October 30, 2018
Pretty soon people won’t need to dig through pockets, briefcases and purses for their security badge or fob. A quick pause in front of a camera or an uninterrupted walk through a lobby may soon be enough for facial recognition algorithms to confirm your identity and unlock doors for you.
Facial recognition technology will soon be tested by WeWork as part of its “Powered by We” service, and it’s already being used by some retailers in New York’s massive Hudson Yards complex.
Within a couple years, we will likely see facial recognition become more widespread at sports arenas and stadiums, theme parks and commercial office buildings, says Matt Knight, Managing Director at venture capital firm Shadow Ventures.
Many tenants like the idea of a hands-free way to gain access to buildings and office suites without having to put down their bags or cups of coffee, Knight said recently on a panel discussion about the future of technology in real estate. The event was hosted by Bisnow at the Woodruff Arts Center and moderated by Patrick Braswell, Founder and CEO of Transcend.
Although some people have reservations about privacy issues, broader market acceptance of these new technologies is encouraging landlords and owners of arenas and other venues to pursue it. Privacy is already limited when people walk onto a commercial property or arena, and in the future leases, ticket purchase agreements and other contracts will probably have more language about accepting the use of these technologies in common areas such as lobbies, courtyards and hallways.
Other industries already testing or using facial recognition systems include retailers, banks, schools and universities, and transportation. Delta Air Lines last year began testing a facial recognition during flight boarding in conjunction with federal authorities.
Tens of millions of Americans are already in facial recognition databases created and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation using government-issued ID photos, driver’s license photos, mug shots and other sources, according to The Century Foundation. Facial recognition helped British investigators identify the Russian agents suspected in a poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the southern English town of Salisbury.
While facial recognition technology is still in its infancy in real estate, it has the potential to revolutionize security. For tenants, it could also be used for employee logins, access control to secure areas within the suite, and taking attendance at meetings.
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