Facial Recognition Is Revolutionizing Biometric Security Systems
Facial recognition is no longer a concept from science fiction movies; it is being implemented in our everyday life. And it offers some real advantages when it comes to security. Learn about how facial recognition works, how it can and is being used to improve commercial security, and how college campuses are implementing facial recognition.
What Is a Biometric Entry System?
Technological innovation has changed the way we think about security. Recently, biometrics play an increasing role in the security system options that are available. Identifying individuals by distinctive characteristics, biometric systems use a fingerprint, palm, face, or iris for authentication.
A biometric entry system uses unique data collected from the physical characteristics of individuals to identify people as they approach an entry point. Working together with an advanced access control system, biometric applications grant access only to those who are authorized. This is similar to the way a proximity reader verifies the unique code in a user’s fob or access card.
Effective Use of Biometric Entry Systems
Biometric information cannot be transferred or shared by individuals, in the same way keys, entry codes, or access cards could be. This makes it an extremely secure and accurate way to validate personnel. Biometric entry authorization is recommended for high-security, low-population facilities or areas of the building.
These types of entry systems can be installed in public and private buildings to verify the identity of authorized personnel, track traffic, attendance, time stamping, and more. Combining a biometric system with an access control card system for dual-factor authorization can significantly strengthen the level of security in a building.
For entryways with high traffic, this type of system tends to slow down the movement of people and become difficult to manage. In these environments, a proximity reader may be preferable to speed up the flow of entry.
Advantages of a Biometric Entry System
Because fingerprints, palms, facial features, and the iris part of eyes are unique forms of physical data that are specific to individuals, using it as authorization input to enter restricted areas can prevent fraudulent access and trespassing. These access systems are very convenient for both managers and users. There is no fear of lost or stolen keys, forgotten passwords or misplaced entry badges. Identity verification is straightforward and effortless.
Additionally, biometric systems are:
- Highly accurate,
- Provide traceable accountability,
- Efficient at increasing security, and
- Flexible and scalable.
Concerns About Biometric Systems
Justifiably, people have a lot of questions and concerns about this new and constantly developing technology. Here are a few of users’ most frequently asked questions.
How Is Collected Biometric Data Secured?
Biometric entry systems safely store information. When a fingerprint, palm print, face or iris is scanned, the actual biometric data is not stored in an on-site database. Instead, a numerical code is given to each individual’s physical data. This unique numerical code prevents fraudulent duplication or transferral. For this reason, biometric systems offer a higher level of security than traditional keys and even key card access systems.
How do Systems Ensure our Privacy?
Basic system management measures can control who is able to access the biometric database where information stored. First, a protocol should be established about when specific information can be shared with third parties. Next, all employees collecting and accessing biometric data should be properly trained to use the information appropriately. Then, limitations should be set on who can download certain types of information when necessary. These steps decrease the risk of data being shared with unauthorized people or being stolen.
One additional option is to employ hierarchical access to the database, which allows only authorized administrators to view certain personal information corresponding to their position within the organization. With a hierarchical system, top management is only able to view the information that is necessary to carry out their job.
How Facial Recognition Works
Specialized computer software captures ‘faceprints’ made up of the unique measurements of a person’s facial features. There are more than 80 points surveyed by a facial recognition system. It measures things like the width of your nose, the distance between your eyes and the length of your jaw. Each faceprint is then checked against a database of headshots to identify the person.
The technology has made great advances and is now able to accurately scan faces from a distance, identify people in motion and even while passing through high-traffic areas. In the last five years, a new algorithm has been developed which is more like our human visual system, than a camera lens. Systems now incorporate infrared technology and motion detection. People no longer need to stand still, face the scanning device, or be in a well-lit environment to be correctly identified. The accuracy rate of facial recognition software continues to improve as testing and development pushes the technology forward.
You may not know it, but your face is becoming a key form of biometric input. Facial recognition technology has already been implemented by the police, public safety officials, airport security, banking institutions, and even social media.
How Facial Recognition Is Used for Campus Security
In campus settings, the ultimate goal is to prevent tragic shootings like the one at Virginia Tech University. The recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, for example, was carried out by a student with documented mental health issues who had been expelled. Security experts say that facial recognition would have kept this gunman from entering the school.
Facial recognition software can compare the faces of students and teachers entering the building with the database of images already on file. New faculty and students have their face scanned at the beginning of the school year. Then, the powerful system can recognize them as they enter every day by sifting through thousands of pictures.
The database can check each person against a targeted database. This should include students who have been expelled, faculty who have been fired, and registered sex offenders, for example. An advanced facial recognition system can simultaneously scan many visitors passing through busy entrance points. It can also alert security personnel of unidentified visitors and track anyone who has not checked in. Modern systems offer schools and colleges the possibility to track traffic live and notify local law enforcement if there is a problem.
Though there is no clear solution, this type of technology is another tool that campuses can use to help protect students. Some factors to consider in a school or university environment are data security and access to the facial recognition data, system management, and if students will be allowed to opt out.
Where This Technology Has Been Implemented
China has been a leader in using facial recognition systems. This year, Peking University in Beijing had scanners installed around campus to help decrease the number of unauthorized visitors. Entry points to the campus grounds, libraries, computer centers, classrooms, dormitories and sports facilities were equipped with cameras. Beijing Normal University has also adopted a facial and voice recognition system for students.
In the United States, facial recognition is becoming a reality for campus security too. The University of San Francisco has facial recognition to manage access to dorm facilities. Before the start of the 2018 school year, the Lockport City District in New York installed 300 facial recognition cameras in eight schools with the help of a grant from the state. In March, the Magnolia School Board in Arkansas decided to spend $300,000 on a facial recognition system with more than 200 specialized cameras. This decision was motivated by the need to increase security at two secondary schools in the district.
Related article: Get more advice on how to Upgrade Commercial Security Measures.
Commercial Security Solutions for Today’s Business Needs
Great Valley Lockshop is your local expert in commercial security solutions. We also have a wealth of experience assisting some of the biggest colleges in the country secure their campuses. Our services include hardware audits and the design and installation of advanced access control systems for schools and universities.
Contact the commercial locksmith and commercial access control system installation experts at GV Lock in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Call us at (610) 644-5334 or request a free estimate through our simple online form.