Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hotels to install facial recognition technology

Hotels to install facial recognition technology

Houston Hilton hotel installs facial recognition; system can ID suitcases, employees and guests

USA Today, Houston, TX - The 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston - Houston's biggest hotel - has installed a cutting edge digital video system that relies on facial recognition technology. The system will let managers track employees, locate missing suitcases, recognize a VIP guest - and much, much more.

"The system will also allow us to do things we never thought about," John Alan Moore, the hotel's director of security and life, says in a Hilton press release.

Security: For security problems that happened already, the system can find relevent surveillance footage in seconds rather than hours, which can aid in solving crimes and possibly prosecuting criminals. Hotel security could also derail potential dangers before they happen by, for instance, uploading a digital image of someone who is banned from the hotel and letting the system send an alert when the person shows up. Moore gave the example of entering an image of a homeless person who wants to sneak into the hotel; using facial recognition, the system would issue an alert if the person walked into a hotel so security so then hotel security could then escort the person out of the hotel. In serious cases, footage can be stored and e-mailed to an insurance company or local district attorney, the article says.

Track employee behavior: The hotel plans to monitor areas where employees punch the time clock, which can verify the person's identity, the article says. The hotel is also using the facial recognition system to watch for suspicious activities of employees or former employees, the story says. "If someone leaves under bad conditions, we set up alerts for that," Moore tells the publication. The hotel informs employees that video monitoring is taking place, says.

Find guests' missing items claims: The hotel says the system can aid customers who've reported an item has gone missing inside the hotel somehow. The system can locate items using its color, directional and object search capabilities. For example, if a customer's suitcase was lost, the hotel says it will be now be able to locate it almost instantly by following the luggage piece using a search based on color and object from the time it entered the hotel through to its present location, the release says. In this hotel alone, more than 7,000 items are reported missing each year.

Monitoring garage traffic: To improve traffic flow in its parking facilities, the hotel can use the system to count arriving vehicles. That can help managers determine if they need to adjust the number of valet parkers on staff on specific shifts. The system can also help when there's a car in the garage area.

Impress loyal guests: Like it when a hotel front-desk clerk greets you by name? Well, then you might like this. "Another aspect of the system that Hilton Americas-Houston feels will be useful is its ability to recognize repeat customers," the release says. Moore says that they'll tie in the system with its front-office systems to "flag our Gold Card members in order to be able to blow them away with service."