South African facial recognition start-up Camatica has this week added to its suite of facial recognition AI-powered products by launching mood analytics.

“Facial recognition software can potentially recognise a ‘Blue Monday’ simply by scanning employee expressions,” says Laurence Seberini, co-founder of Camatica, a Johannesburg-based start-up specialising in facial recognition for business.

“There’s nothing creepy about understanding when employees are experiencing challenges and putting in place solutions to help them. Using artificial 9ntelligence (AI) to help a busy boss know when it’s time for a kind word or a warm cup of cocoa is a smart move, not an invasion of privacy,” he adds.

Camera-based facial recognition is finding growing favour within corporates as a way to fairly and accurately manage employee attendance in the workplace. Camatica says the launch of mood analytics is a further step in the right direction in terms of boosting employee satisfaction because it takes subjectivity out of the management equation.

“For many of us, facial recognition is becoming our first exposure to the growing phenomenon of AI,” says Seberini. However, he adds, our faces are already being analysed. He explains that travelers and shoppers are already being scanned for their safety by state-of-the-art optics at airports, retail stores and other public places where citizens’ safety could be compromised by repeat troublemakers worthy of attention.

In the workplace, however, facial recognition takes on a decidedly more positive tone.

Camera-based AI in the corporate world can be used to mount necessary employee interventions, and also reward stellar employee attendance. “Excellent attendance at work by valuable employees is often missed by HR departments when outdated clocking-in systems are used,” says Seberini.

Used responsibly by HR professionals, facial recognition systems can more rapidly pick up instances where intervention is needed to help an employee overcome personal challenges that may be affecting work attendance.

Seberini’s Johannesburg-based firm has developed a range of AI-powered facial recognition solutions specifically-designed for different business sectors including retail, transportation and human resources.

To get the best out of facial recognition technology, Seberini advises South African businesses to draft equitable policies and procedures that formalise AI’s role in the workplace sooner rather than later. Of course, this should be done in consultation with all stakeholders and never unilaterally-implemented. Most importantly, and as is commonly seen with employee email and Internet usage, staff must always be aware AI is in use.

“We specialise in facial recognition with a purpose. Camera-centred AI can make a huge positive difference in the HR environment by rewarding excellent behaviour and bringing certainty to attendance, eliminating potential issues later on,” Seberini says.