibility to a great extent.

It reduces cyber fraud

Using this technology as a substitute for passwords reduces the risk of identity theft. And, in general, it serves to deter cybercriminals, who prefer not to compromise their identity.

It is contactless

No need for physical contact, for what it is more hygienic . A must in these times!

It is very versatile

Above all, it is a very flexible technology, which can be combined with other technologies.

Most facial recognition solutions are compatible with most security programs. In fact, it integrates easily. This limits the amount of additional investment required to implement it.

Round of quick questions

Is facial recognition bad?

This question is repeated a lot in Google.

Like all technologies, facial recognition is a tool that is developed to improve the lives of humans . Its initial objective is to facilitate daily activities.

Technology is neither good nor bad, it depends on the use made of it and that concerns us humans.

What are the disadvantages of facial recognition?

These technologies are still under development, they are relatively recent technologies. Therefore, its main disadvantage is that the legislation is not fully adapted and that those who have had identity theft problems, for example, are somewhat helpless.

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