It is widely rumored that for Apple’s next iPhone that it will come with a new form of security. Instead of scanning the user’s fingerprints, the next-gen iPhone is said to sport facial recognition which can be used to authenticate the user and potentially be used for services like Apple Pay. However it seems that Alibaba might have beaten Apple to the punch.

The company’s Alipay payments service has launched a new feature that allows customers to make payments using facial recognition. The feature has been rolled out to a KFC restaurant in Hangzhou, China, where customers will be greeted with a billboard that will scan their face in order to make payments, which is said to take 1-2 seconds to recognize the user’s face, and is followed by a second verification sent to the user’s mobile phone.

According to Chen Jidong, Ant Financial’s director of biometric identification technology (the company that operates Alipay), “Combined with 3D cameras and likeness detection algorithm, ‘Smile to Pay’ can effectively block spoofing attempts using other people’s photos or video recordings.” It is an interesting concept and from the video above, it appears to work pretty well and seamlessly.

It also seems to be able to detect a customer’s face quite well even if the customer tries to change their look, like with a wig, extra makeup, or even amongst a group of users at once. Of course there might be some who are concerned about privacy with regards to using facial recognition, but for now it’s starting to look like facial recognition could be the next big thing when it comes to security.

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