The 'New World Order': Smart Self-Service Kiosk – The Future Is Biometric
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Smart Self-Service Kiosk – The Future Is Biometric

Biometrics in our lives

Customers, clients, visitors, staff; your organisation revolves around people – every one of them a completely unique individual inhabiting a planet of billions. The ability to recognise differences in those people that matter to you, to locate them, track them – even to instantly and accurately pinpoint and identify one of them, gives you access to invaluable data and limitless opportunities.

Biometrics determine identity by measuring the physical characteristics or traits that make every human being unique. Biometric devices can verify identity by recognising characteristics including fingerprints, finger veins, iris, retina, hand (palm), or face measurements. Behavioural biometrics or traits include a person’s gait, voice, signature or keystrokes.

Size of the market

The growth potential for biometric systems are significant and kiosk companies that adapt their products to host the technology can expect to see significant new market opportunities present themselves. The global biometrics market revenues are anticipated to reach US$20bn by 2018 according to a recent report published by TechSci Research, entitled Global Biometric Systems Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018; 61% of this revenue comes from US and EU markets. Growth is anticipated to be in line with public acceptance of the technology.

Smart Kiosk

Argus Global lead the way with their Smart Kiosk. It is a totally customisable solution that uses accurate biometric identification to deliver an automated, personalised user experience. Imagine a kiosk that can recognise and uniquely identify an individual – and then use that information to take actions predetermined by you, depending on the identity of the person using it.Neatly encapsulated in a compact, self-contained, self-managing unit, Smart Kiosk has been designed to look unique, so it fits in with the environment it will be working in. A touch-screen interface ensures a simple, straightforward user experience. Select the biometric technology best suited for the application needed. The Smart Kiosk can be integrated with an iris camera, a fingerprint reader, face or voice recognition software – or a combination of any of these identification methods.

Interactive Kiosk By Cisco
Facial recognition technology

Until recently, face recognition systems have been utilised primarily in high security environments, but as the technology becomes mainstream, the diverse solutions it can deliver have wide-ranging applications across all market sectors. In the UK, face recognition is used at major airports including London Gatwick and London City, to manage people flow – analysing and directing visitors in real-time. At another classified UK airport, the application is used to compare faces in live video streams with images on a security watch list. Ontario Lottery & Gaming have installed face tracking cameras in Canadian casinos to check players’ facial images against a database of compulsory gamblers – and in Panama, face recognition is employed for border control in Chiriqui Province.

Visitor management

Argus have embedded Cognitec FaceVACS-VideoScan software into their system. It identifies and analyses people in lossless, encrypted video streams. It stores the footage for constant comparison and re-recognition. Systems that identify queues of people, bottlenecks in public places and transit times between locations are of great interest to retailers. The system can also generate alerts when certain criteria are met; such as presence of specific individuals or density of people in a certain location. This can be used for targeted advertising or to call forward staff to assist with an unfolding scenario. Furthermore it can be linked to access control systems to enable authorised and valued visitors to gain access to certain areas of a building without the need for fobs or security passes. It offers a high degree of accuracy in its statistical and demographic data, which is available via a real time dashboard.

Customer engagement in the 21 century

Since 2010 businesses have used a combination of screens and embedded cameras to capture the attention and measure the interest in content. The most common practice is audience measurement; where advertising impact is to be measured against a target demographic profile. Imagine a system that captures age, gender, ethnicity, intensity of emotional response and attention time of the viewers. How useful would this be to marketing agencies trialing different styles of brand awareness campaigns? As a retailer you could add gesture technology, an engaging interface and access to a database of your goods. Now you have a useful interactive technology that told you the type of person that liked a certain product. Furthermore by hosting the same system in multiple geographical locations it can augment your understanding of user preference across borders. This has sales and operational implications for your product mix across a wide consumer base.

Cash kiosk of the future

A BBC news article (16 July 2013) explained how Diebold, a security and software company, are developing the next generation of cash machines that will incorporate touchscreen interface with embedded facial recognition camera technology. The combination of secure pin entry and facial matching will significantly reduce the possibility of fraud. Furthermore the camera will offer personal safety features with a live video feed on screen to ensure that the authorized cardholder can see what is happening behind them.

Privacy and biometrics

Along with the benefits of biometrics come privacy considerations. This is understandable and in many ways mirrors the concerns of a previous generation whom experienced the introduction of CCTV. Some of the perceptions that surround this technology are well founded and other concerns are based on misconceptions of how the technology works. Eric McDonogh of Argus Global explained that being part of The Biometrics Institute has ensured that an ethical approach to implementing this technology remains forefront in their approach to business. Eric has offered a response to the common questions asked;

Unauthorised use; people will steal my biometric data and create a false identity? “When a person is initially enrolled using a biometric device, for example an iris camera, fingerprint reader, or finger vein scanner, an encrypted template is produced and held in a database to be used for matching each time the individual presents themselves for biometric identification. The database does not hold any images of the person’s actual face, finger or eye, only the encrypted template. This renders the possibility of someone replicating an individual’s biometrics, extremely unlikely.”

It is not reliable; what if it doesn’t recognise me and I cannot access some important service such as banking service or access to a building? “It is really about using the right biometric ID method for the task at hand. The principle of all biometric technology is unique identification, but there are variances in reliability, measured by False Acceptance Rates and False Rejection Rates (FAR and FRR). Biometric devices that are intended for mass applications, for example those used in laptops and phones, typically have a higher FAR than those used in airports, where security is paramount. All manufacturers should be able to give you an indication of their FAR and FRR.“

A bright future for biometrics

Biometrics are already here and are in common use by border agencies, security and media companies. The technology is gradually gaining widespread use in private businesses including retail and public sector. As everyday applications for biometrics can enhance customer services and operational capabilities there is a credible ROI offered by their implementation. Imagine a Smart kiosk that can reliably and securely identify you and then deliver the kinds of services that you want. Smart Kiosks deliver a better customer experience and provide meaningful data that will enable a business to adapt its service delivery methods.