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Why cities should consider using facial recognition

Why cities should consider using facial recognition
More and more, municipal officials are turning to technologies to make cities smarter, safer and more livable. In this regard, facial recognition can come in handy to help solve various challenging municipal issues.
More and more, municipal officials are turning to technologies to make cities smarter, safer and more livable. In this regard, facial recognition can come in handy to help solve various challenging municipal issues.
“Driven by data intelligence and grounded in values of sustainability, mobility and connectivity, cities can streamline their evolution by embracing new technologies, backed by data and artificial intelligence,” said a recent blogpost by Convergint. “One emerging technology that is becoming more important for cities is facial recognition. By integrating facial recognition capabilities cities are enabled to improve their performance.”
According to Convergint, facial recognition brings various benefits for cities. These are summarized as follows.

Find and recover missing persons

Locating and finding missing persons is always a top priority for municipalities, and facial recognition can help in this regard. “Facial recognition can significantly accelerate technology operators’ efforts by enabling them to add a reference photo provided by the missing person’s relatives and match it with past appearances of that face that have been captured on video,” the post said. “Using facial recognition to search video based on the approximate area and time the person disappeared, police can quickly understand the person’s movements before going missing, locate where the person was last seen on camera, and configure real-time alerts to trigger an alarm whenever face matches are identified.”

Identify and track known offenders

According to the post, face matching can be used to enable police to track and identify past offenders suspected of perpetrating an additional crime. “By using an image of an offender from within a video, an uploaded external image, or a national offenders repository, operators can use facial recognition to detect matches that appear in live video and quickly respond to suspicious behavior,” it said.

Efficiently investigate and reduce crime

Needless to say, fighting crime is a major effort for any municipality. “The same way face matching can be used to detect suspicious behavior in real-time, it can be used to support investigators searching for video evidence in the aftermath of an incident,” Convergint said. “The ability to isolate the appearances of specific suspects and individuals is critical for accelerating investigators’ review of video evidence to pinpoint relevant details and understand how situations developed.”

Manage city staff and optimize their productivity

Internally, facial recognition can also be used to drive productivity within city hall, the post said. “By tracking the appearances of city workers across the cameras at city hall, the city can easily verify and track attendance records. Similarly, they can use it to confirm that cleaning staff is performing the maintenance being reported as complete,” it said. “From a customer service standpoint, cities can leverage video analytics to derive quantitative intelligence about traffic patterns at city hall, like when crowding occurs, how long visitors wait for service, or which city employees are most efficient in providing support.”

A word on regulation compliance

While facial recognition has become more accurate and can help cities with various objectives, it has also introduced a range of issues and concerns, including those dealing with residents’ privacy. “Cities and governments are still exploring how to balance the benefits of technology with the legal and regulatory concerns over its use. The laws governing the use of video surveillance and facial recognition vary from country to country, and when deploying such a system, it is important to comply with the applicable regulation,” the post said. “Cities continue to work with their technology producers, federal governments, and residents to navigate the use of face recognition, ensuring fairness, transparency, accountability, and privacy compliance.”

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