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22 October 2019

How to Use Face Recognition in Your Access Control System

Face recognition, whether on its own or as part of a two-factor authentication system, has quickly become a popular option for securing access-controlled environments. In this article, we will briefly explore how facial recognition works in an access control system and what the benefits are, and then we’ll look at how you can implement this technology in your own environment.

How does facial recognition work in an access control environment?

When used for access control, facial recognition software compares the face presented at the point of access to a database of authorized persons to determine whether there is a match. If there is a match, access is granted, and if there is no match, access is denied and a security alert can be triggered.

It is also possible to set up a blacklist of individuals who are regarded as a threat, and to set up alarms or notifications that are triggered when a blacklisted individual appears in front of the camera at the point of access.


Face recognition software uses AI, usually in the form of deep learning, to compare faces and determine whether there is a match between the presented face and the database of authorized persons. In most cases, the software does not store actual facial images in that database. Instead, it converts facial images into a face print at the time of enrollment into the database.

From a data security perspective, it is important to note that the face prints cannot be reverse-engineered into the original image. And even if the face prints are hacked or stolen, they cannot be tied to a specific individual without using the original software that created those face prints.

You can find this technology being used in a wide variety of scenarios, for example:

  • Airport security and boarding processes
  • Access to public transport systems
  • Guest check-in systems for the hospitality industry
  • Access to smart buildings
  • Access to apps and devices
Benefits of facial recognition for access control

Facial recognition can improve access control systems in one of two ways:

  • By ensuring a frictionless, fully automated process through removing the need for remembering passwords, pin codes, access tags, passports and boarding cards etc.
  • By enhancing security through introducing a second layer of authentication (two-factor authentication, or 2FA), which is used in addition to methods such as passwords, pin codes, access tags, etc.

Either way, face recognition can help to speed up access control in busy areas, since it is the fastest biometric authentication method available and requires minimal interaction by the user.

Unlike with fingerprint scanning, for example, there is no contact required (which makes it quicker and more hygienic), and users do not need to remove items such as gloves before interacting with the scanner.

Face recognition software can also recognize faces from a wide range of angles, adding to the convenience for the user. It is also not easily affected by variations in facial expressions, facial hair, and accessories that might occlude the face, such as hats and glasses.

How you can implement facial recognition software in your access control system

You can easily integrate facial recognition into your existing access control system, or even develop your own full solution, by using an SDK.

With Sightcorp’s FaceMatch SDK, for example, you can run the software on Windows and Linux platforms and easily integrate it into third-party software as a collection of C++ libraries. When you do this, you can:

  • Customize the software’s confidence thresholds based on the accuracy level that you require for your access control system.
  • Store and process all your data locally (we cannot access the data, keeping you in full control).
  • Choose to retrain the model on your own or your customers’ data.

Some of the additional benefits of choosing FaceMatch as your facial recognition software for your access control system include:

  • Optional consultation-based support from our team of AI experts, based in Europe’s AI hub, Amsterdam Science Park.
  • State-of-the-art accuracy of 99.3% with a false acceptance rate of 0.001.
  • A usage-based pricing model that ensures affordability for all types of users.
Ready to get started?

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Contact us for a free demo
  2. Discuss your use case with our sales consultant
  3. Test out the software for two weeks for free
  4. Purchase a license for FaceMatch SDK
  5. Purchase the required hardware. You will need at least:
    • A suitable camera or cameras (usually IP cameras)
    • A computer running Windows 10 or Ubuntu 18.04 and up, with minimum 4GB RAM and 1 GB free storage space
  6. Develop the SDK into your own solution on your own systems using C++

By Sightcorp

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About the Author

Sightcorp is the anonymous audience analytics intelligence specialist for Digital Signage, DOOH, Out of Home Media, and In-Store Analytics. Making lightweight AI edge software solutions that bridge the gap between the online and real world. Providing anonymous in-store analytics to Retailers and powering the DOOH ecosystem with ad performance metrics for advertisers, real-time audience reach for media network owners, and an industry-recognized impression-based currency for programmatic advertising.