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Advantech’s solution contributes to Taiwanese schools’ epidemic prevention and containment efforts

1/22/2021


Advantech helped a Taiwanese system integrator (SI) overcome budget and technical challenges to create a total solution of facial recognition and thermal imaging for schools in Taiwan, enabling them to carry out efficient and accurate epidemic prevention and containment.

Facial recognition technologies have been around for many years. In the past, low recognition rates and high costs served as an impediment to mass adoption. However, due to advancements of AI and cameras, facial recognition applications are now being widely deployed in the healthcare, automotive, smart home, access control, and many other industries. For instance, Toyota introduced a driver facial expression analysis solution for triggering autonomous responses from vehicles to prevent accidents. In airports, facial recognition is used to authenticate passengers’ identity at departure and arrival gates. The onset of the COVID-19 outbreak has further increased the popularity of facial recognition and thermal imaging systems to monitor social distancing, detect face mask wearing, and spot abnormal body temperatures. 

Combination of edge AI and facial recognition drives contactless applications 

 “We have seen growing demand for contactless applications that utilize facial recognition technology, edge AI, and infrared thermography technologies, such as contactless lifts and access control gates. Apart from the pandemic, the key drivers are the total cost of ownership and mature and proven total solutions,” said Alan Kao, Advantech’s product manager of Embedded IoT Group. In the past, deploying a facial recognition solution required a centralized server and facial recognition software, which represented a huge investment. Nowadays, edge AI technology allows facial recognition models to be run on edge computers, which not only significantly reduces total cost but also increases system response times by capturing videos and enabling responses close to the event source. Earlier this year, a Taiwanese SI specialized in the integration and installation of school IT and surveillance systems was developing epidemic prevention systems for schools in response to COVID-19 outbreak. The SI’s biggest concern was the cost of the system, since most schools could not quickly raise the funds necessary to meet urgent epidemic prevention and containment needs. The SI was also faced with a lack of trained engineers and limited knowledge of facial recognition and AI. Meeting all these requirements from the SI are challenging which is why Advantech FaceView industrial app. was chosen. After consultations with Advantech’s professionals, the SI decided to kick off a pilot project at a school in Taipei.   

Fully-tested and proven solutions from industry leaders 

To ease the SI’s concerns, Advantech provided a total solution of AIR series edge AI inference systems with VEGA-300 series AI acceleration modules integrated and the FaceView industrial app. Kao added that “Powered by CyberLink’s AI engine which is ranked one of the best in the NIST Face Recognition Vendor Test worldwide, FaceView provides real-time facial recognition with high precision. In fact, FaceView boasts a recognition accuracy rate of over 99.8%. Our total solution allows SIs to shorten time-to-business outcomes and serve their customers with fully-tested and proven systems from industry leaders, Advantech and CyberLink, at very reasonable prices.” The total solution came with APIs and helped the Taiwanese SI quickly integrate the school management system, student information database, and LINE push notification. Each AIR series edge computer was connected to up to five infrared thermal imaging cameras, which scan entire classrooms automatically every few hours. Moreover, Advantech’s total facial recognition solution can identify students even with face masks on. Names of students with abnormal body temperatures or without face masks were recorded in the school system and sent to teachers and school nurses by LINE push notifications. The system not only fulfilled the school’s urgent COVID-19 prevention needs but also contributed to preventing the spread of other viruses that can cause high body temperatures. By implementing Advantech’s facial recognition and thermal imaging solution, the SI, in addition to saving a lot of time and money, overcame several technical disadvantages. Now, all their school clients benefit from efficient and accurate epidemic prevention and containment operations at very reasonable cost levels. The Taiwanese SI is preparing for a large-scale system rollout at several schools in northern Taiwan. Kao pointed out that “the solution is expandable; if schools require functions such as identifying strangers, fall detection, or violence detection, AI models can be deployed in the same edge computers.” Advantech has witnessed fast-growing demand for contactless applications using facial recognition technology since the FaceView launch this year, including for access control of entrance gates and sensitive equipment, face mask detection, building management, and contactless lifts. The application scope of FaceView will continue to expand even after the pandemic abates.