Tech Talk: A Deep Dive into Zenus’ AI Facial Detection Cameras

The meetings and events industry has approached a critical point, in which large-scale event planners and exhibitors are juggling more considerations than ever before. Conferences and conventions have started picking back up around the nation, and event planners in charge of these high-volume functions are presently challenged with checking guests in safely, keeping attendees appropriately spaced, securing booth space at an equal or greater value, and proving that their attendee base will yield an equal or greater ROI for exhibitors. To continue proving the worth and effectiveness of in-person events, Zenus’ AI cameras– capable of facial detection and capturing in-depth analytics­­– will be instrumental in the revitalization of the meetings and events industry.

Detection vs. Recognition vs. Analysis

Before incorporating technology that deals with faces into events, it is critical that planners are informed about the difference between facial detection, recognition, and analysis. Understanding these terms will help planners ensure that the way they are using Zenus’ AI camera(s) is compliant with state-to-state and city-to-city regulations, while continuing to capture essential data.

Facial detection is a general term for technology that deals with faces. Zenus’ AI cameras are able to perceive the presence of a face, but there is no identity associated with any face that is perceived through the camera.

Facial recognition is a more specific term for technology that matches an identity to a face. This form of facial detection is regulated in many states since it has the potential to cause privacy issues. Thus, facial recognition requires a higher level of attention to ensure compliance and data protection.

Facial analysis is a more specific term for technology that perceives the presence of a face and uses “pinpoints” on a person’s face to determine their sex, age group, and emotional responses. These analytics are gathered across groups of people, which creates an additional layer of “anonymous” protection. Since there is no identity associated with any of the perceived faces, it is considered “ethical.”

Attendee and Exhibitor Analytics

Facial detection cameras can measure and quantify the “success” of an event from several points of view. Planners and exhibitors can mount palm-sized cameras in deliberate locations to capture attendee data across several variables.

Suppose an organizer wants to determine which keynote presentations are engaging attendees the most, and specifically, which presentation slides are triggering an emotional reaction within the audience. Or, the planner is curious to track how attendees feel at the beginning, middle, and end of the event– without associating identities to faces, of course. Zenus’ facial detection cameras are capable of interpreting responses across these mediums and much more using its “Happy Maps” facial analysis.

And suppose exhibitors want to integrate Zenus’ facial detection cameras around their booth to justify their tradeshow investment. They could determine the effectiveness of their booth signage by setting up two juxtaposing displays and mounting their facial detection camera(s), and capturing real-time analytics that illustrate which graphics and messaging were most successful in their A/B test. Additionally, exhibitors could conduct a “Happy Maps” facial analysis of the attendees visiting their booth to truly determine if they are generating warm leads. The types of data that can be captured using Zenus’ AI facial detection cameras is endless.

Mask and No Mask Analyses

Most impressively, Zenus’ AI facial detection cameras have the ability to track attendee behavior with and without masks.

Under conditions where attendees are not wearing masks, these facial detection cameras have a 95% accuracy and capture rate. And, for conditions that require masks, Zenus is conducting their initial trials to determine how effective their cameras can capture demographics and conduct facial analyses. Panos Moutafis, CEO and Co-founder of Zenus, states “based on these early results, I am cautiously optimistic that masks are not an issue for our software.”

However, there are proven metrics these cameras can track for masked events until Zenus fully determines the effectiveness of masked facial analysis. Their AI facial detection cameras can measure occupancy levels, distance between attendees, and track positioning, which are all vital determinants for event “success” in terms of attendance and safety.

Propelling the Industry with Data

Finding attendees and exhibitors willing to physically show up for conventions and tradeshows was already challenging enough without the presence of newfound viruses. Now, event planners may discover that they need to step up their marketing efforts to show the true value of in-person functions. The future of events lies within the data.

Exhibitors want, and need, to be shown that they are receiving actual value for their investment. Companies are especially skeptical of spending any kind of money due to the widespread shutdowns that have resulted in immense revenue loss, and planners may find that the analytics that AI facial detection cameras capture are a more definitive method to illustrate ROI and conversion potential.

It is critical for event planners to understand that this “show, don’t tell” approach needs to be adapted to re-convince the meetings and events industry as a whole of the value that comes from attending in-person functions. Zenus’ AI facial detection camera could be the first step in accomplishing just that.

MM&E

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.