By: Jesse Davis West April 15, 2019

While many outside the technology sector are not yet familiar with the term “smart city,” there are efforts underway globally to use advanced sensors, cameras, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to make urban areas safer and more efficient.

A typical smart city initiative will collect data from humans, devices and assets to analyze and optimize traffic, energy efficiency, information systems and waste managements. Smart city initiatives also focus on crime prevention. This is where face recognition comes in.

By integrating facial recognition technology with a smart city initiative, it is possible to prevent crime, accelerate investigations and ensure that public spaces are safer than ever. Here are five of the top ways that face recognition can improve smart city initiatives.

Stop Crimes Before they Happen

Face recognition can act as an added layer on top of camera feeds that can instantly matches individuals against a database of  known criminals, wanted felons, suspected terrorists and other individuals who pose a threat. The moment there is a match alert, law enforcement and security personnel can better monitor and, if need be, apprehend dangerous individuals. As a result, it is possible to stop crimes before they start.

Find Missing Children and Victims of Human Trafficking

Up to 800,000 children go missing every year. But face recognition can make it easier to bring them home. In addition to adding dangerous individuals to a face recognition database, smart cities can also add missing children and victims of human trafficking to their face recognition database. Let’s say a missing child is detected by a public camera feed, the victim could be instantly identified and authorities could be alerted.

Protect Public Events

Unfortunately, public events remain attractive targets for terrorists and mass-shooters. By augmenting cameras at events with facial recognition software, it’s possible to instantly identify individuals who present a threat.

Security professionals at events have a tremendously difficult job, and they do their best. But it’s impossible to remember the names and faces of every individual who may pose a threat to an event. This is compounded by the fact that it is difficult for humans to recognize these individuals in a crowd. Face recognition can solve this problem. It works well in crowds and can alert human security personnel the moment that a threat is detected.

Expedite Investigations

Facial recognition can make cities safer by expediting investigations. While public cameras have been used in investigations for years, it can be prohibitively time-consuming to manually search through video feeds to find evidence. But facial recognition can be used to radically increase the speed of forensic investigations.

How does it work? Let’s say an individual commits a crime. If an image of that individual is uploaded into a face recognition system, that individual’s image can be matched against images captured by public cameras. The results can tell you when and where an individual has been, which can be used as forensic evidence.

Control Access to Secure Areas

Smart cities can not only use facial recognition for surveillance purposes. Smart cities can also leverage face recognition for controlling access to secure areas. Face recognition is already trusted by millions of people as a way of controlling access to their mobile devices. But face recognition technology can also be used as a primary or secondary form of identification when controlling access to sensitive locations within a city such as government buildings, water reservoirs, power plants and more.

At FaceFirst, we’re excited to be working to build the cities of the future. If you’re interested in learning how FaceFirst can help accelerate your safe city initiative, reach out to us today.