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Five Examples Proving How Comfortable Consumers are with Face Recognition

When facial recognition technology was first introduced into the mainstream, the technology or its benefits were not well-understood. Naturally, people feared the technology was the harbinger of dystopian futures they had seen in science fiction films.

Now that face recognition technology has been on the market for a while, consumers are beginning to realize the massive potential that this technology has to benefit society. Facial recognition can keep consumers safe from violent criminals while they shop. It can help find missing children and victims of human trafficking. It can greatly expedite air travel. And it can be used to keep sensitive data on mobile devices safe.

Best of all, consumers are waking up to the fact that this technology doesn’t compromise their privacy. The truth is that facial recognition systems are far less intrusive than traditional surveillance. During a recent webinar we hosted on face recognition privacy, Thomas McCally, a top retail law attorney, stated “Face recognition is much less intrusive than traditional surveillance. It doesn’t see race. It doesn’t see gender. It’s just capturing metrics.”

In fact,  face recognition is more private than many common technologies that consumers use on a daily basis. According to McCally, “Look at the amount of tracking that goes on through web and credit card use. They are tracking much more data about individuals than [face recognition].”

While most experts agree that the benefits of using face recognition outweighs any perceived privacy costs, consumers themselves have also been demonstrating increasing comfort with facial recognition technology. Here are just five leading signs that consumers are comfortable with this groundbreaking (and potentially life-saving) technology.

Auto-Tagging Photos on Facebook

Over 300 million Facebook photos are uploaded each day. And Facebook uses a face recognition algorithm to guess who is in each picture. As people tag their friends, the algorithm gets even smarter. Privacy concerns about Facebook’s use of this technology have been minimal, and the fact that an omnipresent platform like Facebook is using facial recognition is a sign of growing comfort among consumers.

Delta Introduces Face Recognition for Bag Drops

Who likes waiting in long lines to drop off their bags at airports? To help expedite the bag drop off process, while still maintaining the high level of security we expect from air travel, Delta has introduced a system that uses face recognition. These self-service bag drops are already being installed in Minneapolis with an eye toward mass proliferation. Self-service kiosks that use facial recognition to verify identity could end up providing a new level of convenience for air travelers.

JetBlue Uses Face Recognition for Check In

Just as Delta is using face recognition to expedite bag check, JetBlue is using a similar technology to expedite boarding. Passengers will step up to a camera, and the kiosk will compare the facial scan to passport photos in the U.S. customs database to confirm the match. A screen above the camera will let passengers know when they’re cleared to board. JetBlue will be the first airline to use face recognition for boarding, but others are almost certain to follow suit, as ways to simultaneously improve security and convenience are in high demand in the air travel industry.

iPhone Face Recognition Rumors

While it is not yet clear exactly what features will be added to the next wave of iPhones, there are already tons of rumors about face recognition being used as a new security layer. Using biometrics as a form of authentication is nothing new to Apple, as current models use fingerprint detection technology. But face recognition could potentially be an even faster and more seamless way to validate identity.

Augmented Reality

Blippar is an augmented reality system that is used for visual marketing. The app allows consumers to interact with everyday objects. The company has now launched a facial recognition component to their app which enables users to scan faces — either in-person, a printed photo, or television — through their smartphone cameras to unlock a unique augmented reality experience for people who have a recognized face profile. Blippar is another example of a company investing heavily in consumer-facing facial recognition technology.

As facial recognition continues to proliferate through consumer landscapes, it adds more proof that this technology is no longer seen as threatening, but rather as a means of improving safety and convenience.

Want to hear why experts say that face recognition is inevitable for retailers? Check out our free on-demand webinar Face Recognition: The Inevitable Path to Retail Adoption. 


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