Best Facial Recognition Security Cameras

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Best Facial Recognition Security Cameras

In both residential and commercial settings, cameras are an essential part of any security system. As technology has rapidly improved over the years, high-quality security cameras have caught countless criminals and prevented boundless offenses. This has led to even more exciting investment and advancement into this technology, one of which is the AI facial recognition software. Today, businesses and homes alike can purchase surprisingly powerful facial recognition security cameras for affordable prices.

What exactly is facial recognition and why does it matter, though? You’re probably familiar with Apple’s implementation of Face ID or something similar. Put simply, facial recognition systems are designed to identify human faces from images and videos and matching them with an existing collection of faces. This involves a simple setup process where the user builds a database of whitelisted faces like their family, friends, and employees. Then, the software can trigger some sort of event when detecting a recognized or unrecognized face.

This has tons of great potential for security applications. Homes can use this technology as a smart lock for family members. Businesses and government agencies can use it for more advanced applications like tiered access and alarms. The only hard part for buyers is finding the best face recognition camera and for the best price. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list for both the consumer and industry markets to answer that very question.

The best facial recognition cameras for home security

Home security systems tend to be much simpler than industry camera systems. Home surveillance tends to have a small database of whitelisted faces in general. They also tend to have a smaller range and less video quality overall. This is usually acceptable for the doorbell and front door-style uses that homeowners want from home security.

Netatmo

Historically, the first kid on the block was Netatmo. They were the first home security camera to incorporate facial recognition. Leveraging cloud technology, Netatmo Indoor Camera (Netatmo’s leading product) can recognize up to 32 faces. However, Netatmo’s system requires a period of training to recognize those faces and will improve over time. Some users report this AI learning period working very well in the beginning but slowly degrading over time. Due to the limited effectiveness of the facial recognition software, it’s tough to justify the $199 price tag of this camera.

Nest Camera

You’ve probably heard of Google’s answer to the facial recognition camera industry. Nest works a little differently than the other cameras on this list in that it uses a subscription model called Nest Aware. It ‘s a paid cloud service in addition to the purchase of the camera itself. The tiered subscriptions of $5, $10, and $30 a month provide increasing amounts of video history on the Nest cloud server. Google also offers a few different Nest cameras. For this comparison we looked at Nest Cam IQ Outdoor, selling for $309 right now on, and the Hello doorbell, going for $229. Nest’s software also takes time to be taught to recognize faces over time. Overall, it’s pretty solid but some Nest users also report the system failing to recognize faces here and there. All in all, while Nest Aware is a nice service, be aware that Nest’s subscription-based approach will hurt your wallet more over time than local hardware solutions.

SimCam 1S

The SimCam 1s is a bit different from the other options on this list. Rather than slowly learning faces over time, users upload images of a face to build the device’s list of recognized faces without utilizing continuous training. The software then uses this image information to build a profile of the user’s whole face accounting for different angles and environment conditions. These profiles can be built for up to 200 different faces. This means that during setup the user has a little bit more work to do than other solutions, but there will be little to no change in detection rates later on. SimCam flexes a 99.48% rate of accuracy. SimCam1S is also the cheapest option on this list at $129. It’s hard not to recommend this little facial recognition camera!

The best facial recognition cameras for professional uses

When it comes to industrial use, the stakes are much higher when compared to home security. In addition to the basic whitelisting processes used for home security cameras, industry uses may get much more complex. Businesses may use a complicated system of tiered access within companies of thousands of employees. For this reason, you’ll find that industry-grade facial recognition requires more accurate cameras, larger databases, and more customizable features.

Hikvision

Hikvision uses cutting edge Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence software for things like law enforcement, time and attendance reports, and VIP recognition. From government agencies and banks to airports and storefronts, Hikvision’s facial recognition has tons of applicable uses for identifying the faces of powerful CEOs and the faces of the world’s most wanted criminals alike. The DeepinView line of products is probably the most popular solution that Hikvision offers. These products have the build quality and technical specifications that you would expect from a premium industry solution. They have both wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted solutions among others. Contact Hikvision for pricing details.

Dahua

A strong competitor to Hikvision’s cameras can be found in Dahua. Their Deepsense line of products also utilizes sophisticated deep-learning algorithms for real-time detection and recognition. Deepsense cameras take incredibly high-quality videos that can be used to detect the most minute details of faces and categorize them accordingly. The onboard database boasts an impressive capacity of up to 10,000 faces! These solutions are also highly customizable for a wide range of industry solutions, whether they need a white-list or black-list type of solution.

Conclusion

Facial recognition has grown to become an incredibly impressive field of technology. Netatmo, Nest, SimCam, Hikvision, and Dahua have been leading the pack in this exciting space. We’ve taken a look at each of them individually here and weighed the pros and cons of each option. Generally, there’s a huge difference between the needs and capabilities of industry and home applications that we’ve tried to outline here. We hope you’ve learned a good bit about how these systems work and what you’ll need to make the right choice.