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Facial Recognition:
Practical Applications for Physical Security

Facial Recognition: Practical Applications for Physical Security

Since being introduced in the 1960s, facial recognition has come a long way in technological advancements and has improved its accuracy as well as the ways to address security and privacy concerns. It has established itself in our daily lives and is now being used in a variety of industries, ranging from law enforcement, border control, and mobile technology to hospitality and retail. Recognized as a superior credential, facial recognition is a preferred technology for access control. In addition, facial recognition has other applications for physical security.

According to recent studies, the facial recognition market is soaring. It was valued at $3.83 billion in 2020, and it is anticipated to rise by 16.0% CAGR to reach $16.74 billion by 2030. Demand for face detection systems is driven by the need to enhance safety and security. Governments, large enterprises, the defense sector and law enforcement agencies in many countries all over the globe have recently been investing an important amount of their resources into the adoption of facial recognition technologies and implementing them into many different segments.

What makes facial recognition a natural fit for the physical security industry?


The effectiveness of face recognition systems is attributed to their precise recognition accuracy and identification speed. Harnessing the power of computer vision and AI, the system performs geometric recognition and processes a huge amount of data within seconds. Verification can be implemented in the middle of a crowd, identifying thousands of faces simultaneously, even within dynamic and unstable environments.


Face recognition adds convenience to everyday experiences and security operations. With facial recognition, users can easily unlock devices, open secure applications, start cars, enter buildings, or board a plane. There are no worries about forgetting your passwords or losing keys, cards or other physical credentials. The verification process is automatic and speedy, which reduces wait times at entry points and provides a frictionless access experience.

Security and safety

Implementing face recognition technology offers benefits for users from a security and safety perspective. A person’s face is the most reliable credential. It is unique and, in comparison with passwords and other credentials, not prone to theft or misuse, which helps to enhance security and privacy. Combined with other credentials, face recognition serves as a source for multifactor authentication and is used to add an extra level of security. Utilizing AI and computer vision leaves absolutely no room for human error. It is also safe from a health perspective. Due to its non-contact nature, facial recognition technology doesn’t require physical interaction, thus reducing the risk of spreading infection and promoting a safe workplace.

Easy applicability and cost-effectiveness

Modern facial recognition software is easily integrated with access control systems. It doesn’t require special cameras and can work with existing video monitoring systems and network infrastructure. It is also easily deployed through web and desktop applications. Additionally, AI-powered facial recognition technology allows organizations to save on human resources as fewer security staff are required to implement effective access control and people search. It can also cut costs on issuing physical credentials.

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Facial recognition technology facilitates many of our most important daily routines. For example, it enables us to unlock devices, get access to mobile applications and online services, as well as enables to check bank accounts and make online payments. You can also start a car and enter a residential dwelling or office using face recognition as an authentication method. Facial recognition technology is now being expanded into various verticals, including governments, the defense sector, law enforcement agencies, airports, large enterprises, casinos, malls, and other public places. It is mostly applied for access control, monitoring attendance, people search and watchlist detection.

Access control

When it comes to access control, facial recognition technology proves to be the most effective means of identity authentication. It provides a fast, accurate, and secure verification process. Powered by robust AI and machine learning, face recognition software authenticates entrants, analyzes their access permissions, and either confirms their entry or notifies security staff of an unauthorized access.

Face recognition CCTV systems greatly facilitate the check-in process, for instance, at business offices, factories, campuses, or housing facilities. It is also much-needed technology for border control, airports, and other travel services. It not only makes checks more secure but also adds convenience and enhances the traveler’s experience. Healthcare facilities can also benefit from the integration of facial recognition software into a hospital video surveillance system. It can simplify the registration process by implementing automatic verification of patients’ identity and insurance data, minimizing paper work for hospital workers and increasing patient experience.

Another practical application for face recognition is to implement seamless ticket-free entry to venues and events. The Face as a Ticket system allows security personnel to speed up the check-in process, minimize the number of staff involved in the entry process, and provide a fast and safe entry experience. There is no need to worry about keeping all your passes with you and wasting time standing in lines. With the advances in facial recognition technology, this is all possible in the blink of an eye.

Utilizing AI-powered facial recognition makes access to secure spaces more limited and restricted. Only employees with the right access permissions will be allowed to enter certain areas in the facility.

Drone package receiving and storage is now applying facial recognition to provide better security and exceptional customer experience. Only the right face match will enable unlocking a smart mailbox. Otherwise, an alert will be sent to report an unauthorized reach.

People search

Face recognition CCTV systems can significantly facilitate the search for a missing child or disoriented adult. Based on the photo provided by relatives or the image from video footage where the object of interest was last captured, security operators can initiate the person search. Due to the ability of AI to quickly process a vast amount of information, the process will not take long. When there is a match, the system will send an alert and provide information about the time and location of the person.

Facial recognition systems are being successfully used by law enforcement agencies all over the world to identify and track criminals. AI facilitates the investigation process and makes it easier to get hold of criminals. It is also a major help in the investigation of past incidents, as it accelerates the search for video evidence and enables tracking of the suspect through all the video sequences.

In casino, retail and hospitality industry deployments, face recognition can be applied to recognize VIP guests. In this way, they can provide a personalized approach to enhance the customer experience and encourage their loyalty.

Similarly, facial recognition technology can be applied by various verticals to automatically identify repeat offenders or banned individuals. Take, for example, casinos that have to monitor problem gamblers to help them keep away from gambling in periods when they are at most risk. Face recognition software enables the casino staff to immediately detect barred players and take appropriate action to ensure that they are not allowed to gamble. Retailers can use face recognition to detect people who have past shoplifting records. For healthcare facilities, where violence against staff is a quite common and disturbing problem, facial recognition can come in handy to identify and flag clients with a history of violence.

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have allowed face recognition systems to become a lot more sophisticated than they were a decade ago. Many of the systems now have recognition accuracy rates that exceed 99%. Most facial recognition providers incorporate anti-spoofing and anti-tailgating features. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, facial recognition software has been upgraded to enable recognizing faces with a mask on. The best solutions, like Scylla, are free of gender and racial biases and prioritize a person’s privacy. For example, Scylla does not store any data, footage, or images that can be considered personal.

Final Takeaway

Regardless of the industry deployment, facial authentication is making places safer and easier to access while enhancing the user's convenience and maintaining individual privacy. The capabilities provided by AI technology and improved accuracy have made facial recognition systems an ideal solution to implement effective and secure access control and people search. Apart from helping keep people and physical spaces safe, leveraging AI facial recognition technology allows companies to increase operational efficiencies and reduce operational costs. All in all, with all the benefits facial recognition offers, we expect it not just to stay but to expand even more.

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