Three questions for an expert: Instantaneous facial screening in video feed

Presented at the 2013 Milipol trade show, Morpho Argus® is the video-stream facial recognition system from Morpho. We caught up with Claude Bauzou, the Product Manager.

First off, could you tell us about Morpho Argus' specific features?
Claude Bauzou: This facial recognition application can analyze video streams image by image in real time, isolate faces and determine if an individual who passes through a specific place is listed in a database in approximately four seconds. If this happens to be the case, Morpho Argus can send alerts in two ways. Firstly, the application can simultaneously display two photos on a computer screen: one of the person picked up by the camera and one of the similar face recorded in the database. This method is suitable for systems in which people have to stop walking for a moment, for example to go through a turn-gate with a ticket; the security officer has time to compare the two photos and act accordingly, if he/she thinks it is indeed the same person. In situations where the flow of people cannot be stopped, the application sends a notification to the cell-phone of an officer in the field, with the photo of the person.

What kind of video streams can be analyzed?
C. B.: Morpho Argus is compatible with all IP cameras[1] but the performance levels are much better with very high definition cameras. As a general rule, we advise and support customers concerning Morpho Argus' installation conditions, which have a great impact on the system's efficiency; this includes the type of camera, the visual environment, brightness, the way the people pass in front of the camera, etc. The ideal conditions are what is known as "directional", meaning people move and look (therefore orient their face) in the same direction, and where the interior lighting is fully controlled.

What are the potential uses?
C. B.: In terms of the market, the primary use involves searching for people registered on a prohibited-access list, for example hooligans banned from stadiums, cheats or players banned from casinos, etc. However, the application can also draw on an authorized-access list, to ensure special hospitality services for VIP customers, for example. There are several potential applications in airports, where the flows of people are often channeled: Morpho Argus could be extremely useful for combating illegal immigration or for pinpointing luggage to be checked at customs.
Morpho Argus can also be used for intelligence purposes. It can record an individual's visits to specific places in order to recreate their habits and movements.
There are many potential uses that remain to be invented, since the market is a long way from reaching maturity. Facial recognition technology is moving forward quickly, and, in the not so distant future, it will be possible to detect wanted individuals in less restrictive conditions than today.

[1] An IP camera or network camera is a surveillance camera which uses Internet Protocol to transmit images.