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Facial recognition payment trials launch in Korea and Finland

Facial recognition payment trials launch in Korea and Finland

Korean convenience store chain GS25 has opened a location using facial recognition instead of cashiers to process purchases, Korea JoongAng Daily reports.

The automated store is located inside the Gangseo District headquarters of LG CNS, which provides electronic systems to GS25. The store is only open to LG CNS staff, and a representative of GS25 said that the Smart GS25 implementations it is planning do not include autonomous stores open to the public. The spokesperson said that the company plans to introduce and test the smart retail technology at 13 locations by the end of this year, as part of its effort to reduce labour costs for franchisees.

“The Smart GS25 is not just an unmanned convenience store packed with tech gadgets,” said Lee Hyun-gyu, a manager of the new shop. “Its main function is to prove technologies that will enhance the convenience of store operation and relieve franchisees of the burden of labor costs. We expect some of the technologies tested here will be shown at our franchises by next year.”

The GS25 smart system includes eight new technologies, according to the report, including facial recognition for customers entering the store and paying, and image recognition to identify the items they select.

While convenience store chains CU, 7-Eleven, and Emart24 have all at least begun testing automation technologies, some of the new features are a first in Korea, the Daily says. GS25 says using image recognition and item weight to identify items for purchase allows it to recognize about 5 items in a second, while a bar-code system would take closer to 15 seconds to scan items one at a time. Stock is monitored by infrared cameras and sensors, while a CCTV system monitors customer movements to help retailers arrange the layout of products.

Staff restaurant launches biometric payment

Finnish financial services company OP has announced that the staff restaurant at its offices in Vallila, Helsinki, will trial facial recognition payment. The company says facial recognition payment is expected to be the next major global trend in payments.

“Facial recognition payments aren’t really being used in Finland or even in the Western world, but at OP we believe in its ease of use and reliability. We are conducting the trial to better understand how the technology could be applied going forward,” says Harri Nummela, OP Executive Vice President, Banking, Private and SME customers.

Initial employee feedback has been positive, Nummela says, due to the convenience of the payment method. The success of the technology in international pilots and its potential for other applications make facial recognition attractive to OP.

“For example in China, the technology is used to identify customer loyalty benefits and in access control. We can also see broader opportunities for application,” says Kristian Luoma, Head of OP Lab. “As the technology is new, it is important to collect feedback on any fears and apprehensions users may have. Based on what we learn, we will then be able to take the right next steps in development.”

The pilot is taking place at the OP office’s Antell restaurant in collaboration with Visa, according to the announcement.

“Biometric verification plays a highly important role in Visa’s innovation development, and facial recognition is one of its most promising technologies. We are enthusiastic about this opportunity that enables us to gain experience for the development of the technology,” says Vesa Tukonen, Country Manager, Visa Europe, Finland.

Spanish financial institution BBVA also launched a facial recognition payment trial at a staff restaurant earlier this year.

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