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Biometrics to adapt to the ‘New Normality’



26 May 2020

With the gradual lifting of lockdown measures which has already begun in Spain, we face the challenge of adapting the protocols and spaces to the ‘new normality’, which brings new needs and norms. In the case of enclosed spaces, adequate access and movement control will be of particular importance, and we must find the right combination of technology and gadgets that will help us to be both freer and safer.

Reducing the number of people in places like shops or restaurants gives rise to the need for access control. And, in addition, the mechanisms of those controls which already existed in places such as airports, offices, hotels or stadiums will need to be changed. All of them must be contactless and paperless, and, moreover, in many cases that must be combined with the identification of people. In that regard, facial biometrics will become very important, as it permits identification without contact with the fingers or access cards, combined with new measures such as measurement of the body temperature in order to detect fevers.

Once we are inside the establishment, we must continue to make checks, such as counting the number of people in those cases where there is no access control, calculating the social distance between people in order to avoid crowding, or checking the use of PPE such as masks or goggles.

Those types of solutions - contactless and paperless systems, advanced identification with facial biometrics or developments in artificial intelligence and deep learning - may seem to be future aspirations which will take years to be implemented. However, those technologies are already available, and everis has been routinely implementing them for years with our own developments. In other words, the market trends are being consolidated and the process of implementation is speeding up, but, in most cases, they are measures that were already in place.

In addition, we are now adapting our solutions in order to rapidly respond to this health situation in particular. For example, the Security Division of everis Aerospace, Defense and Security (everis ADS) is now implementing temperature control systems in our identification devices (kiosks, facepods, totems) by means of thermographic technology which makes it possible to measure the temperature while carrying out the biometric identification process. And, for processes in which identification is not necessary, we integrate wrist temperature detection, so the person places their wrist close to the sensor, without any kind of contact, making it possible to obtain more precise data in a collaborative manner. 

Those technologies may be particularly useful at airports. For example, in Milan, together with our partner dormakaba, we recently implemented a self-boarding pilot system in which there is no contact or physical documents. The passenger can register from home via mobile phone using one of our applications, then access the security control and board the plane solely by means of facial recognition, thanks to our devices installed in the terminal. Now, in cases like this, we could also include temperature measurement.

But is it possible to transfer those systems to other environments? Not only is it possible, in this ‘new normality’ it becomes a necessity in places like offices, hotels or football stadiums. In the case of stadiums, for example, the gates could open automatically by means of facial biometrics systems once the fan has registered from home via an official mobile application. Inside the stadium, advanced video analytics would help control the distance between spectators if there are crowds in certain areas, check whether spectators are wearing the recommended protective equipment, or monitor body temperatures.

If we think about the case of a company, we can also model a contactless and paperless journey to manage visitors. A visitor could register from home using the appropriate ID by means of an application and receive a biometric QR code. When they arrive at the office, they show their code and face at an unmanned kiosk, which will then inform the contact person in the company. Then, they would identify themselves at a facepod using facial biometrics, which would permit access through automatic doors or turnstiles.

The technologies and solutions are very varied and they can be adapted to each specific case, so we could see these types of protocols at places like restaurants, shops, museums, libraries, hotels, government agencies, etc. 

In the coming months, we will increasingly see the implementation of technologies which help us to overcome this health situation. But not just that. The ‘new normality’ is already taking shape, and the processes and behaviours will change forever, so we are not talking about temporary measures but rather protocols which will probably become part of our lives. 


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