ETL replay: Facial recognition in the event industry

Taking his place on the Brand & Buzz Stage, Exposure Analytics’ commercial director, Rob Murdoch, engaged the audience of Event Tech Live 2019 in a talk on facial recognition.

Listing some general uses for facial recognition, Rob explained that it has been used to help find missing people, identify potential threats, assist book-lending in libraries and enhance security at cashpoints.

In the event industry, this technology can be used to speed up check-in processes, improve security, offer more accurate data and personalise the event experience for attendees. However, organisers need to obtain consent from their audience before it can be used. This is due to the public’s privacy rights set out in the GDPR.

Detection versus recognition

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“Face detection is a computer technology being used in a variety of applications that detects human faces in digital images.” This would allow organisers to identify the gender, age-range and facial features of the attendee but not identify them specifically.

“Facial recognition is a biometric software application capable of uniquely identifying or verifying a person by comparing and analysing patterns based on the person’s facial contours.”

Rob stressed: “Data sets are only as good as what you do with them,” stating that he has known plenty of organisers who don’t follow-up on the data they have at their disposal.

Rounding his talk to a close, Rob explained that organisers should consider the potential risks of using this technology and weigh them against the benefits to their audiences before deciding whether to use it. Additionally, organisers should ask themselves whether the return on this extra information would benefit them.

Event Tech Live, Europe’s biggest show dedicated to event technology, is completely free to attend and is returning to the Old Truman Brewery on 4th-5th November 2020. For information on exhibiting at the show, please email ella@ampevents.co.uk.  

This footage was kindly captured by our friends at First Sight Media.