Few new customs that have emerged from our increasingly digital world have drawn quite as much scorn as the selfie. It’s been viewed as the ultimate expression of social-media-driven narcissism—a view so widespread that in Quebec—where a government agency comes up with French words for new technologies—it’s been officially dubbed the “égoportrait.” But, behind the jokes and the Snaps, facial recognition technology is already helping people do more than just get likes. In fact, it might not be long before you’re taking selfies in the office.
How it’s playing out
Selfie tech has already arrived at some businesses. Intel Security’s True Key password management app lets users log in to a variety of services using biometric data like fingerprints and facial recognition. That’s right—you can already log in to your email with a selfie. The product hasn’t quite gone mainstream yet, but an integration with Microsoft recently announced on Business Wire may help.
Other players are also eyeing the use of facial recognition technology to open doors—literally. In October, Jaguar Land Rover filed a patent application in the US for a system that would automatically unlock a car’s doors for its owner using facial recognition technology. But this still isn’t quite a “selfie.” The system would use two cameras, one of which would take a video of the driver doing a specific preset action, like waving, while the other would watch the way the driver walks. The results from the two cameras are compared with biometric data stored in the system to ensure the doors don’t open for the wrong person. According to Jaguar Land Rover, the system is designed to replace key fobs and other technologies that have made unlocking car doors a more seamless process but that can still be lost or stolen.
Payments are also getting a dose of selfie tech. Pilot projects at two subsidiaries of Japan’s second-largest bank, the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, are allowing employees to pay for purchases at the staff cafeteria by taking selfies. The technology, developed by another Japanese company, NEC, is expected to begin tests in retail outlets next year.
Saying goodbye to passwords
So where does selfie tech go from here? One of the most interesting possibilities is for it to be used not just to add more security in the office (though you can be sure it will), but to add more security to the remote office, too. The days of connecting to conference calls and remote desktops through complicated multi-password processes could be over in a snap.
It’s not just about convenience—it’s also about security. Some of the most common tactics used by online criminals to compromise passwords—like phishing—just won’t work with facial recognition technology. For organizations that struggle with employees who use the same password for everything at work and at home, facial recognition software will eliminate many of the risks. Selfie tech could also be a simple way to add a layer of protection to devices such as networked printers that are often neglected when it comes to network security.
For IT professionals, the advantage of facial recognition technology in the office might even be a little simpler—the end of password reset requests, because, after all, no one forgets their own face.