Archive for AR

Facial Recognition Glasses For Covert Surveillance

The “iFalcon Face Control” AR glasses that incorporate an 8-megapixel camera in the frame and NNTC facial recognition technology (are due to go on sale next year) are reported to have already been deployed into several security operations.

US / Dubai Manufactured

The facial recognition-enabled smart glasses are made by American company Vuzix and use facial recognition algorithms from Dubai-based company NNTC.  It has been reported that the NNTC facial recognition algorithms rank in the top three for accuracy in the US government’s Face Recognition Vendor Test and can detect up to 15 faces per frame per second, thereby enabling them to identify a specific individual in less than a second.

To date, only 50 pairs of the facial recognition-enabled glasses have been produced, all of which have been sold to security and law enforcement and are, according to NNTC, being used as part of security operations in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.

The iFalcon Glasses Won’t Need An Internet Connection

The iFalcon Face Control glasses that are due to go on sale next year will come with a portable base station.  This will mean that they will have a portable connection to a stored a database of targets, thereby giving the user greater mobility as they won’t need an Internet connection for the software to function.

Similar Used In China

Facial recognition glasses have already been used by police forces in China last year in order to keep blacklisted people e.g. certain journalists, political dissidents, and human rights activists away from the annual gathering of China’s National People’s Congress.

Other Deployments

Known use of facial recognition for law enforcement already happens in the US through its incorporation with body cameras and CCTV cameras, and in the UK it has been used in deliberately overt trials and deployments e.g. a two-day trial in Romford, London by the Metropolitan Police in December 2018 using use vehicle-mounted cameras, at the Champions League final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff 2017, and at the Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 and 2017.

Criticism and Problems

The use of facial recognition technology at events and trials in the UK has, however, come under fire over several issues including poor levels of accuracy, a lack of transparency in how it is used, the possible infringement of privacy and data security rights e.g. what happens to images, and value for money in terms of deployment costs versus arrests.

This led to ICO head Elizabeth Dunham launching a formal investigation into how police forces use facial recognition technology (FRT) in the UK.

Data security and privacy are such thorny subjects for agencies, organisations and businesses alike that even though using facial recognition to help organise photos has been a standard feature across the social media industry, Microsoft is now issuing an update to its Windows 10 Photos app that prompts users to perform the almost impossible task of confirming that all appropriate consents from the people in the user’s photos and videos have been obtained in order to use facial recognition to find photos of friends and loved ones.  This move shifts the burden of responsibility away from Microsoft to the user.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The covert and mobile nature of these new glasses not only seems to be somewhat dystopian and ‘big brother’ but could, in theory, provide a way for users to simply get around existing data protection and privacy laws e.g. GDPR.

As a society, we are to an extent, used to being under surveillance by CCTV systems, which most people recognise as having real value in helping to deter criminal activity, locate and catch perpetrators, and provide evidence for arrests and trials. The covert use of facial recognition glasses is, however, another step further on from this and from the deliberately overt and public trials of facial recognition in the UK to date.  As such, to be used in the UK, it will require faith to be put in the authorities that it is used responsibly, and that its accuracy is proven, and that rights groups are able to access facts, figures, and information about the technology, where and how it is used, and the results.  Presumably, the ICO may also have questions about the use of such glasses.

If there is no public transparency about their use, this could also result in suspicion, campaigning against their use and a possible backlash.

Google AR Glasses Enterprise Edition For Workers

Six years on from the launch of the first Google glasses, Google has announced the introduction of Google Glass 2 Enterprise Edition, glasses incorporating a wraparound camera and AR and designed to help workers by providing instant hands-free access to key information.

Improved

Following on from the original introduction of Google’s ‘Glass’, followed by the last Enterprise Edition back in 2017 which suffered from poor take-up due to an apparent lack of applications, Glass 2 Enterprise Edition is an upgraded version with a clearer target market, and a marketplace more educated to its benefits.

Who?

Google’s shorthand definition of its target market for Google 2 is those working in manufacturing, field service and healthcare, primarily because it has development experience, success stories, and easy to transmit benefits in these areas.  For example, Google has worked with several partners in the marketplace to develop Glass 2 and to help hone the glasses and give them maximum value in Enterprise settings in the target markets and beyond.  For example, Google has worked with partners including AGCO, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Sutter Health, and H.B. Fuller.

What and How?

Glass 2 is essentially a hands-free, wearable device for “smarter and faster” hands-on work that provides the information that an employee needs in the periphery of their line of sight.  This means that workers, all of whom have limited time and resources, only one pair of hands, and need to be in one particular place to complete their work can get immediate, safe access to expert advice around the world.

In this way, Google Glass can:

  • Help improve efficiency and client relationships e.g. health care professionals don’t have to spend as much time in front of a computer screen and can spend more time in front of their patients. For example, the technology reportedly saves (on average) two hours of doctors’ time per day.
  • Help reduce processing and training time e.g. in manufacturing and field servicing.  For example, DHL is reported to have seen a 15% jump in operational efficiency in item picking because employees can use Google Glass (2) to receive real-time item picking instructions while on the warehouse floor.

Upgrades

The upgrades in Glass 2 compared to the last Enterprise Edition include:

  • A more powerful multicore CPU (central processing unit) and a new artificial intelligence engine to improve performance and support for vision.
  • Glass-compatible safety frames to help in different types of demanding work environments.
  • Improved camera performance and quality.
  • The inclusion of an SB-C port that supports faster charging and increased overall battery life.
  • The fact that it’s built on Android, so it’s easier to deploy, develop and improve.

Price

The price tag for Glass 2 is reported to be $999.

Criticism

Google’s Glass products have suffered criticism in the past over concerns about privacy, functionality and safety e.g. possibly reducing peripheral vision while driving.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Wearables and AR are both finding many value-adding real-world applications in multiple industries, and with Google’s Glass 2 being a combination of the two it has the huge potential that it always had, but this time with some technical improvements, a clearer marketing focus, and some real business world success stories to help back it up and provide the social proof and ROI information that businesses may be looking for.  The high price tag could, therefore, be offset by the potential efficiency savings, and added employee and customer benefits that could result from enterprise adoption of Glass 2.