Hotels near Delhi airport ordered by police to install facial recognition software

November 20, 2014 - 

Hotels located near India’s Delhi airport have been instructed by local police to install facial recognition software as part of its initiative to increase security measures, according to a report by The Economic Times.

The facial recognition technology has already led to significant delays and expensive costs for hoteliers at Aerocity.

Lemon Tree Hotels, a mid-market hotel operator, has already installed NEC’s facial recognition software in its Aerocity property.

“We have put in place NEC Face Recognition Solution,” said Rahul Pandit, president and executive director at Lemon Tree Hotels. “With this security agencies will be giving us a black-list and we will also be creating a ‘white-list’ whereby which we will be able to recognise our regular guests. Our guests will be happy with this as they will be entering a more secure place.”

Despite the positive feedback, many other hoteliers and industry consultants believe that recognition software is an unnecessary expense. The software and additional cameras needed to capture visitors’ facial features cost a few crores of rupees (several hundred thousand U.S. dollars) to install and maintain.

Additionally, some experts also warned about undesirable experiences for hotel guests, including the facial recognition database falsely identifying a legitimate customer for a blacklisted individual.

Vijay Thacker, president at hospitality consultancy Horwath HTL, said the new mandatory security measures at hotels in Aerocity “may be going too far as per mandates”.

Situated on 43 acres of land, the Delhi Aerocity project was considered a security risk because of its close proximity to the airport runway.

The project was initially supposed to be launched around the Commonwealth Games 2010, but a series of delays in obtaining clearances from government and concerns from security agencies have prevented it from being completed in time.

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Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.