Guide to Facial Recognition Access Control Systems
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Guide to Facial Recognition Access Control Systems


Access control systems are used to identify individuals and grant entrance to specific locations, such as warehouses, factories, or offices. These systems are often powered by edge devices, which have seen great leaps in processing power in recent years, making them ideal for modern facial recognition access control usage. With the help of this technology, the newest generation time clocks now perform even quicker than before and also use high-powered cameras that allow employees to use facial recognition to check in/out without swiping a badge, entering a PIN, or scanning fingerprints. In this article, we share key considerations for adopting facial recognition in access control systems and will guide you through choosing a solution that best fits your needs.

What is facial recognition access control?

Facial recognition access control systems leverage the speed and accuracy of biometrically verified identity checks to determine who can enter premises (or at least some part of the premises) or who can access lockers or operate specialized equipment. This access control technology relies on comparing the unique characteristics of the human face for identity verification. Beneath the surface, the technology uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to work with great speed and accuracy. With many parts of a business becoming increasingly automated, it is natural to extend the efficiency automation delivers to access control.

How does facial recognition access control work?

Access control covers a spectrum of security use cases such as physical access, health monitoring, on-site safety, and tracking who is still inside during an emergency.

Access control systems follow three main steps to protect the physical security of a facility or a restricted area from unauthorized access.

access steps

Step 1. Identification

The first step for facial recognition access control is to identify the presence of an individual. Proper implementation of an access control system makes it possible to determine the identity of any person who enters a building or accesses secure or restricted areas. It can also monitor the movement of individuals throughout an organization’s facilities.

Step 2. Authentication

Once the access control system identifies the presence of an individual, it must authenticate the person’s identity. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the simplest, most effective way to ensure users are who they say they are.

Step 3. Authorization

After an individual’s identity is successfully authenticated, access control systems will grant access to the facility or restricted area(s) based on predefined criteria.

What are the benefits of facial recognition access control systems?

Traditional access control systems mainly use key cards or PINs to identify users and grant access, but these methods carry risks, such as the possibility of a stolen key card or leaked PIN. In recent years, biometric technologies such as fingerprints, iris recognition, and facial recognition have become mainstream in modern visitor management and access control systems. However, using fingerprints or iris recognition increases visitor surface contact. Facial recognition requires no personal contact, making it ideal for building a touchless access control system, thus maintaining workplace health and safety.

Using facial recognition technology for access control offers several key benefits:

1. User convenience

Your face is your ID! The most noteworthy benefit is convenience: indivduals no longer need to carry a key card or remember a PIN.

2. Better security and fewer risks

Facial recognition prevents unauthorized access. Lost or stolen keys, or sharing of PINs, is no longer a risk.

3. Contactless access

Compared to cards, PINs, fingerprints, or even iris scanning, facial recognition is an ideal solution for building a touchless access control system, even on occasions when mask-wearing is required.

If you’re interested in integrating facial recognition into access control systems, read our guide on building a smarter access control security system.

What devices are used for facial recognition access?

access different device

You may be surprised at the wide range of devices that can be used for facial recognition-based access systems. Systems can scale from a humble smart device, like a spare smartphone or tablet, through low-power edge and AIoT devices, reaching up to modern laptops, industrial PCs and kiosks, all the way up to GPU-accelerated servers with large arrays of 2D and 3D connected cameras.

Your chosen solution will probably be based on the scale of your business and the number of people who will be passing through the access area(s) day to day. A small business with just a handful of employees could rely on relatively lower-end repurposed smart devices – all that is needed at the low-end is a device that has a built-in camera that can connect to the internet to open a web browser interface. On the other hand, for larger businesses wishing to implement AI-based facial recognition access control at entrances or exits that are extremely busy, faster GPU-accelerated hardware with high-quality 2D and/or 3D cameras with good lighting would be preferable.

FaceMe is a cross-platform solution, which gives users a wide range of choices of device operating systems including Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS.

What Facial Recognition Features Are Essential for Access Control?

access features

Although facial recognition technology has many helpful features, several features stand out as essential to successfully integrating facial recognition in access control systems. Luckily, they are all available for customers who choose to use FaceMe®.

1. Outstanding Accuracy

Top-quality facial recognition relies on accuracy. People must be identified and verified correctly. FaceMe’s facial recognition engine is among the most accurate in the industry, with 99.81% accuracy in NIST FRVT 1:1 and 1:N.

2. Mask Support

Personnel often wear masks for health, safety, or hygienic reasons. Therefore, successful access control systems need to implement high-accuracy facial recognition technology for employees wearing masks. Fortunately, FaceMe provides over 98.21% accuracy, even when individuals don’t remove their masks or other protective gear.

3. Spoofing Prevention/Liveness Detection

Liveness detection, often referred to as anti-spoofing, is a critical feature in any facial recognition system that is designed to secure restricted items, such as medicine cabinets. Without liveness detection, unauthorized individuals may be able to trick facial recognition access control systems by using photos or videos of authorized individuals, thereby gaining access to secure areas. Liveness detection needs to be certified by a third-party to ensure impartiality. FaceMe’s anti-spoofing detects impersonation and substitution attempts and is certified by iBeta, an internationally recognized, independent, third-party testing and quality assurance organization.

4. Cross-Platform Optimization

In developing access control systems, companies implement native, hybrid, and cross-platform approaches. Integrating facial recognition requires a reliable solution compatible with various platforms. FaceMe is a cross-platform facial recognition engine ideal for custom scenarios and uses cases where customers need to mold algorithms to their infrastructure. It is optimized for various hardware configurations, from high-end workstations to low-power chipsets typically used in IoT devices, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS operating systems.

If you’re interested in integrating facial recognition into access control systems, contact us for system information, hardware specs, and pricing.

Access Control Use Cases with Essential Facial Recognition Features

FaceMe integrates all of the above features in one comprehensive solution. You can read more about some of our access control use cases that integrate facial recognition:
  • In contactless access control systems for employee entry and health screening purposes.
  • In medicine cabinets to control prescription medicine distribution.
  • In entrance kiosks to provide touchless biometric authentication.

How Do I Choose the Right Facial Recognition Solution for Access Control?

Answering this question depends on your company and your role. If you’re a developer looking to build a system that integrates software with existing hardware, then the FaceMe SDK is the best choice. End users and system integrators will want a ready-to-go solution such as FaceMe Security. Read on to discover more about these exciting facial recognition solutions.

FaceMe® SDK – The Developers’ Choice for Integrating Access Control Systems with Facial Recognition

The FaceMe SDK is the best solution for IoT developers to integrate facial recognition functionality in access control hardware, such as smart doors, check-in clocks, or kiosks. Developers of access control devices looking to incorporate facial recognition in existing hardware should first read the ultimate guide to deploying facial recognition at the edge.

We also recommend that you check the FaceMe SDK’s system requirements.

FaceMe Security: A Turnkey Access Control Software System with Facial Recognition

Are you a system integrator, or corporate IT decision-maker, looking for a plug-and-play software solution with facial recognition functionality to integrate with your existing IP camera surveillance system? If so, a software solution like FaceMe Security is a perfect choice.

FaceMe Security is a turnkey, value-added facial recognition solution that provides facial recognition functionality on top of existing surveillance deployments using PCs, workstations, servers, VMS (video management systems), and/or IP cameras. It can perform tasks such as identity verification, mask detection, real-time monitoring, and even issue alert notifications when a camera captures a block-listed or unidentified individual. FaceMe Security also integrates facial recognition into door access systems to only allow access to verified personnel.

You can expand FaceMe Security’s capabilities with several add-ons:

  • Health add-on:Prevent the spread of infectious diseases and promote general health management with three crucial checks: mask detection, identity verification, and temperature detection.
  • Check-in add-on:Connect to your visitor management system to check in visitors and perform employee clock-in/out processes.
  • VMR add-on:Handles surveillance activities when no VMS is available. Access live multi-camera monitoring for up to nine streams, with real-time alerts, plus video recording and playback.

FaceMe: Smart Access Control System for Your Business

Access control systems are built to achieve one critical goal: controlling who gains access to protected assets and areas. As the most secure practical form of authentication available today, facial recognition elevates the security of any access control system. Thanks to the high accuracy and flexibility of FaceMe, one can easily integrate facial recognition into existing systems or install it as a standalone solution. With FaceMe for access control, managers don’t have to worry about lost or stolen ID cards or credentials, inaccurate fingerprint scanners, or systems being spoofed with photos or videos of authorized individuals. You can read more on why leading industries are choosing FaceMe as their top facial recognition solution.


There are many industries that can benefit from AI facial recognition access control. Most businesses with staff on-site – in offices, factories, or labs – will have a system for visitor management and only allow genuine employees access.
Law enforcement, travel & tourism, banking and financial services, healthcare, and retail are also notably good business segments for leveraging facial recognition. This is due to their particular need for security, focus on verifying user identity, and offering of personalized services.
Yes, facial recognition systems can be integrated with existing closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. AI-powered facial recognition solutions like FaceMe work with a wide range of ‘CCTV systems’ sometimes also known as Video Management Systems (VMS). These VMS partners include Milestone, Witness, AXIS, Genetec, and Vivotek, allowing existing users to upgrade their systems and leverage the FaceMe Security system architecture swiftly. Learn more
The concept of identity is a cornerstone of security, and facial recognition systems can verify a person’s identity quickly and accurately. Day to day, most facial recognition security systems in businesses will see an individual approach an access gate, confirm that they are a genuine employee, and let them pass unhindered. Other security examples that benefit from these systems include airport gates, police surveillance activity, and banking ATMs. Facial recognition is even used on a smaller scale, particularly with smart devices (like an iPhone) and all the personal data it holds.
Depending on the industry, the application of facial recognition technology might be rather differently targeted.
Facial Recognition Application Examples
Touchless facial biometric access control can be leveraged to make sure only authorized staff have access to certain facilities and drugs; check hospital visitor body temperatures.
Monitor shopping behavior; analyze shoppers’ emotions, identify VIPs / loyalty customers, face checkout.
Verify a user’s identity at a cardless banking ATM. Facial recognition is a very strong anti-spoofing component of a multi-factor security system used alongside a PIN.

FaceMe®: CyberLink’s Complete Facial Recognition Solution

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