The Importance of Facial Recognition during COVID-19

The Importance of Facial Recognition during COVID-19

Published on : July 27, 2020

What is the importance of facial recognition during COVID-19?

  1. Temperature detection even with masks
  2. Compliance with quarantine guidelines
  3. Opportunities for contact tracing
  4. Improved access control


There has been a growing debate on the use of facial recognition during COVID-19. More industries have been made aware of the impact of surveillance technology on how the virus can be curbed. There needs to be an adoption of new techniques that can improve the reliability of facial recognition mechanisms during this period.

Despite the increasing need for this technology, there has also been growing concern regarding potential abuses of it. People may be wary of artificial intelligence being utilized to collect sensitive information such as personal data. Government surveillance of its citizens, as we know, is not a novel phenomenon. As such, there needs to be an assurance that the technology in question will not be used for malicious intents and purposes — especially during a health crisis. Continue reading to learn more.


Temperature detection even with masks

Temperature detection even with masks

One of the most obvious advantages of advanced facial recognition technology is that it can enable temperature detection even with masks. The wearing of face masks has become the norm — it’s almost impossible to step outside and find a single person who does not have this material as part of their clothing.

As some commercial spaces turn towards adopting fever detection systems, they need to be able to protect their spaces and determine temperature-related information through this kind of system. Fortunately, developers are constantly finding out the best ways of integrating images of people wearing masks as a way of “training” facial recognition systems and the algorithms used. ELID’s line of ThermoTrak devices is one great example of this.

Through smart fever detection screening, their devices are capable of accurately detecting the temperature of a given individual despite the presence of face masks. A person only needs to walk up to the terminal and have their temperature detected in less than three seconds.


Compliance with quarantine guidelines

Government authorities need to be able to do everything they can to alleviate the health crisis situation. Facial recognition would be useful in this regard, as it offers a convenient avenue for public authorities to identify whether populations of a given area are complying with quarantine guidelines.

There is currently no reliable scheme of this nature that is being conducted in the Philippines. Instead, designated personnel are situated in strategic locations to monitor or subsequently limit the movement of individuals, if necessary.

With the adoption of facial recognition technology, however, it would no longer be necessary to have this personnel be manually posted in such locations — after all, this may even impede efforts on mitigating the pandemic. Instead, facial recognition cameras can be set up at certain terminals to monitor the movement of individuals. If given that there are enough safeguards and remediation against the abuse of this type of technology, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be trialed in high-risk areas in the future.


Opportunities for contact tracing

Opportunities for contact tracing

Countries which are currently lacking the necessary resources to monitor patients who are under surveillance, or under monitoring have not been able to implement a centralized method of contact tracing. It wouldn’t be a surprise to imagine that they’ve resorted to ineffective schemes of contact tracing.

Delegating the responsibility of contact-tracing to the people isn’t necessarily the best way to go about the situation. There have been several cases of COVID-19-stricken patients escaping quarantine facilities, or providing inaccurate information regarding exposure to the virus. The result — having to close down entire health facilities due to avoidable decontamination efforts.

Facial recognition can make contact tracing efforts more seamless. One of the primary drivers behind this is that it can be integrated with already-existing technology — like GPS and CCTV cameras, for example. Governments can now have a source of accurate and reliable information regarding individual whereabouts, thereby greatly assisting in contact tracing.


Improved access control

As mentioned before, facial recognition can be incorporated into other kinds of access control systems. When utilized in a particular commercial space, it would become more effective for industries to limit the entry of individuals who have exhibited unusually-high temperature readings upon undergoing facial detection.

These spaces would be better armed to protect the surrounding individuals as well as, prevent instances of the virus from further spreading. Unlike the use of manual systems for temperature screening, which requires a person to hold up a no-contact thermal device, there is a smaller possibility of cross-contamination in advanced facial recognition.

On the other hand, facial recognition will also greatly alter the way biometrics is done. Implementation of a no-contact scheme in determining authorized entry would eventually set the standard in the future.


Key Takeaway

Facial recognition during COVID-19 is still somewhat of a pipe dream for public authorities who wish to make use of this technology. Nevertheless, it’s evident that facial recognition can greatly alter the efficiency of COVID-19 virus-tracking efforts, as well as quarantine compliance.

Despite this difficulty, companies like ELID have been able to successfully develop smart fever screening systems that can still produce accurate results despite the presence of PPEs. As the virus continues its rampage, it won’t be far off before other, more innovative solutions for mitigating the virus are developed.