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Belgian football fans 'face' shorter queues thanks to biometric entry gates trial

Season-ticket holders at Belgian football club RWD Molenbeek will soon find it easier to enter the stands at their stadium, thanks to facial recognition technology that is set to be introduced at the turnstiles

Although the project is still in the test phase, fans ordering their season tickets on-line can already upload an ID photo. This photo will be compared in real time with images taken by two cameras installed in the season-ticket holders’ queue at the stadium entrance, allowing supporters to enter much faster. An automatic gate will be installed in early 2019.

Faster checking for season-ticket holders

Spectators who have forgotten their paper ticket can still enter the stadium with no problem. Those who haven't uploaded a photo, or who have borrowed an entry ticket, will still have to pass through the conventional gates and show their ticket at the turnstiles. The system was installed by Zetes using Panasonic facial recognition technology.

Ultra reliable

The facial recognition software applies only to the access checks, as a further benefit for season-ticket holders. Thierry Dailly, chairman of RWDM, explains: “The detection system, with its fast and reliable data processing facility, means we can install a system to speed up entry checks to the stadium.”

Alain Wirtz, CEO of Zetes, adds: “This project is a perfect example of how we can benefit from the innovative capabilities provided by the Panasonic group, owner of Zetes. Zetes specialises in this identification technology, which has many different applications. We hope this project can act as a shop window for our products.” The pilot project will run for about a year.

Protection of personal privacy

Supporters’ photos are scanned and stored on an RWDM server, which is not connected to the Internet or to any other system. Only RWDM-authorised personnel have access to the data. Data collected by the entrance gate cameras is not recorded, guaranteeing confidentiality for the supporters. At this stage, the system is still in the test phase, and the facial recognition facility is not yet fully operational. The installation of the automatic gate at the beginning of 2019 will complete the planned programme.

Acquisition of Zetes by Panasonic

2017 April, Panasonic acquired a majority shareholding in Zetes and 2017 July completed the acquisition of 100% shares of Zetes. Zetes was founded in 1984, and employs 1100 employees in 21 countries in EMEA in 2016. Its headquarters is in Brussels.