Original publication: Forbes Magazine
By Gary Fowler, Forbes Business Development Council
Imagine this for a second: video and content analytics that allow you to identify persons of interest ahead of time. Or imagine if accidents could be prevented with the help of technology that has the power to identify signs of fatigue in drivers’ facial expressions.
Or, what if we could hold uninterrupted large-scale events in stadium-scale venues and allow audiences to enjoy the spectacles with no disruptions in the process?
With artificial intelligence technologies on the rise, they are transforming everything from our daily lives on the smallest scale (like our entertainment services) to how cities are built on the largest. In important matters ranging from security to efficiency, AI is changing the conventional approaches we have become used to. It’s opening doors to new possibilities in taking our efforts to a whole new level with the help of progressive technology.
AI-powered video and audio analytics applications are here today — and they are very much real. One of the most surprising but already successful applications of such AI technology is in sports management and event supervision. An increasing number of sports organizations rely on such tools to help ensure visitors’ safety and prevent emergency situations. Such solutions include smart camera systems and AI analytics.
And it’s not about simply capturing a high-definition video anymore; the sophistication of such technology has gone above and beyond what the human imagination can perceive and picture. Today’s solutions incorporate artificial intelligence, big data and private cloud access, which can allow companies to conduct easy video and audio search across data to identify specifics such as people and faces. When technologies like these are paired with predictive analytics, large-scale venues could be capable of detecting and taking action on potential disruptions faster.
Among the stadiums that have been experimenting with facial recognition technology is Madison Square Garden, which is home to the New York Knicks and a frequent host of large concerts and events. The purpose of applications like Madison Square Garden’s is to scan the attendees’ faces, compare the scans to the existing database of people, and identify potential persons of interest who may cause some sort of disruption. Venues have mostly applied this technology silently and with very little commentary that I’ve noticed; however, despite the privacy worries around this issue, the technology certainly opens up a lot of opportunities to take audience safety and security a step further.
Outside the U.S., stadiums around the world are increasingly relying on facial recognition to keep track of fans who have previously been blacklisted, removed and banned for security reasons. At the World Cup in 2018, facial recognition facilitated an arrest — and the system reportedly led to the arrest of a total of 42 suspects in the month before the event.
Danish club Brondby IF was another sports organization that has hopped on this accelerating bandwagon — the club installed security cameras and software developed by Panasonic at its Copenhagen stadium. The club has been applying the technology to identify previously banned fans from a blacklist database. The system operates on machine learning algorithms that learn to recognize the facial features of the attendees that match those of the people listed in the database. When the system finds a match, the security staff of the stadium is notified.
Think about it for a second. With such large events that invite large crowds — often thousands of people — to the venues, emotions can run high and lead to tumult and disruptions. For instance, 3,778 fans were reportedly removed from American college football games during one season.
In such a climate, AI security technology could almost become a necessity. However, the benefits of AI-powered video and audio analytics don’t end there; in fact, the technology can be applied on a much wider scale across many more industries.
Modern business organizations and law enforcement institutions nationwide have also found new ways to apply this technology to improve security.
Businesses and law enforcement organizations around the U.S. have also embraced facial-recognition technology to improve security. The New York Police Department, for one, used facial recognition technology to identify the man who left rice cookers in a subway station, which triggered a large-scale evacuation in the face of a bomb threat. Thanks to this technology, the case was thoroughly investigated, and the threat was removed.
Airlines and border protection have taken significant steps toward streamlining security through biometric technology as well. Airport checkpoints are going through a technological transformation known as airport screening. This process could replace manual checks in the near future. Airlines are already using this new method to check guests in (paywall) in cities including Atlanta and Minneapolis, and they’re replacing the physical boarding passes and travel documents to accelerate the screening process.
Undoubtedly, I believe such technology can help unleash any business’s potential; however, it’s important to take the implementation process one step at a time. It’s important not to get blinded by the seemingly unlimited opportunities technologies like these may offer and instead focus on the areas of the business that are fit to be the first to go through such a fundamental technological advancement in the most efficient manner possible.
It’s equally important to consider the environment the technology will be introduced into — specifically when it comes to your company’s employees. For such a progressive technology to truly exhibit the best results possible and yield faster improvement in areas like security, the employees of the company — in essence, the key driving force behind any company’s success — should embrace it, be educated on it and feel empowered to symbiotically work alongside it for the best results.
The future is here today, and AI and facial recognition technologies emerging every day could make it more real and palatable than ever.