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Tech & Science Facial recognition with your takeaway coffee

02:25  05 january  2018
02:25  05 january  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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It's a high-tech facial recognition system that works using cafe owner Geoff Cropley's own technology, which he's dubbed NoahFace. "I bought this cafe 3½ years ago and from day one I wanted to remember my customers names as I thought it was a way to have a better relationship with them," Cropley says.

It's a high-tech facial recognition system that works using cafe owner Geoff Cropley's own technology, which he's dubbed NoahFace. "I bought this cafe three-and-a-half years ago and from day one I wanted to remember my customers names as I thought it was a way to have a better relationship with them

Bahista Cafe owner Geoff Cropley has developed an application called Noahface which uses facial recognition to improve customer service and loyalty.© Dominic Lorrimer Bahista Cafe owner Geoff Cropley has developed an application called Noahface which uses facial recognition to improve customer service and loyalty. The faces of customers at Sydney's Bahista Cafe are scanned by an iPad as they approach the barista at the coffee machine.

Instantly the customer's name, favourite order and whether they are due for a loyalty reward flashes up on another iPad facing staff.

It's a high-tech facial recognition system that works using cafe owner Geoff Cropley's own technology, which he's dubbed NoahFace.

"I bought this cafe 3½ years ago and from day one I wanted to remember my customers' names as I thought it was a way to have a better relationship with them," Cropley says.

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our menu. AK takeaway .

" Facial recognition has started to become a requirement in new city surveillance projects in China," research firm IHS Markit said in a recent report. Face scanners even made it into the toilet stalls at a popular park in Beijing in order to stop people taking more than their fair share of toilet paper.

"I thought I could use my human brain and I failed miserably. I searched the world for a low-cost face recognition [system] and there was nothing out there, all the solutions were multimillion-dollar ones. So I went about creating what we have today."

The Noahface technology in action.© Dominic Lorrimer The Noahface technology in action. Cropley spent almost two years working on the technology with developer John MacLean and after a failed prototype, which was "too slow", launched NoahFace at the cafe in July 2016.

"Customers overwhelmingly love it," Cropley says. "They say they come to the cafe because it is so personal."

Bahista Cafe turns over about $1.2 million a year and Cropley says in the last 12 months of using NoahFace, business is up 37 per cent.

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Facial recognition technology has huge potential in consumer advertising as well as in surveillance and security. But there are ethical issues, says Luke Dormehl.

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Customers can opt out if they want to.

"We have a large sign at the point of sale which says we may record their biometric data for customer service and if they don't want to be part tell us and we won't put them in," he says. "We are very open and frank that we have this program."

A new era

Bahista Cafe is one of a growing number of small businesses around Australia utilising facial recognition technology.

Chris de Silva, global head of facial recognition at tech giant NEC, told NEC Australia's Advanced Recognition Systems Experience in October that facial recognition offers a new era of personalised service.

"Face recognition has been around in some form for a number of years, but really it has only been in the last few years that it has taken on a strength that makes it very viable," de Silva says.

"It can be used for authentication, identification and monitoring."

Chris de Silva, the global head of facial recognition at NEC.© Supplied Chris de Silva, the global head of facial recognition at NEC. de Silva says there is a lot of "disinformation" about facial recognition technology.

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Takeaway .com is a leading online food delivery marketplace, focused on connecting consumers and restaurants in 9 European countries and Vietnam.

NoahFace offers the fastest, simplest and most accurate business solutions harnessing the latest in facial recognition technology. From improved customer service, increased productivity, deeper data or smarter access, you will know your business and customers like never before.

"Some people like to talk up this Big Brother scenario," he says. "The issue is not the technology, but the issue of privacy and how you deal with that."

He says as facial recognition technology develops, applications of it will increase.

"We have some really good software and algorithms but how you apply it is really the secret sauce," he says. "We don't have all the answers to that."

NightKey

Paul Howie, NEC Australia's general manager for consulting and business solutions, told Fairfax Media on the sidelines of the event that NEC is working in partnership with lots of small Australian start-ups using facial recognition.

"In the small business space, we tend to be taking the large stuff and scaling it down to a transaction-based model," he says.

Night club entry and security system NightKey is one of the small businesses using NEC's technology after founder Mario Madaffari created a finger print registration system to be used at the entrance.

"With NightKey, we have added facial monitoring inside the night club to improve it," Howie says.

He says facial recognition technology is reaching a "tipping point", with the government looking to create a national facial recognition database.

Growth potential

​NoahFace has attracted more than $1 million in seed funding from a group of wealthy individuals, including Toby's Estate founder Toby Smith, and the technology is already being used in Bar Bellaccino in Sydney, Hotel Richmond in Adelaide and Coffee Roasters in Brisbane.

"We are now using the underlying technology in a range of other business solutions, including time and attendance integrating with payroll," Cropley says.

"Following that, which will be mid-next year, we will launch access so when you walk to a door it will open."

Canberra Airport and Rhino Rack Australia have signed up to use NoahFace's time and attendance technology and Cropley is enthusiastic about the potential for growth.

"The benefits of automatic, individual identification of people via facial recognition can apply to almost any business scenario," he says.


Comment: Has Glenn Maxwell finally got the message? .
Yesterday morning Australian skipper Steve Smith and the twice overlooked Glenn Maxwell met in Melbourne over coffee. Yesterday morning Australian skipper Steve Smith and the twice overlooked Glenn Maxwell met in Melbourne over coffee.

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