It remains the continual trope in media that, when someone’s back is against the wall and they have no place else to turn, the suggestion of robbing a bank is inserted. However, the joke doesn’t pack the same punch as banking has continued to embrace technology and move many operations fully online. This is also true of surveillance technology – banks are moving to the forefront of utilizing technology to monitor their properties.
According to an article from Reuters, U.S. banks have begun to deploy surveillance cameras attached to artificial intelligence systems that can monitor customers and employees in a variety of ways. Some banks, such as City National Bank of Florida and JPMorgan Chase and Co, have already undergone unreported trials for this type of technology.
The technology being discussed is focused around analytics in order to improve the customer experience. According to Reuters:
JPMorgan began assessing the potential of computer vision in 2019 by using internally developed software to analyze archived footage from Chase branches in New York and Ohio, where one of its two Innovation Labs is located, said two people including former employee Neil Bhandar, who oversaw some of the effort at the time. Chase aims to gather data to better schedule staff and design branches, three people said and the bank confirmed.
With facial recognition receiving backlash from the community at large, companies in the banking sector need to tread the line between surveillance and identification carefully. Though that isn’t stopping facial recognition from being discussed – City National will begin such a trial in the near future, according to Reuters.
Some banks have discussed the possibility of opt-ins where customers can choose to be identified by facial recognition technology to accomodate a better customer experience as soon as they enter.
As this technology is utilized in the banking industry it will open up the potential for similar systems in corporate environments as well. JPMorgan is using its system to create better staff schedules, a practice that could easily be replicated in retail environments and on manufacturing floors.
The problem will be getting employees on board to be monitored to such a personal degree at all times. While consumers have proven that, on the whole, they are happy to give up a certain amount of privacy in return for convenience, they have not been quite so quick to adopt the same mentality in their professional lives.
As an IT manager, this type of technology can be intriguing. The ROI is certainly there in the long term. However, this story reminds us of the hidden risks in many projects that stem from the staff. If you thought training your employees on a new videoconferencing service was difficult, wait until you tell them about putting an eye in the sky that recognizes their faces on its own.