(Yicai Global) Sept. 19 -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's [NYSE:BABA] financial arm, Ant Financial Services Group, recently announced plans to pilot its facial recognition technology for parcel collection in Shanghai. Despite a few user concerns, the company remains confident about the service.
The company's smart express delivery counter system sends 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.
Ant Financial believes the new system is much more convenient, and doesn't share user concerns that it will prove challenging to use in poor lighting.
Light changes do pose some challenges but researchers will solve this problem by combining software and hardware, Chen Jidong, head of biometric identification at the financial unit, said at a recent logistics event held in Shanghai, held by Alibaba's third-party payment platform Alipay and logistics affiliate Cainiao Network Technology Co.
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. Similar to facial recognition-based payments, picking up parcels involves the security of users' assets, so financial-level facial recognition technology is applied to the system.
Commonly-used facial recognition technology allows an error rate of 0.001 percent, while financial-level technology only allows an error rate of 0.00001 percent or even 0.000001 percent.
Consumers may also be able to send parcels by scanning their faces in the future. With the implementation of real-name requirements to send packages, 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 technology with a batch of pilot delivery counters 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 open 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.