New data on the future of facial recognition – the countries & companies winning the race

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What was once considered to be an idea of science fiction, facial recognition has not only become a real piece of technology, but it’s also come a long way in recent years.

It’s widely believed that mathematician and computer scientist Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe invented facial recognition in the 1960s when he created a system that could organise photos of faces by hand using the RAND tablet. The manually recorded metrics of each face, such as the eyes, nose, mouth and hairline, were then saved into a database.

Over the years, facial recognition improved as more facial markers were added to make the system more accurate, such as in the 1970s when Harmon, Goldstein and Lesk began using 21 facial markers, including hair colour and lip thickness.

Even though facial recognition has been around for roughly six decades, most advancements have been made in the last ten years. In 2010, Facebook launched its facial recognition feature that would detect people’s faces in photos uploaded by their users. Now, more than 350 million photos are uploaded and tagged using facial recognition every day.

Facial recognition has become a huge part of our everyday lives in recent years, with the most significant breakthrough taking place on September 12th 2017 when Apple launched the iPhone X, the first iPhone users could unlock with FaceID.

Facial recognition is now being used in places we once never imagined was possible. From having this advanced technology in the palm of our hands to protect our data and personal information, to finding missing persons – in fact, 3000 missing children were discovered in just four days using face recognition in India.

With continuing advancements, we now use facial recognition more than ever and it’s only expected to grow as a recent study estimated that by 2024, the global facial recognition market could generate around $7 billion in revenue. But who are the big names behind facial recognition technologies today and what more can we expect to see in the future?

Using Crunchbase data, RS Components has shown where facial recognition HQs are located, which companies are the most well-funded, as well as which companies have the most investors.

San Francisco is home to the most facial recognition companies in the world with 15 in total, and two out of three of the top facial recognition companies with the highest number of investors. One of these companies is Chooch AI, which was founded in 2015, and has the highest number of investors with 29 overall, followed by Figure Eight ranking third globally with 22.

London is the second-largest hub for facial recognition companies, home to 12, followed by Tel Aviv with 10. Beijing ranks fifth after New York, but China also holds the ranking for having the top three companies leading the way in facial recognition funding. SenseTime, MEGVII and CloudWalk Technology are the companies receiving the most funding—from $2.64 billion to $805 million—and all three are based in Beijing.

There’s been a lot of changes to facial recognition technologies over the years, improving its effectiveness and implementing it into different industries, from social media and events to law enforcement and marketing, so we can only begin to imagine how much further facial recognition will take us.

A new development using facial recognition we can expect to see soon is face masks. The newly formed company, Resting Risk Face, has released face masks with customers’ faces on them, allowing them to unlock their phones, use online banking and access other facial recognition security services without having to take off their masks.

Other changes include upping the use of facial recognition in surveillance, for example, it is estimated that 200 million surveillance cameras were used in 2018 in China, which is predicted to increase to 626 million this year. Other changes are expected to help keep people safe, such as Harrisburg University discovering and developing a software that is able to predict if someone is a criminal, or speed up legal processes like voting, as we’ve seen Brazil developing a system to automatically identify voters using biometric data collection.

Facial recognition is continually adapting from advancements in criminal detection and surveillance, to making our lives easier with facial recognition face masks. Only time will tell where the future of facial recognition will take us. You can view the full story from RS Components here.