KFC gives fast food digital face

By HE WEI in Shanghai | China Daily | 2017-09-02 09:19
KFC gives fast food digital face

Customers wait to enter KFC's first KPRO restaurant in Hangzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province, August 31, 2017.[Photo/IC]

Hangzhou restaurant unveils innovative tech for enhanced dining experience

KFC's endeavor to let people pay their bills using facial recognition technology marks the world's first such commercialized application.

That's according to Chen Jidong, director of biometric identification technology at Ant Financial Services Group, which helped create the system.

"Yum China has a history of adopting innovative technologies to enhance in-store dining experience and we could think of no better place to pilot this advanced technology," Chen said at the inaugural ceremony of KFC's concept restaurant KPRO on Friday.

Upon a few taps on the screens to order, customers can look up into the camera, thereby sealing the deal. Alipay adopts a multi-step authentication process, including a facial scan and mobile phone number, to verify identities and facilitate payment.

Chen said the scanning system focuses on your face, so it doesn't matter if you change your makeup or wear a wig. In the first instance, the machine would compare the detected face with the image logged by public security authorities.

The false recognition rate-that is, the likelihood that the biometric security system incorrectly rejects an access attempt by an authorized user-is near zero. But Chen noted the key to secure transactions is another gauge called the false-acceptance rate, or the chances that the system incorrectly accepts an unauthorized user.

"Currently the FAR stands at 0.002 percent. But we need to further lessen the percentage in order to apply the technology to a wide range of sophisticated scenarios, such as large-sum money transfers and cashier-less convenient stores, which require bank-level security," he said.

The face-recognition system was first displayed in March 2015 by Jack Ma, founder of Ant's parent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Since then, it is undergoing small-scale testing and is piloted for civic services such as tax declaration.

Rival Baidu Inc has used its own version of facial recognition as entry passes at tourist sites. But it has not yet unveiled payment-related solutions using the technology.

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