China Begins Using Facial Recognition To Unlock Rentals. But Is The United States Ready?
By Sharelle Burt
Look out Apple, the Airbnb of China is coming for you. Xiaozhu, the Chinese home-sharing company, is starting to use facial recognition technology to unlock 80 percent of listings in the popular city of Chengdu.
The company wants to use the innovative technology to guarantee the safety and security of users. They also plan to add smoke detectors, gas alarms, and burglar alarms to the apartments. Travelers who don’t abide by given rules will be blacklisted and banned from properties. Xiaozhu isn’t the first Chinese company to embed modern technology to guarantee safety. Chinese ride-hail giant Didi Chuxing, similar to Uber or Lyft, added a mandatory facial-recognition check for drivers after a woman was murdered.
Other than the new iPhone X, the United States is still stuck on using fingerprint technology to guarantee safety. But the idea is starting to become more and more relevant, especially for the travel industry. Earlier this year, JetBlue started to offer facial recognition as a way to demonstrate your identity while boarding a plane. TSA also announced a plan to increase the use of biometrics, a term referring to using body parts, like your face to prove who you are. It will be a lot easier than pulling your ID out of your wallet every time. Delta Airlines will be the first to use this concept in Atlanta.
Some Airbnb landlords use an app called August, where guests can use their phone just to unlock the property. Xiaozhu is similar since they offer everything from photography to cleaning, making it easier for landlords and they don’t need to interact with their guests.
China is way ahead of time with their facial recognition technology. They use it to order fast food, board planes and even catch drug users. Alipay, a mobile payment company, has a service called “Smile to Pay” where users can be recognized even if they make a change to their appearance, like wearing makeup.