The use of CCTV or closed-circuit television really started to gain traction from the 1970s when these now commonplace cameras started to pop up in banks, shops and other areas where security and surveillance was needed. Though an effective crime prevention and observation tool in its own right, it does have a number of drawbacks, not least the fact that it requires users to manually sift through hours of recorded material and has no automated real-time detection function. Facial recognition, when integrated with a CCTV system, solves these issues and makes CCTV not only a more powerful tool but allows for a host of other uses.
A facial recognition system is biometric artificial intelligence which allows peoples’ faces to be identified through their unique facial shapes and features. As it is used in combination with a CCTV system, it is non-invasive, unlike other biometric identification tools such as iris and fingerprint recognition.
Just like the other biometric identification tools, the relevant data from an individual has to be first uploaded into a database for it to be recognised. In the case of facial recognition, this is of course the person’s face. If an individual’s face is not on the system, it will be ignored and the CCTV footage can be discarded according to the privacy laws of the jurisdiction where it is being used.
Though primarily used as part of an electronic security solution in Macau, facial recognition is also gaining popularity as a marketing and commercial tool. Here are some of the main ways it is being used today:
Of course, one of the main uses of facial recognition in Macau is its use in an electronic security system. Both public and private facilities can benefit greatly from the use of facial recognition to monitor areas with both high and low footfall to detect and prevent crime.
Traditional CCTV passively records images at access points, but it is down to the user to monitor these images manually in order to identify individuals. This is a time-consuming, laborious and costly procedure as well as being prone to human error. By combining facial recognition with CCTV, premises in Macau can enjoy a much more effective and less costly access control system over the long run. Instead of manually having to monitor video, with facial recognition, targets are automatically identified through comparing their faces to a database. The user is then sent an alert about the possible threat. Alternatively, a facial recognition system can be used to allow access to an area to certain individuals only.
An innovative way the technology is being used can be found in care homes for the elderly. Guardforce Macau’s “Smart Guard”, for instance, uses a facial recognition system to keep residents of care homes safe by alerting staff if an individual wanders away unaccompanied. It simultaneously helps prevent accidents, reduces the burden on caregivers, and removes the need for residents to wear physical trackers which are inconvenient and prone to failure.
As mentioned earlier, facial recognition is also gaining popularity as a marketing and commercial tool. An intriguing example of this is using facial recognition to improve shoppers’ experience. By integrating a customer’s purchase history with their face in a database, shop staff can be alerted to VIPs as they enter the store, for instance, and provide a personalized service to that customer.
Macau already uses facial recognition systems in the ways mentioned above but there is one huge industry in Macau that can also benefit – the gaming industry. Macau’s gaming industry is seven times larger than that of Las Vegas and casinos need a huge amount of security and constant surveillance. Facial recognition could be extremely useful in this context, especially when it comes to enforcing the city’s casino entry rules.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the regulator of the gaming industry in Macau, has recently confirmed that “two to three” gaming operators are currently testing facial recognition systems in their venues, according to a recent article. It also stated that the use of facial recognition is subject to government approval before it can be introduced inside the city’s gaming venues.
This is to ensure that casinos abide by the city’s rules on personal data protection and that is used for the protection and safety of persons and property only. As reported by Bloomberg, beginning August 1st 2019, the DICJ has restricted the use of artificial intelligence tools that may help casino operators track gamblers likely to bet big. This is a sensible move as any use of facial recognition outside of safety and security would see the trust of casino-goers significantly eroded.
Interested in learning more about how facial recognition can benefit your business? Contact Guardforce Macau today.