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Facial recognition makes the smart home smarter

Convenience or privacy? Nowadays, technology often prompts users to select. Security for your home is smart, and it brings this uncomfortable choice home. After all, smart home devices must collect and share information to provide worth. However, the techniques and capabilities that ensure that smart home security is seamless (like automatic syncing of devices) can also make them challenging.

Face recognition can take the security and privacy issues of smart home systems to a new level. Smart security cameras, whether with the option of facial recognition or not can be intercepted, functionality and footage maliciously distributed by hackers. What happens to cameras that create a database that matches faces with names? Biometric data can make the threat of hacking more threatening, and creates a new, generalized issue: the racial bias.

Facial recognition: what it is and how to use it

The latest technology is often expensive however, it is also inefficient and controversial. Facial recognition hits all three. The technology is a huge potential in a huge range of applications- in airports, in crowd management as well as in grocery stores where cameras on the shelves can detect the mood of shoppers. Facial recognition has applications practically everywhere, for example, the security of your house.

Face analysis algorithms permit security cameras to recognize the typical faces of your family. This makes for better system control (the camera will “recognize” you at the door and deactivate your alarm) and also increases the accuracy of alarms.

But the current technology is still a bit clunky. You have to expose the camera to faces you wish it to recall through adding photos or by letting the camera take their picture. Facial recognition cameras develop the database of familiar faces (most are able to remember between 16 and 32). Because faces are 3D and are constantly moving and not static like a fingerprint, cameras have to learn faces by seeing them from different angles over time for a couple of days or more. You may have already had this experience if you have set up face ID on your brand new iPhone.

Analytics are performed in the camera itself and are a blessing for privacy. Faces and names aren’t transferred to a company server and therefore aren’t subject to data breaches of a large scale or exploitable for business purposes. It also means that getting an alert for a recurring offense criminal is far off.

Face recognition makes the smart home smarter

The security device that can remember faces improves both efficiency and prevention. First-time users can get past to the “Hey, Alexa” style of system control. The simple act of showing your face to the camera will allow you to set the temperature of your room to your desired 71° and turn on Spotify.

The facial recognition feature also provides more actionable information to system alerts. Instead of reporting that an anonymous visitor to your door at 2:33pm A camera that detects facial expressions can inform you that it was your grandma. False alarms begin with false alerts. A facial recognition camera able to parse a loved one from an intruder will cut the number of false alarms and lets you know when it’s worth calling the police.

A few smart cameras provide facial recognition.

Face recognition is not a common feature on CCTVs for security at home. There are a few cameras boasting the technology actually come with it. There are a handful cameras that have facial recognition software from Honeywell, Nest, Netatmo, Tend Secure, Wisenet — but more are on the horizon. Abode, ADT, and LG all showed facial recognition devices during CES 2020.

Notably, Ring Alarm, the security company acquired from Amazon during 2016 and is associated with a frenzied innovation process is yet to include facial recognition into its smart cameras.

In the end, for better or worse Amazon envisions exactly such the future. An Amazon patent outlines the pairing of Ring doorbells with Rekognition technology. Such an upgrade would effectively link cameras for citizens with police databases.

Face recognition comes with its own drawbacks.

Ring cameras don’t yet feature facial recognition, however their reputation for bad press has received in the past year shows the technology’s potential negatives, including big brother surveillance, loss of privacy, hacking, and the practice of racial profiling. Cameras have a difficult time recognizing those with dark skin. This weakness can have a significant consequences if footage from cameras is utilized to locate criminals.

Privacy and bias in technologyThese are two main reasons why you should not use facial recognition. The relative positive effect of facial recognition on the environment is another. Face recognition software takes time to build its database and is easily tricked. More basic the device it is, the more likely shadows or sunglasses could cause it to be thrown off.

What should you look for when looking for security cameras that recognize faces

Facial recognition, while still in its infancy and as tense as it could be, is a brand new technology in artificial intelligence. The ability to detect a person’s facial features is a unique human capability.

If you’re interested in adding face recognition technology to the security of your house, you should shop for the best security system and put privacy in your mind. Make sure you purchase devices for your home that have strong protection protocols installed. At a minimum, this means two-factor authentication, as well as regular security updates. User-friendly controls to turn off video, audio, or specific capabilities (including the ability to recognize faces) are crucial as well. Make sure to place your facial recognition device in a way that it is recording only those within your property — not everyone who passes by. Consider putting up a sign near to alert anyone who walks onto your property that they are being monitored.