Windows 10 comes with a new security feature, Hello, which is designed to simplify login while also heightening security, in contrast with many security features that are generally thought to add hassle by requiring users to go through additional steps before they can access their company systems. Hello requires special consideration during setup but once it’s in place you can use bio-metric, iris, facial recognition, or pin to log onto your computer in lieu of password.
Hello’s facial recognition works with a new camera from Intel called RealSense 3D, which uses infrared radiation (heat) to detect the computer owner’s presence. I expect that many next-generation laptops will come with these cameras built-in. We should start to see them deployed en masse later this year.
By using heat-sensory technology, RealSense offers another layer of protection on top of what most camera-based security measures do. You can’t deceive it by merely showing it a picture of its rightful user or even using a 3D printer to create a likeness, because it won’t match the correct infrared profile.
Here at Kraft Kennedy we occasionally get to try out new technologies before they reach our clients. We got our hands on one of the developer kits and I’ve set up the camera on my computer (I’ve attached it as an add-on rather than using a built-in version). It takes under a second to log in. It is unbelievably convenient, and I think many of our clients might agree once it reaches their offices. I’ve trained the camera to match my face to my account. It automatically logs me out when I get up from my desktop (we have a policy of automatically locking the computer after fifteen minutes of inactivity) and recognizes my face to unlock it automatically when I return.
You’ll still need your username and password, however, to sign in on another computer or for remote access. Also, this external camera that I’ve set up does not travel with my Surface Pro. In the future these cameras will be built in to many devices and will be easier to transport. I don’t know if the Surface 4, rumored to be coming out this fall, will have it or not. Right now, I am still logging in the old way, or with a PIN, when not at my desk in the office.
For security conscious environments, there is an option to take facial recognition a step further. Sometimes you sit down at your computer but still don’t want your desktop to show just yet. In that case, you can set it up to log you in but not how your desktop until you touch a key, or, even further, until you look left and then right so that the camera gets a 180 degree view of your face. This way you have to think before unlocking.