Case Study: The New Face of Invisible Security

Balancing the comfort of hotel guests with increased scrutiny in a highly-sensitive zone can be tough. Technology can offer a discreet way out


Situated in the Aerocity Hospitality District, in close proximity to New Delhi’s international air­port, Lemon Tree Premier needed a top-end surveillance and security system. The sheer volume of daily visitors makes it tough for security personnel to keep tabs on everyone. Thus, the surveillance of the ten-storey, 81-room Lemon Tree Pre­mier was recognised as a significant challenge in this regard. It needed a solution that helped identify faces throughout the property with high accuracy and auto-generated alerts. Additionally, the hi-tech face rec­ognition solution required the hotel to invest in upgrading the existing IT infrastructure. IT and security teams also had to rapidly move up the learning curve in order to suita­bly test, deploy and man the solu­tion. According to Rahul Pandit, (now ex-) President & Executive Director, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company, “Being the third-largest hotel chain in India – by owned and operated rooms – safety and security of guests has al­ways been paramount to us. At Lemon Tree Premier, Delhi Airport, our flagship hotel it was thus essen­tial that we adopted a solution that merged innovative and path-break­ing technology with accuracy and consistency but, most importantly, met the stringent guidelines defined by the Indian security agencies.”   What it does NEC’s face recognition solution is designed to capture fast and accu­rate facial images from live CCTV cameras over a standard IP network and match the captured faces with a database at the backend in real time. The greatest advantage of the solu­tion lies in the fact that the hotel staff need not disturb guests in or­der to verify their identity as it cap­tures facial images from a distance. Describing this in detail, a project head for NEC India said, “We were asked for a security system that would let the hotel staff identify a visitor even before he entered the hotel. This required us to engage deeply with the hotel security team to not just understand their exact requirements, but also conduct nu­merous Proofs of Concept (POCs) to demonstrate the value proposi­tion of our face recogni­tion solution”. Capture Against all odds “The strength of NEC’s face recognition tech­nology, NeoFace®, lies in its tolerance of poor quality images. With high tolerance for low quality, highly-compressed sur­veillance videos and images, in­cluding web images, the system has the capability to register and generate match results for the con­trol of both ‘black-list’ and ‘white-list’ images using digital photo­graphs. The captured face is compared to all facial templates in the database, irrespective of any attempts by the person to conceal identity via the usage of caps, hats, glasses or the slightest change in facial hair,” adds the project head. This helps determine whether the person is blacklisted or a wel­comed VIP customer for a particu­lar facility. Also, the hotel’s management is very interested in exploring the ‘white-list’ management that noti­fies the staff to the presence of a VIP customer and thus enables them to offer exclusive access or privileges to the guests as a part of enhanced cus­tomer service. As a result, every time the guest approaches the front desk, the staff will get a pop-up with the details of the guest, which will enable them to greet the customer by name and provide appropriate services. The solution, once deployed, was tested for various use cases and potential challenges in recog­nising a facial image captured from a live CCTV camera and has delivered accurate results every time. The ability of the solution to respond in real-time is a great ad­vantage as it ensures there is no time gap between identification of an individual and personalised re­action by the hotel staff. The tech­nology is perfect for providing un­obtrusive and seamless 360° security and it can easily be moni­tored remotely. “We are currently eval­uating its application for ‘white-list’ management of our VIP customers to provide a personalised experience and believe it will provide the addi­tional differentiation in our customer service,” adds Pandit.