Has Facial Recognition Finally Been Legitimized?

Recently I noticed a commercial for a new cell phone by one of the major mobile phone players that used facial recognition for both authentication and bill payment.  This reminded me  of a time three years ago when Biomids, Inc., company founder, Frank Mann, and I were visiting a major wholesale outlet, and he was convinced even then that facial recognition could be used on cell phones and at the cashier station to speed along the checkout process.  We even went into the store to watch how time consuming it was for some customers to fish through their wallets to find their membership cards. He would say, “If you can speed along the checkout process, you can eliminate some of the cashier stations, make more room for product, reduce staff, and increase customer satisfaction.  His thinking was ahead of its time and spot on.

Yet Frank’s creative foresight didn’t stop there.  He viewed the actual applications of biometric technology as seemingly endless.  For example, recognizing the staggering increase in on-line class enrollments for things like professional certification courses and degree programs, Frank visualized the use of facial recognition as a means to monitor students during test-taking in order to deter and detect cheating.

But not satisfied with the simple use of facial recognition as a one-time occurrence, he foresaw the facial checking activity as a continuous process that could occur every 30 seconds and even coined the phrase, “Persistent AuthenticationTM,” which validates the presence of a test-taker, that the test-taker is the person who enrolled, and that he or she is alone in the camera view.

It was out of this thinking that Biomids Persistent ProctorTM was born.  Frank’s thinking was to combine Persistent AuthenticationTM technology with other forms of digital surveillance, integrate it with major learning management system vendors, and make it available as a web-based application available anytime and anywhere.

So returning to the initial question, all the above innovations were just begging for a major technology player to jump into the biometric swimming pool with both feet, affording to customers the perception of legitimizing facial recognition technology. And now, at least for the moment, we’ve seen that happen.   Of course, Frank could have told them so 3 years ago, but we’ll have to leave that for another article.

Biomids, Inc., is a Massachusetts-based, biometrics solution company founded in 2012.