Biometrics company FacePhi has signed its first deal with a major football club as Spanish LaLiga team Valencia CF announced plans to deploy its facial-recognition technology at the Mestalla next season.
The club believes the technology will boost fans’ matchday experience with facial recognition reducing queueing times by speeding up the process of entering the ground.
Supporters will be asked to register with the official Valencia CF app, using a selfie and a piece of identification which will then be used for facial-recognition purposes.
Once fans have completed this step, they will be able to easily make their way into the ground by scanning the QR code generated within the app on the enabled readers in the entrance area.
FacePhi chief executive Javier Mira said: “The e-football technology is having an increasing positive impact, both to improve the health and performance of professionals and to guarantee the best possible experience for fans.”
The project has developed through the club’s VCF Innovation Hub competition, which seeks to support emerging talent, detect trends and improve the fan experience via innovation and technology. FacePhi won the fan engagement category.
While Valencia is the first football club that FacePhi has partnered with, the company has long been trusted by banks, financial groups and hospitals. The Alicante-headquartered company has more than 60 partners and has processed more than one billion authentications since it was founded in 2012.
FacePhi believes that, in a post-COVID world, many more sports clubs will follow Valencia’s lead and adopt facial-recognition at stadiums with contact-reduction likely to be a key objective as fans return to grounds.
Mira said: “Football is pure emotion, and the experience in the stadium is irreplaceable, but modern clubs must try to take care of their fans in many other details, starting with the accessibility of their digital spaces and the facilities when using their tickets.”