The Benefits of Including Facial Recognition in a Mobile App

Once upon a time, the concept of facial recognition seemed like something that only existed in science fiction stories. It’s real, though, and the facial recognition market is expected to reach an $8.5 billion valuation by the year 2025.

Faction recognition technology has come a long way over the last several years, and it’s now used in a variety of apps, from shopping apps to dating apps.

Are you curious about utilizing this type of technology? Read on to learn more about face ID and facial recognition, including the top benefits of including this type of technology in your next mobile app.

What Is Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition systems use biometric technology to map facial features based on photographs or videos.

In the past, facial recognition has primarily been used for enhanced security purposes. For example, mobile banking apps may use facial recognition to ensure that only you can access your banking information.

These days, though, facial recognition usage is expanding and is included in a variety of apps across all industries, from healthcare to retail. 

How Does It Work?

Facial recognition technology varies from device to device and platform to platform. At the same time, though, all systems go through the same steps, including the following:

  • A face recognition system will use a computer algorithm to pick out specific and distinctive aspects of a person’s face (the distance between their eyes, the shape of their chin, etc.)
  • These aspects are converted into mathematical representations, then compared to data from other faces that have been collected in a database (this data is often referred to as a face template; it’s different from a photograph because it only includes details that help to distinguish one face from another)

Facial recognition systems vary quite a bit when it comes to their ability to identify people, especially when they’re used in challenging conditions (poor lighting, suboptimal angle, etc.). This technology has come a long way over the last several years, though, and it’s much more effective and accurate than ever before.

History of Facial Recognition Technology

The earliest ideations of facial recognition started back in the 1960s. Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe created a system of measurements that could be used to categorize photos of people’s faces. Using these measurements, new and unidentified faces could be compared to data points from previously entered photos.

Around the year 1967, law enforcement officers started to take notice of Bledsoe’s research and were interested in utilizing it to help with security and identification efforts. Throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and beyond, facial recognition technology became more advanced. It also became controversial.

On a positive note, facial recognition systems helped officials to confirm the identity of Osama Bin Laden in 2011. This technology also played a key role in helping with the arrest of a thief in Chicago. At the same time, though, the growing use of facial recognition came under fire when it was used to identify and target protesters, including those who were speaking out against the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. 

Facial recognition still has plenty of critics. However, there are plenty of others who sing its praises and are excited about what it has to offer consumers throughout the world. This is especially true as more businesses begin incorporating it into their apps and software programs. 

When used properly, face recognition technology has the potential to revolutionize many different industries, which explains why so many business owners are looking for ways to incorporate it into their products. 

Benefits of Facial Recognition

To some, facial recognition may seem a bit unsettling at first. In reality, though, there are lots of benefits to including this feature in apps and other digital products.

If you’ve been on the fence, consider the points made in the list below. Here, you’ll find some of the top reasons why you should utilize facial recognition technology in your next mobile app.

Increased Privacy for Users

Many proponents of facial recognition technology are in favor of including it in their list of app features because of the added layer of privacy it offers. In other words, face ID features provide additional security and reduce the risk of people’s data and their digital property being stolen or used for nefarious purposes.

It’s important to note that, in general, face recognition technology cannot be tricked using photos of a person’s face. This is because most apps use 3D modeling and, therefore, don’t respond to 2D images.

Easier Transactions

Facial recognition software can make it easier for mobile users to make in-app transactions (as well as transactions on the go), too. Android and Apple devices alike offer features that allow users to simply show their face to confirm a purchase, rather than having to remember and type in passwords before they can buy something.

A variety of app types (from gaming apps to ecommerce apps) can benefit from facial recognition when it comes to in-app purchases. The easier it is for people to buy things (whether it’s a tangible product or a digital one), the more likely they are to follow through and do so. This, in turn, leads to greater profits for the app creator. 

Better Healthcare Services

Facial recognition tools are also being used these days to offer a higher level of remote healthcare.

With the help of face recognition technology, patients can be easily evaluated for symptoms of common illnesses. For example, if a patient was showing signs of facial swelling or a rash on their face, their physician would be able to use this information to provide an accurate diagnosis and give them an effective treatment protocol right away. Facial recognition tools can also be used to identify signs of potential genetic disorders.

Patients are able to gain the valuable insights that face recognition has to offer, but they also don’t have to worry about driving to the doctor’s office (or finding a ride if they don’t have access to a car), sitting in the waiting room, exposing themselves to potentially sick people, etc. 

More Effective Advertising

Facial recognition features can help businesses to learn more about their customers as well.

A person’s facial expressions can provide valuable insight into how they perceive a specific product or offer. With the help of facial recognition, it’s easier for businesses to analyze people’s responses and assess how their products or services are being received.

Not only does this help businesses to create a stronger bond with their customers, but it also helps them to fine-tune their offers in the future.

They can use their assessments of people’s reactions to figure out which products, features, offers, etc. they resonate with the most. Then, they can offer more of those moving forward.

Increased Accessibility

Facial recognition technology also allows for increased accessibility for those with disabilities. 

For example, a few years ago, the mouthwash brand Listerine created an app that was designed to help blind people pick up on people’s facial expressions. The app would scan people’s faces and then alert the user with a vibration when someone was smiling.

The goal of this app is for users to be able to understand social situations with more ease and feel more comfortable in groups, even though they aren’t able to physically see what’s happening around them. 

Better Ecommerce Experiences

In addition to simplifying in-app purchases, facial recognition can create better ecommerce experiences in other ways. For example, brands can use facial recognition to allow customers to “try on” products like glasses (a la Warby Parker) or jewelry from home to see how they look before they move forward with an order.

Utilizing this type of technology creates a better customer experience, of course, but it also decreases the likelihood of products being returned (which is expensive and hard on the planet). Customers may also be more inclined to make purchases in the future or recommend the app (and the company that launched it) to their friends and family members. 

Better Dating App Pairings

On a lighter note, facial recognition features can be used on data apps to lead to better pairings. Some dating sites that are dabbling with this type of technology have based their decisions on the research that suggests that people are more likely to be attracted to those whose facial features are similar to theirs.  

With this information in mind, dating sites are moving forward with facial recognition technology, using people’s images to pair them with users whose facial features resemble each other. 

There’s still a lot of room for improvement in this arena. However, as dating apps become more sophisticated, facial recognition software could possibly play a key role in helping compatible individuals find each other. 

Entertaining Social Media Features

Finally, facial recognition technology can also be used to make apps, including social media apps like Instagram and TikTok, more entertaining.

Many of these apps offer fun filters that allow users to alter their appearance and create engaging content for their own feeds and timelines. If you’re working on a social media app right now, it’s definitely worth it to consider including facial recognition technology.

How to Include Facial Recognition in a Mobile App

After reading through the benefits of facial recognition, are you interested in including it in your next mobile app project?

The good news is that you can enjoy the benefits of facial recognition even if you’re not equipped to implement the technology yourself. Listed below are a couple of options that will allow you to start utilizing facial recognition technology in no time:

Use a Third-Party Face Recognition Framework

It’s simply not realistic to expect the average business owner to create their own facial recognition system from scratch. Most of them don’t have the time, the resources, or the skills to write their own facial recognition algorithms. Furthermore, they don’t need to have these things to be successful.

In 2021, tons of third-party face recognition frameworks can be used in the app development process to include facial recognition features in the finished product. The following are some of the most popular facial recognition frameworks and APIs (short for Application Programming Interface, a type of software that allows two different applications to communicate with one another):

  • Animetrics
  • EyeRecognize
  • Face++
  • Inferdo
  • Kairos
  • Lambda Labs
  • Microsoft Computer Vision
  • OpenCV

    Some of these programs, such as OpenCV and Face++, are free to use, but most of them require an upfront investment from you.

    Depending on the type of app you’re creating and the level of sophistication you need from your facial recognition features, it can be worth it to spend some money now to get a better system for your customers or clients.

    Work with an App Development Agency

    Are you feeling unsure about which facial recognition system or API to use for your app? Are you feeling completely overwhelmed by the idea of creating an app with face recognition features?

    If you said “yes” to either of these questions, you may want to consider working with an app development agency instead of trying to handle everything on your own.

    If you choose this option, you’ll have access to a team of professionals who can take on all aspects of the app development process for you. From customer and competitor research to quality testing and updates, they’ll do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your other responsibilities.

    An app development agency will have access to the latest technology and tools, too. This means you’ll be able to use the most sophisticated facial recognition technology for your app and will be able to rest easy knowing you’ve got a high-quality product to launch on the app store.  

    Create Your Face Recognition App Today

    Are you interested in using facial recognition in your next app? Do you want to work with a development team to ensure you’re using it correctly (and in a way that will benefit your customers)?

    If so, we can help at Digital Engage. Contact us today for more information on our app development services or to get a quote.

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