The Cutting Edge of Facial Recognition Capabilities

The facial recognition market is estimated to grow from $1.92 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion by 2018, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 27.7%. Interest in facial recognition spans many sectors, including government, utilities and business. North America is positioned to be the largest market for this technology.

How is facial recognition currently being used?

Businesses are using facial recognition technology to effectively promote their products to their target markets and to provide improved customer service. Current and prospective customers receive specific information based on various facial traits.

Advertisers aggressively compete with each other to get the consumer’s attention. The competitive advantage that facial recognition software can provide allows for increasingly targeted and relevant ads resulting in a bigger piece of the attention pie.

For example, Intel is using facial recognition software in their digital signage displays. These advanced displays are capable of recognizing characteristics such as gender and age and are able to evaluate how customers are interacting with the displays. The displays use touch screens to interact with the customer and feature everything from video and graphics to Internet sites and broadcast clips.

Charities are also benefiting from using facial recognition technology. Plan—a global children’s charity —uses facial recognition to educate the public about gender inequalities. An “Only Girls Allowed” ad that is placed on Oxford Street uses facial recognition software to detect the viewer’s gender.

Once females opt-in, they can view an ad about the impoverished lives of women and children in developing nations. Viewers learn what they can do to help girls have more choices and actualize their full potential.

Affectiva has developed facial recognition technology that measures emotion based on its reading of facial expressions. A television that uses Affectiva’s technology  can program a viewer’s television for them automatically based on emotional responses captured during past shows.

Coca-Cola is using Affdex, Affectiva’s facial recognition software, as a more calculated and effective alternative to traditional focus group and marketing surveys. The technology evaluates a viewer’s response by comparing their detected facial cues to a database of over 283 million facial frames. In this way, marketers can change their ads based on their viewers’ emotional reactions.

Facial recognition software has tremendous potential for law enforcement and security professionals. Technology, such as Animetrics’ ForensicaGPS, can compares facial images for identification purposes. This technology was recently used to compare a blurry image of one of the Boston Marathon bombers to a clearer image to demonstrate its potential law enforcement application in positively identifying criminals.

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What does the future of facial recognition look like?

Lambda Labs, a startup that specializes in facial recognition recently announced a third-party app for Google Glass, Google’s cutting edge smart eyewear, that adds advanced facial recognition to Google Glass‘s display.

How can the public benefit from using such a technology?

In a recent interview, Lamda Labs  founder Stephen Balaban posed a scenario: “You’ve got a lot of business contacts. You’ve met, say, a thousand people this year. You could imagine [an app] having reference to your current contact book… and when you see someone again, it’ll whisper in your ear their name, their company… It kind of does it for you automatically.”

Of course, this capability opens up a can of worms in terms of privacy-related concerns. This is an issue that will be addressed in future blog posts.

Now imagine facial recognition technology that can be used to perform market research tests to evaluate the effectiveness of a website. Such a technology would be tantamount to a futuristic version of Facebook’s ubiquitous Like button.

Want to experience facial recognition capabilities firsthand?

Computer users can install BioTrust to use their face instead of a username and password to access their computer.

Upload your photo to Pictriev and Rekognition (both free to try out) to get a taste for tomorrow’s facial recognition technology today. You will get a read of your face. It’s currently limited in terms of accuracy and capability, but stay tuned…

For an impressive experience with how facial recognition software is being used, you can also visit the Affectia demo site to try out Affdex for yourself. Watch a commercial while using your webcam. Affectia will detect minute changes in your facial expression. View your results to learn about your emotional responses to the ad.

Photo Source: Lambdal and Flickr


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