Two UK Supermarkets to Test Facial Recognition App

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. withhold / wɪθˈhoʊld / (v) – to not provide something

    We had to withhold the information until the management approves its release.

  2. of age / ʌv eɪdʒ / (n) – old enough to do something; is in legal age

    You have to wait until you are of age to be able to vote.

  3. scrutinize / ˈskrut nˌaɪz / (v) – to examine carefully

    They scrutinized our submissions before approving them.

  4. verify / ˈvɛr əˌfaɪ / (v) – to prove that something is real or true

    One’s identity needs to be verified during check-in.

  5. devote / dɪˈvoʊt / (v) – to assign resources to something

    We devoted a lot of time and effort on that project.


Read the text below.

Two UK supermarkets are set to test a facial recognition software in their self-checkout counters.

Technology company Yoti was responsible for developing the app and will run the tests with two of UK’s biggest supermarkets. However, the names of these supermarkets are still withheld from the public.

In line with this initiative, the company began cooperating with NCR, the corporation that makes self-service cash registers used by supermarkets. Yoti’s software would then be installed in NCR’s cash registers to quickly confirm a customer’s identity.

The facial recognition software will specifically be used in supermarkets to confirm the identity of customers for purchases that have age limits, like alcohol.

Customers who are of age will be required to sign up through the Yoti app that will request them to upload a selfie and input details about their identity. These details will then be matched with their passport or driver’s license. The information is stored safely by Yoti and will be scrutinized by its staff to confirm validity.

Once verified, a customer can simply take a selfie to prove his or her identity when making a purchase, instead of presenting an ID.

Aside from facial recognition, other technologies have also been developed to address the needs of different industries.

Fingerprint recognition has become very popular in banking since the release of Apple’s TouchID in 2013. Doctors have also used voice recognition to put their conversations with patients and other doctors into writing. This gives doctors more time to devote to their patients.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Can facial recognition software be used in supermarkets in your country? Why or why not?
• Do you think that customer details will be safe using this technology? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, what other situations can be simplified by the facial recognition software?
• Would you use fingerprint recognition in making purchases? Why or why not?