(Yicai Global) Sept. 19 -- Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s [NYSE:BABA] financial arm, Ant Financial Services Group, will introduce facial recognition technology for the logistics industry, allowing users to pick up parcels at self-service counters in just five seconds by scanning their faces, state-owned Xinhua News Agency cited the company as saying at a recent logistics open day in Shanghai held by third-party payment platform Alipay and Alibaba-backed logistics affiliate Cainiao Network Technology Co.
The company's smart express delivery counter system send a verification code to the recipient, who can enter the code to get the parcel. However, some consumers may forget to bring their cell phones or enter a wrong verification code when collecting their parcels.
Despite the convenience of the facial recognition system, users still have some questions such as how well the system performs during nighttime hours given the most delivery counters are outside.
Light changes do pose challenges to facial recognition, and researchers will solve this problem by combining software with hardware, said Chen Jidong, head of biometric identification at Ant Financial.
Security is also an issue and there are concerns regarding whether the system can distinguish between a human face and a picture, a video or a mask. Users do not need to worry too much about this issue, Chen said. Because, similar to facial recognition-based payments, picking up parcels also involves users' asset security and applies financial-level facial recognition technology.
Commonly-used facial recognition technology allows an error rate of 0.001 while financial-level technology only allows an error rate of 0.00001 or even 0.000001.
Consumers may also be able to send parcels by scanning their faces in the future. With the implementation of real-name requirements for express deliveries, users are required to present their identification cards to couriers when sending parcels, Chen said.
If they send parcels via a delivery counter, they will also need to upload ID photos, which can be inconvenient, he added. The introduction of sending parcels through facial recognition can eliminate this. Since information collected by facial recognition is used with ID information.
Ant Financial will initially work with self-service counter manufacturer DiYi Box to introduce the facial recognition technology with a first batch of pilot delivery counters to first roll out in Shanghai. The technology will be introduced in other Chinese cities in the future once user experience has been optimized.
Facial recognition technology is being applied in more and more scenarios, from facial recognition-based payments to parcel pickups. In the future, people can do even more things just by scanning their faces. However, data collected through biometric identification technologies are due to data leaks and theft, said Liu Chunquan, a partner at Duan & Duan Law Firm.
Due to the often unique nature of biological characteristics, any leaks could lead to endless troubles and these shortcomings must be dealt with seriously on technical and legal levels.