We have all seen the hoopla around the addition of FaceID to the new Apple iPhone X – that you can now unlock your phone simply by looking at it. To be sure, this is a very exciting development. But as powerful as this new tech is, using it to access a phone represents just a tiny fraction of the myriad use cases where 3D authentication is going to be applied. There are a whole host of industries from airlines to automotive who are exploring this new approach to better correlate humans with digital systems.
Over the last ten years, the performance of face recognition algorithms has improved dramatically. Until now, these solutions used 2D data and their accuracy depended largely on variations in illumination, expression and pose. They also often failed, able to be spoofed by pictures or images. But as with all 21st century tech, huge strides have been made across the range of components needed to deliver cost-effective and robust 3D authentication.
With the introduction of tiny cameras and powerful AI-driven software, 3D face recognition has now become a viable option. Because it captures a wide range of unique data points including reflectance, depth and the angle of various facial features, 3D delivers much faster and consistently accurate authentication.
This is a market that is growing rapidly. Based on a recent Markets And Markets research report, the facial recognition market is going to be worth $6.84 billion by 2021, compared to 2016 when the number was around $3.35 billion.
The report also cited the top drivers in the market. Growing video analytics and increasing public sector deployment were at the top of the list. But there are also increasing number of applications in diverse industry sectors and verticals including monitoring public spaces, as well as secure identity management and document verification.
A great example is how 3D authentication is reinventing the security process at airports. No one likes to wait in a long line to take off their shoes and put their coat in a bin before stepping through a metal detector. 3D authentication used in this setting can deliver not only improved security but also a more comfortable user experience.
With the recent changes in immigration rules, the US government plans to use 3D facial sensors as part of a program requiring each visitor to register when they leave the US. In addition, this approach will also document people when they fly into the country, creating an airport-wide system which they officially call “The Biometric Pathway.”
British Airways has started using the technology inside Heathrow’s Terminal 5 main security screening area. A representative of the company said they view facial recognition as a way to reduce boarding time and dramatically improve the customer experience. Capturing travelers’ faces along with their boarding passes allows them to board the plane even without showing any documents at the gate.
The automobile industry is another vertical where 3D authentication is gaining traction. At this year’s CES show, many manufacturers were showing off various ways to use this approach in vehicles. An obvious application is for driver identification, but it is also able to provide in-cabin personalization, including setting the music, maps, and call history based on each driver’s preferences. Other exciting and certainly more impactful applications are using 3D-based awareness detection, assessing a driver’s level of focus with the goal of improving safety and reducing accidents. Your car will now know when you are drowsy, or your focus is not on driving but texting!
One rather unusual use of 3D authentication is being explored by a team at Port Said University: using your face to vote online. The process involves connecting several pieces of data and has tremendous potential. A voter’s face is captured and passed to an algorithm which uses the image as the first matching point. Another data point associated with the voter is then retrieved – information such as a social security number or driver’s license. This serves as the second data point. If the results match, the person is then presented with a voting form.
The list of potential use cases is growing every day. Casinos are planning the use of 3D authentication to identify addictive gamblers. Law enforcement has been known to use 3D recognition tools to search for criminals at sporting events and in other public settings like transportation hubs.
I look forward to seeing the new and innovative ways that 3D authentication is going to being deployed in the years ahead. I am confident that it is going to not only enhance and improve security, but also deliver better overall customer convenience and improve the user experience.
Stay tuned – exciting use cases are coming. We’ll look back and smile, remembering when 3D authentication was only available on a smartphone.
George Brostoff is the founder and CEO of SensibleVision, a leader in 3D face scanning authentication technology, headquartered in Cape Coral, Florida. He has founded three successful tech companies, holds seven patents and grew up working in a family business.