By: Jesse Davis West April 16, 2018

Imagine a future where crimes are prevented before they happen, sales associates are at your beck and call, and your phone, car, house and computer are unlocked using your face.

While facial recognition technology was once largely science fiction, this technology is now in the process of transforming private security, public safety, law enforcement, marketing and access control. Airports are using face recognition with increased frequency. Retailers have embraced this technology as a way to prevent theft and violence. All the while, the iPhone X and other new mobile devices have helped consumers imagine a future in which face recognition is the primary method of identity authentication.

To shed light on how face recognition is currently transforming the world, and will continue to do so over the next several years, we compiled a list of quotes from top industry experts.

Brennan Wilkie“Written feedback, voice feedback and body language will be the holy trinity to delivering a robust customer experience once facial recognition technology is mastered.”

-Brennan Wilkie
Senior Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy
Source: FierceRetail

Peter Trepp“I think it’s only a matter of time before this technology revolutionizes retail shopping. It presents the opportunity for retailers and customers to draft a new contract, one that protects privacy while also delivering a far more seamless and personalized shopping experience.”

-Peter Trepp
Source: Loss Prevention Media

“Customer response has been overwhelming positive. More than 90% of customers have opted-in to self-board. Self-boarding also saves time for our crew members, who no longer have to do manual passport inspections during the boarding process.”

-Julianna Bryan
Manager, Corporate Communications
Source: Computer World

Maya Mikhailov“For starters, [face recognition] would help with customer service. If a shopper is standing in a store and looking upset, a store associate could be dispatched to help that customer. The technology could also play a role in product or selection support: Imagine a shopper is lingering in front of a shelf with 20 brands of detergent appearing perplexed or scowling. A message on their phone or a voice-activated shelf could ask them if they need help finding a product or require help in making a decision that best suits their stain-fighting needs.”

-Maya Mikhailov
Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Founder
Source: WWD

“The year 2018 will mark a fast-track year in facial recognition technology, whose speed of growth is likely to override other AI sectors including robotics, voice recognition and natural language processing,”

-Yang Yuxin
Vice President
Thundersoft Software Technology
Source: Global Times

Sean Farrell“The end game is that in a few years’ time you’ll be able to go through the airport basically just using your face. If you have bags to drop off, you’ll be able to use the self-service system and just have your face captured and matched. You’ll then go to security, the same thing. … And then you go to the boarding gate, and again just use your biometric.”

-Sean Farrell
Head of Portfolio Management, Government & Security
Source: NPR

“Biometrics, when properly used, offer greater protection on financial fraud and different types of theft (identity or data) since they are much more secure than using typical passwords and PINs.”

-Dr. Thirimachos Bourlai
Founder & Director
West Virginia University MLAB


“The retail industry and American consumers are changing more rapidly than ever before in history. The connected world is changing the very core of society, and we’re facing very complicated and difficult decisions about safety and privacy. I firmly believe that face recognition technology is on an inevitable path to retail adoption.”

-Gus Downing
Publisher and Editor
The D&D Daily
Source: FaceFirst Webinar

Jennifer Lynch“A system that is designed to look only for people who have been convicted of shoplifting in the past is not going to be a threat to privacy for the vast majority of shoppers.”

-Jennifer Lynch
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Source: Retail Wire

Kesha WIlliams“The best way to enhance security is through facial recognition — it’s going to be the standard very soon.”

-Kesha Williams
Senior Consultant, Solution Development
Source: Loss Prevention Insights

“Loss prevention is paving the way, since the ROI of face recognition is so clear and quickly attained. But retailers are already exploring how this technology can impact marketing. The most important factor with any marketing use case is making sure that customers opt in and that their privacy is being protected. As long as those bases are covered, this technology is no more intrusive than credit cards.”

-Peter Trepp
Source: LPM Insider

“Sure, there are valid concerns about intrusion and privacy regulations, but follow the rules (such as full disclosure, opt-in and appropriately handled personal data storage) and the results will be a transparent system which only succeeds if it provides value to the individuals concerned.”

-Drew Bates
Head of Product Marketing
SAP Innovation Lab
Source: Forbes

“The key to mollifying the consumers’ privacy concerns lies in the communication to the shopper as to why these technologies are beneficial to them. Given the increasing number of credit card fraud cases, stolen identities and other personal information breaches, I believe most consumers understand that it is to their benefit to make sure they are who they say they are when a payment card is being used.”

-Mark Heckman
Senior Retail Consultant
Applied Commerce Technology, Inc.
Source: NRF

“As long as shrink continues, and it will, bricks-and-mortar retailers have no choice but to leverage and test all available technologies to limit their losses due to shoplifting.”

-Adrian Weidmann
Managing Director
StoreStream Metrics
Source: NRF

Yuval Noah Harari“If Kindle is upgraded with face recognition and biometric sensors, it can know what made you laugh, what made you sad and what made you angry. Soon, books will read you while you are reading them.”

Yuval Noah Harari
Author/Professor of History, Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Source: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Mark Zuckerberg“We’re committed to rolling out the controls and the affirmative consent and the special controls around sensitive types of technology, like face recognition, that are required in GDPR. We’re doing that around the world. So for example, people have a control about face recognition. If people don’t want us to be able to help identify when they are in photos that their friends upload, then they can turn that off.”

-Mark Zuckerberg
Source: Washington Post

“We have to regulate how to use it in the future. Everything can be useful for good things and for bad things. [But] I think there are lots of cases where facial recognition can be used for good things to make our lives safer and more comfortable.”

-Mikhail Ivanov
Source: PYMNTS

“When most retailers in a certain geographic area adopt the technology, those who haven’t could end up taking a disproportionate amount of ORC theft until they’re on a level playing field. It’s a mousetrap game. I think it puts us one mousetrap ahead of the people who are really burning us in ORC activity. I do think they’ll catch up, figure out how to beat it, or go where it’s not. But I think it eliminates, or close to eliminates, personal-use theft in a store. And that’s huge. Because all that’s left is the new batch that comes in, and they don’t show up at the same rate.”

VP, Loss Prevention
Major Retail Chain
Source: Loss Prevention Media

“We’re seeing shoplifters—known shoplifters—come up to us and ask permission to buy something. Is this some kind of loss prevention Twilight Zone, or the delusions of a loss prevention associate who has spent too many hours watching surveillance video? No, this is everyday life in stores at a leading retailer who has recently deployed a facial-recognition system. And it’s just one of the changes that led the company’s head of LP to call facial recognition security cameras a game-changing loss prevention technology.”

VP, Loss Prevention
Major Retail Chain
Source: Loss Prevention Media