CIOs Need To Prepare For The Arrival Of Face Scan Technology

Stadiums are preparing to test face scanning technologies
Stadiums are preparing to test face scanning technologies
Image Credit: Andy Mangold

As CIOs who understand the importance of information technology, we know that we always have to be ready to deal with the next wave of technology. The challenge that we have is trying to stay on top of things so that we’ll be able to see new things before they overwhelm us. One brand new technology that only now is starting to become a part of everyday life is face scanning technology. Although this new technology may affect all the people who have the CIO job eventually, CIOs who work for sports ventures are going to be seeing it first.

Face Scanning Comes To The Stadium

The Covid-19 virus has caused the way that a lot of things used to be done to be changed. Nowhere is this more evident than in the stadiums where thousands of fans gather to watch their favorite teams play. Several pro sports teams, including the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Football Club, are preparing to test facial-recognition technology in their stadiums. The plan is to admit fans for entry by authenticating their faces. The team’s CIOs are using this new technology to make the process as touchless as possible using lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic.

Big, live sporting events—including a soccer match in Italy that was blamed for accelerating that country’s large outbreak – were contagion points for the virus’s spread. That is because of the proximity of fans and the likelihood of close contact, such as shuffling down aisles or jostling for a beer at the concession stand. Just to make things worse, all the shouting doesn’t help, either.

Sports team’s CIOs understand that any return to stadiums is expected to happen only after a virus-instigated overhaul of the fan experience, not unlike similar efforts to remake factories, offices, restaurants and airports. Facilities managers at some of these venues are looking at using facial-recognition scanners to start bringing small numbers of high-value fans such as VIP guests or season-ticket holders back for games. Discussions with vendors have been focused on how to reduce touch points and avoid forcing people to hand over credentials. It is believed that even scanning ticket bar codes could pose a risk of spreading the virus.

Using Facial Recognition To Get Fans To Come Back To Stadiums

The good news for the person with the CIO position is that facial-recognition technology, now routinely used at many big airports, also is at the point that it has proven to be reliable. We do need to realize that the technology raises privacy issues, and at least one European regulator has scrutinized its use in sports stadiums. Fans of Los Angeles FC, a Major League Soccer club with a 22,000-seat stadium, will next year be able to use an app called Clear that is currently being used by some airline passengers to speed through security checks by presenting their fingerprints or showing their faces.

Fans will be able to take and download a selfie and link their Clear accounts with their existing Ticketmaster profiles. At the stadium turnstile, a camera will measure the fan’s temperature. A second camera determines whether the spectator is wearing a mask. Fans would then pull down their masks to let that same camera recognize their faces and admit them based on their ticket purchase. If a face isn’t recognized, a red frame will show around the face on the screen and the person will be denied entry.

Costs have not been disclosed, but an access-control kiosk like the one FC is buying typically costs several thousand dollars. Buyers usually pay a recurring license fee for the software, too. Such software could cost between $200,000 and $250,000 a year for a stadium. CIOs view this as being an efficiency play. The more cameras they can eventually install, the quicker and easier it will be for fans to buy things inside the stadium. In the future, fans may be able to walk up and use their face to buy a pizza.

What All Of This Means For You

The world that we live in continues to change. CIOs understand this and they are always attempting to stay aware of what the next big thing is going to be. Right now it starting to look like face scanning technology is getting ready to roll out just about everywhere. CIOs who work for sports ventures are at the front lines of finding ways to deal with this new technology.

Sports teams are looking to use face scanning technology as a way to admit fans to their stadiums in this post Covid-19 world. The goal is to make this process as touchless as possible. When fans come to stadiums, there is a real possibility that they can end up spreading a virus. The thinking is that facial recognition systems can be used to bring back small number of fans first. The goal is to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Facial recognition technology has become almost common place in airports. In order to make the system work, fans will have to use a selfie to describe themselves to the system. They will then be admitted to the stadium based on if they match their picture. The more cameras that can be installed in a stadium, the quicker fans will be able to get inside.

Sports venue CIOs have a significant challenge on their hands. They need to find ways to safely get fans back into the stadium while taking steps to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading among people who are attending an event. The use of facial scanning recognition technology looks like it could provide a great way to provide touchless service for fans. Now all sports venue CIOs have to do is to find a way to provide touchless beer purchasing!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How can CIOs deal with the privacy issues that face scanning system brings up?

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