About Face: How Will Innovators Use Facial Recognition Technology?
Every time you turn around in the mobile device space, something brand new and potentially huge is being unveiled. Last week was no exception as developers and testers of the iOS 5 (iPhone/iPad) were pleased to find several APIs featuring facial recognition technology. Now the question becomes, what will the world’s best developers do with it?
As the era of device to device hyperconnectivity blossoms before our eyes, facial recognition technology will seemingly play an important and creative role. Keep in mind, the connected not too distant future features a device (most likely your mobile) “speaking” with a litany of other devices in your community, home and work-place, and applications built on this connectivity will be crafted to improve our lives. So, what can we expect from facial recognition technology in a super-connected world? Here are a few areas and potential use cases we can foresee.
I Know That Face
The idea of using facial recognition isn’t new, but until now it’s been mostly relegated to sci-fi movies and futurist blogs. Here’s a short list of where we can expect facial recognition technology to make a substantial impact.
- Mobile Payment
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been grabbing scores of headlines lately and the torch bearer that will bring NFC to the masses is mobile payment applications. With facial recognition, this might get even easier.
Envision walking down a dedicated “Grande Smiles” lane at your local Starbucks thirsting for your favorite caffeinated beverage. Prior to accessing this exclusive (and faster) line, you approached the physical location and tapped your phone once, signifying you’d like your “usual” order. At the counter you stare at some beautiful signage equipped with a minuscule camera, a green light softly emanates from the sign, you’re handed your drink and on the way out the door a digital receipt is delivered to your mobile device.
The convenience for the consumer is wonderful and on the flip-side, how many more people do you think Starbucks can serve a day when no money or credit cards are exchanged and only a face is needed to complete the transaction? On top of that, how many more patrons can be served when a growing percentage of the order placing is taking place digitally, before you even enter the store? Want consumers to adopt quicker? Shorter wait times and exclusive rewards points for “Grande Smiles” customers would certainly nudge the average consumer to take part in this new, albeit theoretical, campaign.
- Healthcare & Patient Care
Connected devices are already being implemented at state of the art facilities with the purpose of making a patient’s stay more pleasant, altering temperatures, adjusting lighting and more to pre-set personal settings. With facial recognition comes the opportunity for EMTs and ER doctors to access pertinent information instantly, even if the patient is unconscious. Watch the fantastic augmented reality/facial recognition video below, but instead of social networks being shared, imagine if these were medical records, pharmaceutical allergies, family contact information and other accessible patient data records that can save an emergency responder time and thus save a patient’s life.
Creation of applications to improve security might be both the most impact-full and most controversial in many cultures. But software that helps the average citizen stay safer will make its presence felt. It is only a matter of time before airports, trains, Federal buildings, prisons and even Universities implement some facet of facial recognition technology as an additional layer of safety. Besides, snapping a photo of your face might be a welcomed change compared to some of the current techniques being implemented at airports across the nation.
There are undoubtedly dozens of more areas we can think of where facial recognition technology might play a role. Is there one we left out that you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below.
Now that facial recognition technology is emerging, the real fun begins, and that’s witnessing the applications the world’s best software developers create on top of this new technology platform.
Worthy of mentioning: We posted the question of which area will see the greatest impact from facial recognition technology on the TopCoder Facebook Community and crime investigation was added to the poll by a community member and received a high percentage of the voting. Read more on how law enforcement is set to capitalize on this newest advancement here.
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Image credits: padgadget.com, mobilemarketingwatch.com, ridgeglobal.com Video credit: youtube.com/TATmobileUI