The fear of touching public surfaces sparked by the Covid -19 outbreak is spurring a shift from fingerprint sensors to facial recognition systems for allowing access to employees across offices in India.
This has another benefit, as it can also enable thermal scanning to check body temperatures and, thus, minimize the possibility of people with the virus infecting others.
A leading telecom operator wants to replace 650 fingerprint-based attendance systems with facial recognition systems across India. A large steel producing company is considering a similar move.
“From the first week of March, the number of enquiries related to facial recognition devices has increased. Corporates, which at present use fingerprint recognition and touch-based systems, want to install face recognition machines for attendance, access control, hotel locks, or boom barriers," said Manish Agarwal, director, Secureye, a Delhi-based security and surveillance solutions provider.
“Not only a few large organizations, but also many small corporate offices in Noida, Gurugram, Mumbai and Bengaluru are approaching us in this regard," said Agarwal.
Secureye has seen an almost 25% hike in the number of enquiries about facial recognition systems.
Chennai-based Ramco Systems has also been getting lot of similar requests. Demand in India is very high, especially in manufacturing, pharma, aerospace and companies with large workforces, said a spokesperson. “We are getting a lot of demo requests. Many of these systems will be installed once the lockdown period is over," the spokesperson said.
“Face recognition is anyway getting a lot of momentum. In the recent context, where touching a surface by multiple people has emerged as a potential cause of infection, I see face recognition getting further traction given its unique nature," said Sanjay Gupta, vice president and India manager, NXP Semiconductors.
Secureye provides face recognition systems for attendance and facial recognition-based access control. Ramco’s Innovation Lab has developed a facial recognition-based time and attendance system, embedded with temperature recording and Internet of Things-enabled doors.
The thermal imaging device will allow organizations track staff or visitors with high temperatures, which can be indicative of an infection. If the cameras detect a person with a higher-than-normal temperature, the IoT-powered door will not open, the human resource department will be informed and auto apply leave will be initiated on behalf of the ailing employee.
The use of face recognition has received a lot of backlash due to privacy concerns. However, Gupta says “such issues can be addressed by encrypting all face data. As long as the company storing the data can guarantee it is kept under an encrypted wrapper and no one expect the software tools connected to the system can access them, it is safe to use".