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Is face recognition ready to make its mark?

Is face recognition ready to make its mark?

This a guest post by Doug Aley, CEO of Ever AI.

Security is and should be top of mind with everyone.

The impact of a security breach can devastate both companies and consumers. The scope has become almost unimaginable. Last year’s Equifax security exposure potentially affected up to 143 million Americans. Just a couple of months ago, the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities were found to affect nearly every computer in use today.

For as hard as the industry has tried, consider all of the potential security exposures that still exist. Four-digit ATM pin codes. Patient identities verified by Social Security numbers. Lost or stolen physical corporate ID badges. Just the other day, in creating a security profile someone asked me for my mother’s maiden name.

Face recognition technologies are poised to re-write the rules of how transactions and identities are secured. But are we ready?

Previously, face recognition was considered the realm of science fiction, full of “Minority Report” privacy concerns. Apple’s iPhone X, with its face recognition authentication, has started to demystify many of these concerns. As more consumers adopt the technology across a broader range of devices, there’s an opportunity to rewrite a four-decade-old approach to transaction and identification security.

Leading companies are starting to use face recognition, stored privately, to verify identities and transactions, and this market is set to take off.

According to a report published by Allied Market Research, World Face Recognition Market – Opportunities and Forecasts, 2015 – 2022, the global face recognition market is expected to generate revenue of $9.6 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 21.3 percent.

A reason for this growth is an alternative to the friction involved in many of today’s security best practices for securing identities and transactions. Two-factor authentication for online activity requires users to input a password, and then wait for a multi-digit code to be sent by email or text. It’s a slow, clumsy process.

In person, it’s getting clumsier. Increasingly, to enter a venue for events including industry trade shows, concerts, and sporting events the ticket holder has to prove he or she purchased the ticket by showing a photo identification.

The value for face recognition is eliminating friction. A unique face can validate a user’s identity with a second factor being a specific mobile device being physically located on that person.

Compared to other forms of biometric security, including fingerprint and retinal scans, face recognition technologies can be implemented without significant overhead costs. In many instances, a user can upload a photo through a mobile app. In others, such at the point of sale in a retail environment, a customer can be photographed with an affordable USB camera connected to a point of sale terminal. These same cameras can be used to verify identity during additional interactions.

Many have concerns over using face recognition for security, which should not be minimized. However, precedents have been set by previous emerging technologies once considered to be risky. Purchasing coffee using a mobile app. Paying for items with a mobile phone at point of sale terminals. Rewards programs that deliver a higher level of service. Agreeing to background checks to avoid security lines at the airport.

Agreeing to participate in these services is optional, as should any use of face recognition technology. If it eliminates friction from a consumer’s life, they will most likely opt-in as have been already proven. If consumers feel any technology, including face recognition is risky, they won’t adopt it.

An additional consideration is transparency. Companies have to document how stored face recognition images will be used, who will have access to them, and for what purposes. Armed with this information consumers can weigh the value and benefits of opting in.

The value is wide-ranging, and we are only starting to imagine the use cases.

Today, using face recognition, ride-sharing services can be made safer for both drivers and passengers with face recognition verify identities of both before anyone gets into a car. Autonomous vehicles used for delivery can assure the cargo is delivered the intended recipient. Retailers can increase payment transaction security and personalize shopping experiences. Businesses can better secure access to office buildings, manufacturing plants, and research facilities.

Soon, if the right permissions are granted, physical tickets to events, and even for air travel, could become a thing of the past.

We are in the early days of using face recognition technologies. As more consumers are armed with devices that include face recognition capability, it will become more widely accepted by a broader audience. Opting-in, transparency in how images are stored, and reducing friction are important factors in creating additional opportunities to use face recognition technology.

About the author

Doug Aley has spent his career helping to found, lead, and scale startups. He is currently Ever AI’s CEO and a principal at Atomic Ventures. Mr. Aley holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

DISCLAIMER: BiometricUpdate.com blogs are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BiometricUpdate.com.

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