This month we find out if facial recognition technology will be adopted by facilities managers in the future.
Technological advancement is rapid these days, along with the acceptance of our loss of privacy. The Metropolitan Police recently announced that it would begin to use live facial recognition technology on London's streets.
The plans have been controversial, with some arguing that it infringes on human rights.
Last year, developers in King's Cross, London, started using facial recognition technology but faced a backlash over privacy issues, which meant they had to stop.
Fingerprint and eye retina sensors are already being used in some instances and even the idea of implanting workers with microchips is being touted. So this month, we ask you if facial recognition technology is something that facilities management could be adopting in the near future?
Choose Progress over tradition
We make it our business to explore everything that's coming to the market that may benefit our customers, which means we're constantly investing in and trialling new things, albeit cautiously. It's not just about moving from a reactive to a proactive threat mitigation service, it's about embracing the opportunities that this modern world offers so we can become more of a strategic partner to our customers.
We believe cutting-edge technology coupled with an innovative approach has the power to transform the security landscape for the better. Facial recognition software can identify and alert organisations to unwelcome visitors. It can also be used to enhance the customer and employee experience. Ultimately, though, it can better ensure the safety of all occupants within a building. Yes, we must consider data protection and the cyber threat in the face of this advancing tech, but that doesn't mean we should dismiss it altogether.
Facial recognition isn't new. In fact, it's already evolving. Facial marketing software, for instance, can provide retailers with the insight they need about who's coming into their store so they can run instantaneous direct marketing campaigns. This currently sits on the periphery of the standard security offering but for how long? We've already seen the merging of security and front-of-house. How long until a third dynamic - marketing - is introduced? I'm not a traditionalist. I'm an advocate for progressiveness.
Steve Moore is MD Security, Atalian Servest
Astoundingly clever tech
Facial recognition technology is a key consideration in the race for new innovations within FM and security in 2020. Anything that can make us safer is a benefit. However, successfully integrating facial recognition technology requires a balancing of the pros against the myths and cons that can abound with this topic.
People are concerned about the 'Big Brother' environment, and rightly so if the technology finds its way to the wrong hands. An essential step of rolling out this technology is to educate the public and ensure their perception is based on facts. The onus rests with experts to ensure information is shared accordingly.
Is it a tool for FM and security services of the future? Absolutely. The technology behind facial recognition is astoundingly clever; it is a concise and robust system. Even in the next three to five years, I believe we will see it widely used across businesses, FM and even in personal lives. There definitely is a place for it within the security sector, so long as it is used appropriately, for the right reasons, and by the right people.
Darren Read is MD at Amulet
A people-plus-digital model is best
Until recently, CCTV technology had largely remained unchanged since it was first invented in 1942. But an unprecedented threat level, especially at capacity-crowd events, has forced rapid advances in the field of camera monitoring. Today, security providers can make use of multifocal, ultra-HD cameras that allow for facial recognition while still maintaining a total field of view. When partnered with AI software it can profile stadium crowds, proactively determine risks before they develop into something serious, and it can also be linked to turnstiles to identify banned individuals.
There is a need to partner new technology with 'traditional' security. Not just because it's unable to physically intervene if anything occurs, but also because it works best when partnered with a manned guard's innate sense of risk.
What's needed, then, is a 'people plus' model, in which security officers are trained to recognise risks that emerge as a result of increasing digitisation. In the future there will surely be cases where it makes complete sense to replace people with technology, from both a business and safety perspective. For now, though, it appears the security officer is here to stay, so long as its remit moves with the times.
Steve Gardner is head of security, OCS
A solution to evolving threats
Some have expressed outrage at the use of facial recognition in security cameras. But this tech is collecting little more than the information many volunteer to Facebook when 'checking in' to a site. The essence of security is understanding and accounting for risks, and so at Corps we put the newest technology into practice but avoid any rashness that may have got some companies into hot water.
Facial recognition is a way of the future as the security sector adapts to evolving threats. It's being used to check biometric data of staff as they access the building. This double authentication of checking passes and biometric data reassures staff and frees a security officer to take on more complex roles.
Corps believes in finding the perfect balance of seamless functionality and highly reliable security, both in regard to our clients' premises and our own business practice. The complexity of facial recognition and our implementation is a fantastic analogy for finding that balance.
Seetan Varsani is regional operations director, Corps Security