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CES trying facial recognition for badge pickup at some venues

CES is piloting facial recognition kiosks that can streamline badge pickup at some venues at this year’s show.

The Consumer Technology Association, which sponsors CES, has placed kiosks with facial recognition technology across some of the trade show’s 11 venues, including the Westgate, Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Convention Center’s central plaza.

Attendees who opt to use the program can check in at the kiosk by letting an app take their photo. If the image matches their photo on file, the kiosk will print out their badge. Attendees are still required to go through additional screening for show access.

“This advancement will provide a faster, more seamless badge pickup which eliminates the need to find an email confirmation or QR code,” a CTA spokesperson said in an email.

CTA said the picture is not stored, and the database will be wiped clean.

“Privacy is our priority,” according to the CTA spokesperson.

CES isn’t the first location to test facial recognition in Las Vegas. In 2019, the Transportation Security Administration’s tested facial recognition using biometric technology at McCarran International Airport. The 30-day test was at the TSA pre-check lane in Terminal 3, and ended in September.

Casinos are expected to bring in the technology to their floors as well. Companies such as Konami had table games with facial recognition technology on display at last year’s Global Gaming Expo trade show. The technology would allow casinos to collect more data on players and ultimately replace loyalty cards.

“Right now, casinos don’t have a way to incentivize an uncarded player,” Thomas Soukup, Konami’s chief systems product officer, told the Review-Journal last year. “This opens it up so they can start reinvesting in and understanding those players.”

While some have voiced concerns that consumers will be hesitant to use facial recognition, some experts believe the public will gradually get used to the technology.

“I think that customers right now, they’re getting used to this new process,” said Joe Leader, CEO of Airline Passenger Experience Association and a panelist at Monday’s “Smart Tourism” discussion at CES. “This will become more commonplace and we will become more comfortable with it, so long as it’s done around safety and security.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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