Is facial recognition an option as we look for coronavirus answers?

25/3/20, 9:00 am

The global picture surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing by the hour in every nation. This includes the closure of Australia’s borders on March 18 and on March 23, forced closures of pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Since then Australian States and Territories have been sequentially closing their borders to almost all non-essential travel.

The one-and-a-half metre rule is doing its bit to curb the spread of COVID-19, but it isn’t foolproof.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is placing a stark focus on the health risks associated with human touch.

Can Facial Recognition Help With Health Measures?

In recent weeks, Australian transport staff have been disinfecting tap on points at public transport entry and exit points.

Facial recognition could do away with the need for the touch or “tap” element in travel entirely.

This technology exists now and some Australian governments are considering facial recognition trials in their transport networks with a view to a future uptake. The pandemic is likely to see these plans fast-tracked.

Notwithstanding the obvious health benefits of thousands of commuters not having to physically touch a card reader each time they pass through an entry or exit point, just think of the improvements in speed of people movement and safety at crowded train stations and ferry and bus terminals.

A passenger’s face would be their ticket to ride, their payment linked through facial recognition to a bank account or credit card, relieving the need for gates that open and close.

Other Applications

Airlines have successfully trialed facial recognition at some of the world’s busiest airports in a kerb-to-aircraft-seat concept, improving speed of processing and getting passengers to where they want to be, faster and with less stress.

Corporate offices can use facial recognition to validate entry to buildings, doing away with the need for lanyards and those creamy-white ID cards.

Biometrics technology can also be applied to tackle student attendance. When online classes become more prevalent due to the COVID-19 outbreak, facial recognition ensures that a person whose image is captured on registration is the same person attending class.

This will become even more crucial if in the near future the examination season is forced to be held remotely.

It may just turn out that when we get through all of this, facial recognition may be a healthier, faster way to move through our daily lives.

Roger White
Corporate Communications Manager