Facial analysis or facial recognition – what’s the difference?

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Facial analysis or facial recognition – what’s the difference?

It’s surprising how many people misinterpret the two terms or believe they are one and the same thing. Yet knowing the difference in today’s privacy-dominated world is crucial. In many ways it’s as different as good and evil. Look no further than the recent news stories about the ‘big brother’ aspects of facial recognition security systems in operation across cities and towns throughout the world. However, such systems aren’t necessarily as personally intrusive as you might be led to believe and can ultimately benefit society and businesses.

Here’s the difference between the two technologies.

Facial analysis:

The analysis of the face in terms of age-group, gender, expression etc. It can help you know detailed information about your customers in a store without divulging sensitive information about the customer that may lead to their identification.

Facial recognition:

Recognises the face in an image/frame. It identifies/recognises the face that belongs to a specific person. For example; when you upload a picture to Facebook, you get recommendations regarding tagging your friends or yourself. That is the facial recognition capability of Facebook.

The key takeaway is that Facial Analysis collects generic data that remains anonymised, whereas Facial Recognition literally puts a name (and other information) to a face.

Creating new selling opportunities

The value to businesses and retailers using Facial Analysis is that they can use this data to improve the service and experience delivered to customers in real-time by identifying complimentary information or products based on the age-group, gender, expression and so on without compromising laws such as GDPR and other regional data protection acts.

What can today’s AI-driven Facial Analytics platforms detect?

Common demographic information that can be processed by digital camera systems include; age-groups, gender, emotions (such as happy, sad and neutral), beards and moustaches, sunglasses & glasses.

What other information is it possible to capture now or in the near future?

Other useful and insightful data that such systems can collate includes; number of visits, visit duration, brand recognition, hair colour, clothing colour, average dwell time and stores visited.

While facial recognition in retail and business can be deployed to identify potential threats from thieves and shoplifters or a highly personalised customer experience, both industry and privacy advocates are naturally uncomfortable where this leaves shoppers and clients with regards to their rights to privacy or indeed how you obtain a frictionless method of consent and opt-in.

Facial analysis on the other hand offers businesses a comfortable halfway house through an anonymised and discrete route to gathering useful visitor data without breaching the trust barriers presently under serious debate at the moment.

For more on how bidooh’s facial analysis digital signage platform helps retailers boost sales, visit our retailers page.