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Facial Recognition Presents an Opportunity

It shouldn’t be surprising that facial recognition systems make some people uncomfortable. After all, it is one of the primary ways that we humans recognize each other. But every time a new technology mimics a human behavior—or bests it—it raises primal questions. Over time, perhaps inevitably, we become more familiar and more comfortable with new technologies, particularly when they are implemented in ways that provide real user benefits and when suitable protections are in place.

Right now, facial recognition is poised to become a big opportunity. A recent report from Mordor Intelligence found that the facial recognition market was valued at $5.07 billion in 2019 and is expected to swell to $10.19 billion by 2025. Why is this growth happening? Because there are three drivers now in place.

The first driver is familiarity. For the general population, facial detection is no longer a new idea. It is installed at many international border crossings and is built into smartphones—mass market technology drivers. Overall, facial recognition is seen as relatively nonintrusive, painless, and an efficient method to confirm identity. This means that such systems are likely to be accepted by users.

The second driver is the availability of beneficial applications. Using facial recognition to unlock smartphones is one good example—it’s fast, easy, accurate, and solves the nagging problem of forgetting your password.

More applications are emerging to support security functions. Facial recognition is an ideal second or third authentication factor to augment security cards, tokens, and PIN codes. Adding facial recognition at ATM machines could further reduce the use of fraudulent or stolen credentials and adding it to access control systems at critical entry points would serve the same function. Adding it to network access controls could help mitigate cyberattacks or prevent identity theft.

The third driver is the protection of suitable controls. While users are familiar with facial recognition, citizens and governments alike remain wary about potential personal information litigation, as well as how facial images will be used and stored.

Europe and the U.S. states of California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington are among the governing bodies implementing regulations to protect and reassure users. Individual organizations are also helping with written policies that state the intended use for facial recognition technology, and when and how the data they compile will be destroyed.

With these three drivers in place, the opportunities for facial recognition to improve the speed, accuracy, and effectiveness of security systems are enormous. Security providers that invest in training internal experts and building facial recognition into their offerings will be in the best position to benefit from this pending growth.

Alusio Figueiredo is CEO of Intelligent Security Systems.