Face recognition is a great investment. In most cases, the associated cost savings alone are enough to make it pay for itself. For example, it can increase the check-in speed by a factor of 2-10x. As a result, you can check-in the same amount of attendees using fewer check-in stations, less support staff, and a smaller registration area, which are all great ways to improve the bottom line for your event.
Peter: Well, GDPR Privacy Regulations are upon us at last, and I’m intrigued about how facial recognition fits into all this?
Panos: There are several regulations that restrict the use of biometric data. For example, at the time of writing, the states of Texas, Illinois, and Washington have adopted biometrics regulations. Moreover, the European Union has passed the GDPR, which has specific requirements in terms of sensitive data. Even though these regulations might make certain use cases hard to serve, they have a place because in principle they are protecting the privacy of end users. They are making every party involved aware that it is not right and acceptable to misuse people’s personal data. And in a way, they are bringing the facial recognition technology on the same (or similar) level with other tracking technologies such as RFID and iBeacons.
In some regions, it is not okay to scan people’s face without their explicit permission. That is, placing a camera, which is scanning everyone’s face and extracting their face geometry is not a good idea. Scanning all the faces in a picture is not a good idea either because there might be this one person who did not opt-in. It is not the process of enrolling their data that is usually prohibited. Instead, it is the process of calculating the face measurements without explicit permission that is not permitted.
Peter: Thank you for your time today. This is a fascinating area and one that now sounds much easier to exploit than I had imagined! How would you summarize all of this?
Panos: Event planners are eager to use the latest technology and offer a better experience to their attendees. Registration companies want to differentiate themselves and stay ahead of the curve. Facial recognition is an ideal solution for all stakeholders because it is better, faster, and more affordable than existing solutions. Event professionals can leverage its power to offer the fastest check-in solution, enhance security, extract analytics, and promote the innovative brand of their organization.
Since this is a new technology, there are some misconceptions and myths we wanted to bust. The majority of the attendees do not want to wait in line. Hence, they are more than happy to opt-in for face recognition. It is more affordable than people think and the requirements are low. Facial recognition can be extremely accurate, >99% accurate… Even though there are privacy regulations in some regions of the world, they do not prevent event professionals from using and benefiting from facial recognition. Instead, the regulations provide a framework that ensures all personal data is being treated properly.