Those who have the iPhone X might be acquainted with facial-recognition technology. It's a biometric software application that identifies or verifies a person by comparing and analysing patterns based on an individual's facial contours. But what about using facial recognition to order a coffee?
Geoff Cropley is the owner of Elizabeth Street's Bahista cafe and is the developer behind the NoahFace app. He has been using it to record customers' faces and coffee orders, and to store digital loyalty cards for nearly 18 months.
Imagine an iPad at the counter that recognises you as you approach. It actively scans your face and prompts the staff to greet you by name and to begin making your coffee, before you've even opened you mouth. "It's a learning tool for staff. Once you see [a customer's] name pop up, you can get to know them faster," says Cropley.
The information the NoahFace app collects your name, photo and key facial features. But what about respecting people's right to privacy? "If a customer doesn't want to be in the system, [the staff] won't put them in. From a privacy perspective, there's a big sign on the counter saying: 'We may record your first name and coffee order'. If you don't turn up after 90 days, your data is completely wiped from the database," says Cropley.
Cropley says cafe owners in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide have approached him interested in NoahFace app.
Cropley has plans to create technology to improve clocking in and out of work, getting into office or apartment buildings, checking into establishments such as gyms, getting into events and even food security.
"The launch of NoahFace Access means you won't need a card to access your home or to open a front door. Facial recognition can be used to open your office door at work. NoahFace Shift records when staff turn up to work. It's incredibly efficient and accurate and the timestamp data is sent directly to payroll or the pay master of the company so employees are paid accurately for time worked," he says.
This will all likely be done with a mini device, such as an iPad, that is mounted on the wall or door that will detect your features on approach. Cropley says Canberra Airport will hopefully be installing NoahFace Shift for its staff.
As far as automation goes, it's not quite like Melbourne's robot barista at Once Alike cafe, but it's a glimpse into a similar future.