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Face recognition trial

A security installer Zada Technology is trialling face recognition based on HD CCTV cameras, in a number of UK shopping centres. The product, which uses software from the Barcelona-based company Herta Security, is able to recognise individuals for security purposes or to categorise shoppers by such factors as age, race, sex and other criteria; for marketing purposes.

The new technology works by using face recognition technology from Herta Security which analyses a number of key points on the face via an HD CCTV camera. This is processed using proprietary algorithms producing a unique package of codes much smaller than an image. In fact the reference image can be deleted once the face has been enrolled into the system.

If a known offender enters the premises then the software detects the face, analyses it and alerts security and management that there is a heightened risk. To comply with European data protection rules the data is overwritten after 30 days. According to Martin Parry, Director of Zada: “The technology is causing a bit of a stir in the industry. Effectively the system is providing automated assistance to the security team picking out known individuals and passing that information instantly to the supervisor to identify people who might be looking to steal or cause trouble … but in a far more accurate and efficient way.”

BioSurveillance has been installed and trialled in vertical markets such as football stadiums, casinos and prisons , the firm says, but claims that the real growth may come from sharing information via the cloud which could then be accessed by interested groups such as retail chains, shopping centres, stadiums.

The second application: using the system for marketing, as the system has the ability to recognise people and to demographically categorise them. According to Gary Lee of Herta: “The system makes a judgement about whether the person on the camera is black, white, Asian, male, female, their age range and other generic criteria. But, it can also tell if they wear glasses, and other factors. The demographic statistics are available in real time.”

One use for this particular sort of market intelligence is that organisations will be able to audit their marketing. Gary Lee says: “Using our system you could, for example, place a web-cam at a poster site and then monitor if the poster engaged the target demographic, and if so for how long compared to other images and styles. Or, and this is perhaps even more exciting, the system could identify the demographic of the person approaching a particular marketing site and then the messages on the site could be tailored specifically for that demographic. Specific instantaneous video adverts of cosmetics for different ages and skin colour would be a good application example. For certain groups the images might be hamburgers for others it might be comfy slippers!”

One pilot application in South Africa saw the technology used in an under-age drinking campaign. Bar staff were alerted when a person, who the system detected as under the legal age to buy alcohol, approached the bar; they were reminded to ask for ID.
With both the security and marketing applications information can be shared via smartphones and Zada and Herta are working together as Zada has a client base in the UK of shopping centres.

About Zada Technology Ltd

Zada provides system design, installation, project management, service and maintenance of CCTV, Access Control, call points and PAVA systems. Zada also designs control rooms. Visit

About Herta Security

Herta Security is in the development of facial recognition. Based in Barcelona, Spain, – with offices in Madrid and the recently opened London office – the company has partners in 20 countries. For further information, contact: [email protected], visit


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