There is no doubt we are undergoing a silent revolution as the research, development and deployment of facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. I take a look at some of the UK companies that are making their mark in the facial recognition technology race.
Of course, facial recognition technology raises deep questions about privacy, bias and legality in regard to when, how or even if it should be used. But that surely won’t stop the rapid advance of this technology.
One of the more high profile and arguably controversial uses of facial recognition technology was rolled out earlier this year, when the Metropolitan Police started to use Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology. They say “We're using this technology to prevent and detect crime by helping officers find wanted criminals”. The technology used by the Met is supplied by a multinational company with its Head Office in Japan and over 300 group companies worldwide. But there are also some excellent UK companies that are at the forefront in the research and development (R&D) of facial recognition technology – here are four notable examples:
Facewatch Limited successfully crowdfunded nearly £500K back in 2015. Their pitch was: “Facewatch intends to bring crime reporting into the digital age. Using the latest technologies such as facial recognition, Facewatch is designed to help make our communities safer by allowing companies, individuals and the police force to share intelligence and report crime online.” One of the recent Facewatch use cases is with Southern Co-op, where a trial has been done using facial recognition to spot when a known offender enters a store.
Yoti Ltd is a growing UK success story with a different focus. Founded in 2014, Yoti has been successful in raising significant development funding from private venture investors. It initially concentrated on developing an app that would give “individuals a safe way to share personal details with businesses and individuals”. Today Yoti also provides businesses with identify verification services. Yoti won the Business Transformation award in the 2020 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards. It has also been involved in developing management software for a scalable mouth swab rapid test for Covid-19.
iProov founded in 2012, has developed a strong niche in its stated missions “to make the world a safer place using biometric technology for Genuine Presence Assurance”. Its facial identification software is being used by organisations as diverse as the NHS for remote, secure login and US Dept of Homeland Security to aid with biometrics for passenger travel across unmanned borders. Facial recognition software is an essential feature of challenger bank authentication technology and iProov is also working with banks to provide biometric authentication services.
Emteq is leading the way in taking facial recognition technology into the world of wearable technology. Founded in 2015 Emteq is a leader “in developing wearable technology to monitor and translate human intent and expression”. One of the applications is to aid those suffering from facial paralysis. “Our integrated solution provides unparalleled insight for the measurement of emotions, through facial muscle activity and biometric responses.” Enteq raised a £98,840 Grant from SBRI Healthcare in 2017 and a £100,000 grant from Innovate UK in 2018.
UK based companies like these, that are developing cutting edge technology, are able to benefit from generous UK government R&D investment incentives. To find more contact us.
Linda Eziquiel – Regional Director RandDTax