19 Sep, 2017

Facial Recognition Is A Trend You Want To Pay Attention To


We use our smartphones phones so frequently, sometimes it may seem that they know us and our interests better than we know ourselves.

Smartphones are just that, they are smart. They know us well and give us the ability to communicate, create, engage and be around the world without leaving our seat on the train.

They possess capabilities like sending us alerts when unique algorithms pick up a news story we may be interested in, based on our phone usage. Notifications are frequently sent to us through multiple apps that suggest things like who we may want to follow and engage with, or if we want to download new software to make us digitally advanced.

In fact, smartphones have become so prominent, experts have conducted studies revealing just how much time we engage with them. The results are not surprising. According to Statista, smartphone usage is on the rise.

“Just over 36 percent of the world’s population is projected to use a smartphone by 2018, up from about 10 percent in 2011.”

Smartphones have evolved, with tech enterprises like Samsung and Apple leading their industry into digital transformation.

We have seen phones integrate touchscreens into hardware that allows users to unlock their phones with a simple placement of a finger.The phone recognizes our unique fingerprint, enabling us to activate our phones through a seamless application.

Now, the world is being introduced to a whole new wave of mobile technology trends. One trend, in particular, is making a huge stride in the tech industry. It’s a feature that proves phones are able to know you better than you may think:

Facial Recognition!

“What could be more natural than a touch? A look. That was the insight behind Face ID, a powerful and secure authentication system that’s even more convenient than Touch ID. It makes unlocking and paying fast, easy, and intuitive.” Apple reports.

Yes, you heard that right. Our face now has the power to unlock our devices using an innovative technology known as facial recognition, or FaceID.

Apple has recently released news surrounding the new iPhoneX that will have this capability. It has created a huge buzz in the world, especially among tech giants and iPhone users.

So, What Is Facial Recognition?

To understand what facial recognition is, you must understand what biometric technology consists of. Biometric technology has been around for quite some time now and is seen in a variety of business operations such as workforce management, airports, and the police force.

Biometrics offer real-time data quickly and can save organizations time and cost when integrated. We saw it on the mobile phone when fingerprint scanners were created to unlock devices.

Now, face recognition technology is on the rise. This feature is a branch of biometric technology that works with, you guessed it, the human face.

“Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Among the features measured are face, fingerprints, hand geometry, handwriting, iris, retinal, vein, and voice. Biometric data are separate and distinct from personal information.” Bioelectronix reports. 

It basically takes pictures of people’s faces using a digital video camera. It measures the user’s facial structure, which can tell the difference between people’s features like eyes, nose, mouth, and jaw. These measures are compared and analyzed.

Every face has 80 nodal points in which facial recognition uses to distinguish landmarks and peaks that make up the face. Biometric systems work in a four-stage process:


Biometric systems work to capture a physical sample in a living, active environment.


After capturing a sample, biometric systems extract the unique data found, then create a new template.


Then, that template is compared with a new sample.


After the template is compared, the system makes the decision if the new data matches the sample.

“As the enrolment and verification images won’t be identical due to differences in capture conditions, your phone uses a threshold to determine whether they’re significantly different. A comparison score of 0.7 might be close enough under some scenarios, for example, and that minimum score is not a fixed number.” Forbes reports. 

How The iPhone X Face ID Works

With all the chatter surrounding Apple’s new iPhone, it has people questioning how this tool will actually work. With the help of innovation, extensive hardware, and machine learning, Apple has made it very possible for users to engage with this new technology.

“Machine learning algorithms are the instructions that allow machines to adapt, while an artificial neural network is a computer system inspired by the brain, whose interconnected structures (particularly neurons) provide the incredible processing power that enables an animal to learn and adapt to its surroundings.” Forbes reports. 

With Apple’s facial ID, your face becomes your new password. “Once it knows you, it knows you.” Apple declared after the release of the new gadget. You can change your appearance by growing facial hair, or add new accessories to your face. It doesn’t matter, because Apple’s unique hardware, called the A11 bionic chip, will forever recognize your face.

Taken from Apple.com

In order for Face ID to work, the user must look into the device with their eyes open. Using The TrueDepth camera system, a detailed map of the face is recognized in an instant.

A Dot Projector uses dots in order to build a facial map on the user’s face, which works hand in hand with the TrueDepth camera system, which is a combination of light projectors and sensors that take multiple images of facial features.

The infrared camera then reads the pattern, captures an image and sends data into a unique A11 Bionic chip that confirms an accurate match. In case you’re worried your face can’t be read in the dark, a flood illuminator is installed into the application that can help using invisible infrared light. 

These lights can also work outdoors, or indoors, making it an easily accessible tool no matter where you are.

Forbes put together a step by step process on how the face’s image is captured:

  1. “The proximity sensor and ambient light sensor help the TrueDepth camera system determine how much illumination will be needed for face recognition;
  2. The flood illuminator produces infrared (IR) light, part of the electromagnetic spectrum that’s invisible to the naked eye, to illuminate your face;
  3. The dot projector produces more than 30,000 dots of invisible IR light to create a three-dimensional map (for area and depth) of your facial landscape;
  4. The infrared camera captures images of the dot pattern and the IR light (a heat signature) that’s been reflected back from your face.”

Face ID Uses

FaceID allows customers to unlock their mobile devices, download apps, and even pay bills with Apple Pay. FaceID transactions are predicted to work 50% faster than TouchID.

It is meant to be an effortless and seamless application that users can operate in order to carry out day to day tasks that are normally conducted by using secure 6 digit passwords.

Security Concerns

The idea of unlocking your phone using your face features has brought about a buzz surrounding security questions from iPhone users. Since the FaceID has been released, many people have expressed concerns with exactly how secure their phone will be.

Since the facial recognition enables transactions that involve money and personal data, just how safe is your information?

Apple promises its users that the state of the art technology has been used while creating this feature.

“For additional security, Face ID is attention aware, meaning it unlocks your iPhone X only when you look toward the device with your eyes open. That means Face ID can also reveal notifications and messages, keep the screen lit when you’re reading, or lower the volume of an alarm or ringer.” Apple announced.

However, that may not be so convincing for users. It is reported by Wired, that in 2009 researchers proved that they can fool facial recognition login systems simply by using a printed out photo of the designated owner’s face, and holding it in front of the detector.

This proves that this recognition system can be vulnerable to attacks, which may cause iPhone users to stray.

“The mechanisms used by those three vendors haven’t met the security requirements needed by an authentication system, and they cannot wholly protect their users from being tampered,” the researchers wrote in their paper on the hack.

“An attacker can edit and adjust the lighting and angle of a phony photo to ensure the system will accept it, according to the researchers. “Due to the fact that a hacker doesn’t know exactly how the face learned by the system looks like, he has to create a large number of images…let us call this method of attack ‘Fake Face Bruteforce,” Darkreading reports.

Luckily for Apple, there has been a lot of technological advances since 2009. Apple has made hacking not as simple as the research above states, and the TrueDepth camera is the main reason why. Because this camera relies on invisible light dots, a printed out picture may not be enough to enter the secured phone.

Along with technical concerns from users, people have a broader concern when it comes to using their face to work their devices. For starters, this could just be annoying to use every day! Especially if someone adds new features to their images like glasses, piercings, or a hat. Will the FaceID really be able to read you accurately? Some customers tend to think not.

Our faces are the most open and vulnerable part of our bodies. If someone wants to compromise our faces in order to gain secure information, who’s to say it won’t be hard? Think about it. We post our faces on social media all the time. We are open to the public as much as we want to be. So, if our phones will now be controlled by our faces, does this open new doors for our secrets to be vulnerable?

There is no doubt that facial recognition will continue to grow after the iPhoneX is released. Soon, businesses may even incorporate this tool for operations, like company computers, or financial uses.

So, what is the answer? Experts are advising concerned users to only use the FaceID to unlock the phone, as opposed to using it for payments, so your financial information can be secured.

Although this may not be the only answer to the many questions that are emerging from the new iPhone, it is a start. Until then, we will have to wait and see what happens, and maybe hold off on growing a beard.


The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to present the second 2017 edition of Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly, put together by the industry, for the industry. Join us November 16-17, for a series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations from speakers like Robin Bienfait, CEO of Emnovatecollaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.

Limited sponsorship opportunities are available. Download the Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly Sponsorship Prospectus for more information >>

As we approach 2018, major enterprises like Apple are leveraging basic digital transformation tools like machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to integrate innovation into their products. This is changing the way customers interact with technology and is bringing a whole new realm of security concerns for tech customers. As a CIO, it is crucial to be on top of the emerging trends that are affecting the world and causing individuals to think twice about technology.

As we head towards a “Digital Industrial Revolution” we see the role of IT leaders even more prominent. In order to stay ahead of the competition, IT professionals must be equipped to meet the needs of the developing technologies. These technologies include but are not limited to facial recognition made possible through biometric systems.

Join like-minded professionals to gain a first-hand insight into the world of digital transformation. Learn from the best of the industry, share your own knowledge, and embrace innovation. Our agendas and attendee lists are for Millennium Members only. Apply today for access! Already a Millennium Member? Simply click the link and enter your password when requested.

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