In a report by The Chronicle, Bulawayo based firm Brains at Work Consulting Pvt Ltd has entered into a partnership with a Chinese company called Clou Global Technology to be the sole distributor of Clou Global’s facial recognition and temperature scan systems.
Who are the players in this deal?
Brains at Work Consulting
They are, as mentioned before, a Bulawayo based firm that was established in 2008. From their website the company primarily deals in water metering solutions. They say that they have installed 350 000 intelligent water meters in Johannesburg, Mangaung Metro Municipality, City of Cape Town and for other water service providers. They also provide hardware, water fittings and tools.
Clou Global Technologies
Shenzhen Clou Global Electronics is a Chinese based firm that provides energy solutions and equipment. Their product portfolio comprises electricity meters, meter testing equipment, advanced metering infrastructure, meter boxes as well as facial recognition and temperature measuring modules.
The facial recognition and temperature measuring system
Earlier this year, Clou Global introduced the CL2055 body temperature and facial recognition system. The system uses thermal imaging and facial recognition monitoring with or without a face covering.
The report by The Chronicle didn’t specify if the CL2005 is the system that Brains at Work will be the sole distributor of. But it was the only product of that nature available on Clou Global’s webpage.
“We have partnered the manufacturer to make this product available. This system is suitable for office areas, hotels, automatic gates, office buildings, schools, public services and other places where face recognition system and body temperature measurement are required,”Witker Tholana, Brains at Work Consulting CEO
The integrated temperature scanner is meant to add to the public health measures. Clou Global’s facial recognition systems are apparently on sale in Europe, Nigeria, Mozambique and China. A demonstration of the system shows that it works simply by an individual passing within the range of the device. The device then says the temperature of the person and says if the temperature reading is within safe parameters.
This on the face value, if this technology is widely adopted, looks like it will eliminate the need for security personnel to check the temperatures of people as they enter establishments. Decreasing human contact is one way we can begin to slow the spread of the coronavirus and this technology provides a solution to that.
There are however some concerns
Facial recognition technology is a contentious topic. Amazon for example said it will not be providing facial recognition technology to law enforcement. Belgium and Luxembourg are the only two countries that have opposed the use of facial recognition. In places where it used with or without the public’s knowledge the matter is one that is heavily contested.
Another concern is that Brains at Work has partnered with a Chinese company. Facial recognition is widely used in China, primarily the Chinese government for all sorts of applications that are seen by the rest of the world as infringing on the people’s right to privacy.
Brains at Work is providing the API (Application Programming Interface) for free. This is good and bad. The good part is that this makes the integration easy for companies that might want to use the hardware. Companies may have been hesitant had there been a fee for the API. APIs allow for modular programming this means that companies can build upon the architecture to suit their needs.
Modular programming is a double-edged sword. If this technology was to fall into the hands of people with malicious intent then it could compromise the security of people at the institutions where these modules are installed, and it could also put the public at risk.
All that being said
We will have to wait and see as to how this technology will be rolled out and implemented.