Face recognition – the new standard for new generation systems
By Artem Arifov, Suprema Business Manager; firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditionally if we look at Access Control systems, we would find touch solutions either with RFID cards, keypads or fingerprint sensors. For many years, these technologies have conquered the market over all its verticals. But as time passed, the technological breakthrough introduced in our everyday life such features, that no one had ever thought of before.
The IFSEC Global Physical Access Control Trend report found that 43% of respondents listed contactless capabilities as one of the top three features they would require of any new access control system. Touchless access becomes the gold standard and the face recognitions technology becomes the cornerstone of the new generation access control systems.
Open the door by walking up to the system? Get access granted even when staying in motion? Gain access without having to lift a finger or do anything ? – This isn’t any more a science fiction dream, but our daily life. Today the Facial Recognition allows to confirm “in motion” individual’s identity at affordable price by providing the highest security level. How did we get there and how will look like the next generation industry standard tomorrow? Artem Arifov, Business Manager at Suprema, the company that has been moving the entire industry for more than 20 years, will talk about the new door access experience and latest market requirements for access control solutions.
The cradle of Face Recognition technology
The interest in Face Recognition has been increased specifically for the last couple of years. However, the technology is more than 50 years old. The earliest pioneers of facial recognition were Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan Wolf and Charles Bisson. In the 1960s, this research team ran the first experiments in machine facial recognition. The working group used a database of 800 pictures of people in different angles.
The challenge was to find automatically matches by running the first face recognition algorithm. The experience was based on the idea of using distances between human face landmarks. By the way, this basic concept is still fundamentally relevant even for the new generation algorithms.
The scientists marked manually various “landmarks” on the face such as the person’s hairline, eyes, and nose. Even if in the end, the computer coped 100 times faster than a human, the experience wasn’t successful because of the technology of the era.
Face Recognition has come of age only at the beginning of 2000s. Mostly thanks to high-resolution cameras, mapping processes, machine learning, artificial intelligence and processing speeds.
To demonstrate the advancements in facial recognition technology over the past decades, we should mention that the face recognition algorithms in 2006 were 10 times more accurate than the ones of 2002 and 100 times more accurate than those of 1995. And the same exponential growth continues still now. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) test, between 2014 and 2018 there was a twenty times improvement in algorithms performance over four years.
NIST computer scientist Patrick Grother says: “The accuracy gains stem from the integration, or complete replacement, of prior approaches with those based on deep convolutional neural networks. As such, face recognition has undergone an industrial revolution.”
Face recognition implementation in smartphones
While outstanding technology development, Face Recognition has been considered for a long time as “”luxury” product for the most critical security sites. A watershed moment arrived in 2017, when Apple announced the new “Face ID” features on iPhones. Suddenly Face Recognition stopped being viewed as fantastic technology and came out in a large public.
However, the phone’s solution isn’t the most secured, especially when based on basic optic camera technology that can be spoofed with photos and 3D mock-ups. It’s not something reliable when trying to secure the most critical data. It’s one of the reasons why professionals still recommend using fingerprint scanner rather than the face unlock feature on smartphones. Similarly, the basic algorithms running in most phones today doesn’t adapt to changes in clothing habits, such as wearing new glasses, hat or a face mask.
Rather than using color camera image data like traditional face unlock methods, the modern facial recognition system combines classic optical and infra-red images of the face. AI-based visual recognition makes a fusion of both images together, which analyses this unique enhanced spectrum facial data for key facial profile features. So it can’t be spoofed by pictures, sculptures, etc., and works well in all lighting conditions. It’s also designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses, and many sunglasses and automatically adapts to changes in someone’s appearance, such as wearing cosmetic makeup or a beard. It can even work in total darkness due to the IR camera.
For example, FaceStation F2 Fusion Multimodal Terminal optimizes IR and visual face recognition to produce exceptional authentication results, achieving extremely low false acceptance rate (FAR) of 1 in 10 billion.
Covid-19 and spread of contactless payments
The main manufacturers started tracking touchless Access Control solutions even before 2019. But the pandemic has changed especially the European way of thinking. Before the COVID-19, most of payments in Europe used to be cash. COVID19 has accelerated the Credit Card payments and contactless technologies by card or on your smartphone. Mastercard reported that 75% of all transactions in Europe are now contactless.
Similarly Face recognition and Mobile Access have been gaining traction with physical and cyber security professionals. Practically, this trend contributed to commercial activity with Suprema’s facial recognition products deployed by Nomura Real Estate Development in Japan, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, and Samsung Electronics.
Suprema’s world-leading facial recognition access control business grew at three times the industry compound annual average reported by Omdia from 2018 to 2021. A 2021 report from Omdia says Suprema has the largest share of the biometric access control market in the world outside of China.
“Suprema and our partners have made a breakthrough during the COVID-19 pandemic by responding to the needs of the market with advanced technology and innovation.” says Suprema Inc. CEO Hanchul Kim, “This year, with our upcoming facial recognition solution, Suprema will also lead the fast-growing global facial recognition market.”
The new industry standards
Improved accuracy and benefits provided by today’s facial recognition leaders make it an ideal primary access control authentication tool. In line with the new paradigm of post-COVID access control, facial recognition is now the preferred access credential over fingerprints. In the contactless era your face is now your key. Furthermore, the technology is becoming more affordable for few reasons :
“First, Technological advancement in the field of sensors and processors has increased the performance of Facial Recognition and decreased it cost. For example, by adopting fast and smart AI processor called a Neural Processing Unit (NPU), Suprema achieved lower power consumption. Secondly, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, our algorithms have become more complex, improving the performance of the devices”, explains Baudouin Genouville, Suprema Europe’s Sales Director.
Another recent Face Recognition’s revolution was a launch of algorithms that are increasingly tolerant of poor-quality images. A benefit is that empowers the algorithm by reducing the number of neurons an algorithm needs to measure image variations at the pixel level.
All the security experts know well that the highest security level of identity confirmation is to use multi-factor authentication combining RFID or mobile cards, PIN or QR-codes with biometrics (Face or/and fingerprint). This enhanced level of security is suitable for the most critical sites (banks, military areas, police, airports, etc).
But the vast majority of access control systems are used for everyday purposes at business offices, factories, universities, hospitals, construction sites or fitness studios. All these customers require cost-efficient, flexible solutions to use for fast and accurate access control identity authentication. Today the Facial recognition as a credential is the ideal solution for organizations looking to deploy the most current, accurate, and rapid technology while simultaneously enhancing the user experience in most access control applications. What are the new requirements on the market ?
1. GDPR-designed systems
For many years people have been really concerned about anything related to tracking or biometrics in general, because of the privacy. This issue was mostly driven by people not understanding the technology. However, a big part of responsibility is now on the side of manufacturers. Since the new GDPR-regulation, the European privacy world-leading standard was adopted, all manufacturers take very seriously the data protection.
ISO/IEC 27001 certification is a fundamental of each reliable system. It includes more than a dozen standards for any sensitive information management such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted by third parties. All stored data must be encrypted, in addition, the delete option of all relevant information must be available. Furthermore, the communication between access control products uses AES-256 encryption or TLS protocol. Of course, any reader where the data is stored should support Secure Tamper feature : if a product is detached arbitrarily and forcibly, it detects this and provides a function to entirely delete all information within the product. The high-end products are also embedded with Secure Element(SE) to prevent cyber-attacks.
The European market sets up the worldwide highest level of privacy protection. Using biometrics in Europe is strictly regulated by GDPR-laws and only few manufactures in the world as Suprema can guarantee the requested data protection level. To be clear, in spite of the well-known concern, during the enrollment process the reader doesn’t store any image neither on device, nor on server. The algorithms take in account distances between unique landmarks by transforming them into Face template or face profile, a mathematic model of your face. This matrix is irreversible, however, is also considered by GDPR-law as private data. Very few readers today can support Template-on-Card feature that enables identification with biometric data saved on RFID cards.
Since September 2022, Suprema is a pioneer of ‘Face Template on Mobile’ technology for facial recognition authentication. It lets users enroll into an access control system and store their biometric face profile directly on their own mobile devices so the biometric data is not saved in the company’s database. This feature embedded in the new BioStation 3 Fusion terminal will surely change the entire industry, at least in Europe. 2. Cost-efficiency and social responsibility
The most responsible manufacturers understand all risks related to the global warming and are engaged in a world’s fight against this issue. As part of the company’s environmental initiative, we can mention the cut down on plastic waste produced by RFID cards.
A nice example of realization would be Stonyhurst College in the United Kingdom. Sam Moore, facilities director at Stonyhurst, says the school went through “vast, vast amounts” of access cards with an estimate of around 100 per week due to losses and damage. But the Suprema Mobile Access app and FaceStation F2 biometric terminals eliminate the need for cards entirely, which Moore says is saving on costs and reduces the amount of disposed plastic, thus being greener.
“BioStation 3, being the first release in Suprema’s third generation product lineup, is expected to offer an enhanced experience for operators, installers and end-users. Moreover, Suprema will continue to play its duty in environmental protection by minimizing pollution caused by plastic access cards through emphasizing the advantages of using biometric and mobile access solutions,” states Suprema Inc. CEO Hanchul Kim.
Of course, the systems must support basic human rights values and not running the algorithms on ethnical criteria. For example, Suprema industry leading face recognition terminals recognize all people the same way regardless of user ethnicity, skin color and face changes. Today this is a big issue, especially for cheap providers, mainly coming from non-democratic countries.
Another challenge is to face the actual energy crisis. The size of terminals becomes more and more compact that reduces the energy-consumption of screens. So, it not only fits well on small office doors, but provide cost-effectiveness and energy saving improvement. Finally, PoE+ features enable less wiring and quick installation.
3. Supporting VoIP Intercom, RTSP and SIM slots for multitasking
New generation demands request the highest flexibility of the hardware. To make access control easy, manufacturers equips their hardware with VoIP Intercom feature and RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) for supporting video monitoring and using device as a camera. It enables seamless communication with all doors at anywhere and anytime. Wi-Fi feature is also required in modern sites. Also as custom USB hosts for additional SIM Slots is a kind of requirements for critical infrastructure without network. The Access Control hardware is becoming more universal trying to respond to the increasing multitasking of our everyday life.
4. Flexibility of integrations
Integrations with 3rd party software is a “must have” feature for any product today. The systems is becoming more complex involving more and more tools and features. The bright example is Video Management systems, when VMS can control access control readers and cameras at the same time by creating a complex interconnecting environment, when all events are related. Cameras film Access Control events and the hardware sends video streaming through RTSP allowing to manage intercom requests through SIP line. The more performed systems are integrated with alarms, fire detectors, emergency buttons, by assuring the full security of the site.
5. Leads time
The last important criteria that is becoming critical nowadays is the leads time. The sensitive question of respecting engagement and project realization for each installer or integrator. At the era when the delivery time from some manufacturers exceeds 5-6 and sometimes 10+ months, the priority is to choose manufacturers who are producing the most of components ‘in-house’ and in large quantities, assuring sufficient stock of chips and external components and providing reasonable and transparent delivery calendar. For example, Suprema continues delivering the whole portfolio without any interruption even for large quantity projects.