Fa­cial recog­ni­tion set to ‘per­son­alise’ ex­pe­ri­ence

The Phnom Penh Post - - LIFESTYLE - Rob Lever

IMAG­INE walk­ing into a store where a ro­bot greets you by name, lets you know that your online or­der is ready, and then sug­gests other prod­ucts you might want pick up.

Fa­cial recog­ni­tion is mak­ing that pos­si­ble as the tech­nol­ogy gains trac­tion in a range of con­sumer prod­ucts, au­to­mo­biles, and re­tail and ho­tel ser­vices, in ad­di­tion to its long­stand­ing but con­tro­ver­sial use in law en­force­ment and se­cu­rity.

At the 2019 Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas this week, ex­hibitors pointed to how fa­cial recog­ni­tion may be used to “per­son­alise” ex­pe­ri­ences and en­hance per­sonal se­cu­rity.

While fa­cial recog­ni­tion has been on smart­phones for some time, some newer uses in­clude in care and en­try sys­tems for homes and of­fices, along with re­tail ap­pli­ca­tions.

SoftBank Ro­bot­ics chief strat­egy of­fi­cer Steve Car­lin, who showed CES at­ten­dees how the com­pany’s Pep­per ro­bot could of­fer re­tail cus­tomers per­son­alised at­ten­tion, said the tech­nol­ogy could also be used in ho­tels where an au­to­mated s y s t e m c oul d de­liver a cus­tomised ex­pe­ri­ence to a reg­u­lar client.

“They should be able to say ‘Wel­come back, you don’t need to sta nd in line, we’ve a lready checked you in a nd we’ve sent t he key to you r phone,’” Car­lin said.

Car­mak­ers at CES were show­ing how fa­cial recog­ni­tion could im­prove and per­son­alise the travel ex­pe­ri­ence through mu­sic, en­ter­tain­ment and other preferences.

Abe Chen of the Chi­ne­se­based auto startup By­ton said its ve­hi­cle, set to launch later this year, would be able to make use­ful rec­om­men­da­tions based on fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

“It knows who is in the car, how long you’ve been on the road and what you like to eat, so it could make a restau­rant rec­om­men­da­tion,” Chen told a CES pre­sen­ta­tion.

Richard Car­riere of the Tai- wan-based tech firm Cy­ber­link said the firm’s new fa­cial recog­ni­tion be­ing shown at CES is “very pre­cise” and is be­ing of­fered for re­tail, home and law en­force­ment ap­pli­ca­tions.

Cus­tom signs

Car­riere sa id reta i lers can cus­tomise ads on dig­i­tal signs by us­ing this tech­nolog y – so a teenage girl might not see t he s a me mes­sage a s a n el­derly man.

“If some­one walks into a store, based on gen­der or fa­cial ex­pres­sion or age group we can cus­tomise what shows up in the sig­nage,” he said.

Other star­tups were in­te­grat­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion into home door­bells or se­cu­rity s y s t e ms, en­abling f am­ily mem­bers and friends to gain en­try while alert­ing home­own­ers about po­ten­tially sus­pi­cious peo­ple.

“This is one more el­e­ment of au­ton­omy in your in­tel­li­gent home,” said Bill Hens­ley of the se­cu­rity firm Nortek, who showed how its new Elan sys­tem can eas­ily let peo­ple in and then cus­tomise the home en­vi­ron­ment.

Chi­nese startup Tuya in­tro­duced its AI video door­bell us­ing real-time fa­cial recog­ni­tion to iden­tify fam­ily mem­bers, friends, couri­ers, prop­erty man­agers and even pets, and to cre­ate a “whitelist” of ac­cepted peo­ple.

“You wi l l be able to g ive peo­ple a one-time pass, and you can ta lk with them over a v ideo con­nec­tion,” said Tuya sa les chief Sandy Scott of t he dev ice, which is to go on sa le later t his year.

Scott said the de­vice could be used in as­sisted liv­ing homes to limit en­tries of un­known peo­ple, and also recogni s e i f some­one wi t h de­men­tia is wan­der­ing off. It stores data on the de­vice to re­duce risks of data leak­age.

Other CES ex­hibitors in­clud­ing Proc­ter & Gam­ble were demon­strat­ing the use of fa­cial recog­ni­tion to en­able cus­tomers to per­son­alise skin care treat­ments.

Ready for the masses?

Even as t he uses for fa­cia l recog nit ion g row, t he tech­nolog y re­mains con­tro­ver­sial, e s p e c i a l l y r e g a r d i ng l a w en for c ement bu i ld i ng up data­bases.

Some crit­ics worry about the ac­cu­racy of the tech­nol­ogy and whether it means more kinds of sur veil­lance and track­ing.

Re­tail­ers and other firms “may al­ready have ev­ery data point about me ex­cept my face,” Brenda Leong of the Fu­ture of Pri­vacy Fo­rum in Wash­ing­ton said.

“So you won­der, what is the value added?”

Equat­ing the tech­nol­ogy to online track­ing, she said fa­cial recog­ni­tion means “your face as a cookie,” the track­ing files used by online data col­lec­tors.

A Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion sur­vey ear­lier t his year found 50 p e r c e nt of r e s p on­dent s op­posed fa­cia l recog nit ion sof t ware i n ret a i l stores to pre­vent theft, and 44 per cent sa id usi ng t his sof t ware i n air­ports to es­tab­lish iden­tit y was un­fa­vor­able.

A dif­fer­ent sur­vey re­leased this week by the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Foun­da­tion (ITIF) of­fered dif­fer­ent re­sults, find­ing just 26 per cent want the govern­ment to strictly limit fa­cial recog­ni­tion, and 20 per cent sup­port lim­its on fa­cial recog­ni­tion if it would mean air­ports can­not use it to speed up se­cu­rity lines

“Peo­ple are of­ten sus­pi­cious of new tech­nolo­gies, but in this case, they seem to have warmed up to fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy quite quickly,” said Daniel Cas­tro of ITIF.


Pep­per of SoftBank Ro­bot­ics (left) and Tally of Simbe Ro­bot­ics (right) are team­ing up to work with re­tail­ers: Pep­per in­ter­acts with cus­tomers while Tally scans the shelves to mon­i­tor in­ven­tory lev­els in this demo from SoftBank at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas, USA.


Ella Yuan of the Chi­nese startup Tuya shows how fa­cial recog­ni­tion can be used in a home se­cu­rity sys­tem to al­low or deny en­try.

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