By Richard Carriere
Managing a building today is akin to playing a game of whack-a-mole, as multiple converging challenges create new headaches for property managers.
Tenants deserting expensive offices in large cities, as well as lease modifications to accommodate new hybrid model testing demanded by remaining tenants, are posing legal and financial challenges. Meanwhile, thanks to hybrid work, the roster of people entering buildings is now ever-changing, putting pressure on space allocation, access control, and security. To top it off, returning at-home workers now expect a heightened level of service from an office management team shrunken by labor shortages and budget restrictions.
To tackle these compounding issues, property managers are leveraging advancements in AI and biometrics. Facial recognition technology (FRT) is one such tool and is appearing in all categories of properties, for use cases ranging from multi-factor authentication to VIP user experience.
To both maintain peace of mind and provide enhanced service for every person who enters their building, facility managers should incorporate FRT.
Combining Accuracy With Easy Installation
When a subject looks at an FRT-enabled camera, the facial recognition engine creates a temporary encrypted template from hundreds of identifying vector points, sends that template to a secure server, and uses a trained algorithm to compare this template to the one that was created when the subject opted to enroll into the system. The encrypted templates protect the system from outside hacking, while the opt-in process allows a building’s FRT system to verify the identity of people who have chosen to enroll.
Contrary to a popular belief, modern FRT doesn’t save your face in a database, and good FRT also comes with robust anti-spoofing capabilities that detect impostors attempting to impersonate someone using pictures, videos, masks or other techniques.
The top facial recognition technologies are over 99% accurate as rated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and are still 98% accurate when subjects are masked, since they can also work off vector points between the eyes that remain exposed. Leveraging computer vision, top FRT tools can even identify multiple subjects in frame at a time with the same level of accuracy.
Many facial recognition technologies work on the edge, meaning they can be installed in almost any IP camera and linked back to a centralized server with higher processing power – allowing for hundreds of security cameras to be equipped with the ability to identify in-frame subjects in real time.
Biometric Technology Keeps Buildings Secure
For facility managers, facial recognition can provide a contactless and efficient way to verify the identities of everyone who walks into their building.
With FRT-equipped cameras stationed at each entrance, people can be instantaneously identified without having to check in at a desk. The system can even highlight known bad actors and send real-time notifications to alert building staff of potential threats when connected to a VMS (Video Management System).
To safeguard restricted areas, FRT cameras can be placed near protected automatic doors inside the building, and they can be linked to only open for select subjects. Since FRT is both more accurate and cost-effective than iris and fingerprint scanners, it is the optimal option to keep restricted areas secure. For example, a market-leading technology manufacturer is currently completing the implementation of FRT to thousands of access doors in its facilities around the world.
Combining RFID- or NFC-enabled access cards with FRT creates an even more secure solution. A leading airport facilities service company was already using NFC-enabled cards for its 1200 employees working in seven Colombian airports. Deploying FRT ensured a highly accurate record of each employee’s access to secure areas and dramatically reduced the risk of unauthorized visitors in sensitive areas.
Removing Bottlenecks To Improve Time And Attendance
FRT can also make the sign-in process easier, faster, and generates accurate attendance records. Once employees are registered in the system, they can passively check in and out without needing to stop at a desk, swipe a key card, or even slow their walk to the elevators or their workstation. The FRT system can provide the facility manager and HR with time and attendance information for each employee.
For over a year, a global manufacturing company has been using FRT in a large facility in Taiwan to quickly screen over 20,000 employees and contractors each day, as well as limit entrance to certain areas of the factory. Previously, employees had to wait in line for up to 30 minutes each day to enter and leave the factory. Now they just walk in and out so time compliance has significantly improved.
The same airport facility services company mentioned earlier is also using FRT’s high accuracy to match in and out readings with their own employee timetables and has improved their shift compliance rate from 25% to 96.2%.
A Contactless Experience For Visitors And VIPs
One-time visitors as well as VIPs can be offered to enroll in a company’s facial recognition system, automatically adding them to the visitors’ record upon arrival, notifying their host, and even unlocking doors to areas accessible to them.
Face enrollment can be assisted by a receptionist, who can match a quick picture of a VIPs face to their ID, or performed by the visitor directly, either online or at a check-in kiosk located at a facility’s entrance.
A Japanese smart office technology company is currently using this technology to automatically sign in pre-registered visitors and direct them all the way to a meeting room through a system of automatic doors and guiding screens. Facility managers can set a room to only open for those invited to a certain meeting, and the system can also direct visitors to other building amenities and help them exit, all through automation.
The Future Of Facility Management
Building administrators are handed many small, unexpected problems daily. By automating mundane tasks, managers can focus on safety and service, leading to increased tenant retention.
With facial recognition as a vigilant watchdog and check-in helper, facility managers have one more tool in their belt to keep everything running smoothly.
Carriere is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of CyberLink, a leader in facial recognition technology. He leads worldwide marketing, overseeing branding, strategy, communications, and web commerce. He also manages the company’s U.S. operations. Carriere holds a master’s degree of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College. He also graduated from the London Business School and the Université de Montréal.