Facial recognition in schools: the latest software for driving school lunch

Over the past year, schools across the UK have implemented contactless technology to deliver hot meals to school safely and efficiently. But now, as schools return to normal operations, a new kind of software is powering contactless transactions: facial recognition.

Pre-order, cashless and contactless payment are just a few of the buzzwords we’ve heard over the past year, especially regarding school payments and the safe delivery of nutritious school meals.

Now more than ever, schools are turning to technology for contactless solutions that increase efficiency. Following the popularity of innovations like pre-order lunch apps and online payment solutions, a brand new innovation is fueling school lunch transactions: facial recognition.

Introduce facial recognition technology to schools

In 2021, CRB Cunninghams, a provider of cashless catering, online payment and identity management solutions for educational institutions, launched facial recognition software in UK secondary schools. This launch made CRB Cunninghams the first fully integrated edtech provider to introduce facial recognition for contactless meal payments to UK schools, changing the landscape for school meal transactions.

This software is designed as a contactless biometric method to allow students to pay for school meals without the need for physical contact, providing a completely contactless meal collection method.

Facial recognition technology in schools works similarly to its use in society, such as cell phones and stores. To use fAcial recognition, the students select their meal, look at the camera and leave, eliminating all contact at the point of sale. Intuitive technology allows school POS operators to quickly identify student cashless account and instantly adjust payments just like all other identification methods in catering software cashless Merger of CRB Cunningham.

COVID-19 and the demand for innovations

When COVID-19 hit and forced schools to close, the need for new technological advancements, especially for ordering and delivering school meals, was critical. In 2020, CRB Cunninghams conducted a survey asking students, tutors and school staff if they would benefit from contactless software for ordering school meals, especially pre-ordering software.

More than half of survey participants, including parents and guardians, said their school would benefit from Fusion Online, CRB Cunninghams’ pre-order app for school lunch orders, highlighting the demand for free solutions. contact.

Based on the success of pre-order solutions for school meals, facial recognition is the next step for contactless school meals, going one step further and eliminating physical contact right at the point of sale.

Why schools use facial recognition

Kingsmeadow Community School in Gateshead was one of the first schools in the UK to introduce facial recognition to school meals. Having used fingerprint technology for two years previously, Kingsmeadow switched to facial recognition due to COVID-19 and the need for a more advanced contactless system.

I thought I was pretty cool with fingerprint recognition, but COVID came and blew it out of the water. I was looking for something else, and then facial recognition came along! COVID didn’t come off perfectly, but facial recognition did! – Maxine Webb, Business Manager at Kingsmeadow School

Discussing the students’ response, Maxine said:

Honestly, it worked perfectly from day one. Things we were afraid of, like children, staff or visitors who wore glasses, would that be a problem? Are identical twins a problem? Not at all. I can’t believe it, but I haven’t had any complaints from students, parents, or staff.

Canon Slade School in Bolton is another school to reap the benefits of facial recognition. It was recently featured on local news as the first school in the Northwest to bring facial recognition technology to its students. Canon Slade implemented CRB Cunninghams facial recognition software as an additional measure to protect students from allergens and to keep school COVID safe by removing physical contact at the point of sale in the canteen.

Natasha’s Law will also affect schools, and this technology allows the school to verify food that students have purchased, and if there is anything they might be allergic to, it can be reported immediately. It is also a true contactless system as there is no keyboard, just a facial sweep – Karen Sudworth, Principal of Canon Slade School

The future of contactless technology in schools

In early 2021, Footprint Intelligence, environmental, social, governance and sustainability experts in the food and beverage industry produced a report titled Sustainable Success in the New Normal: Conquering Challenges in Education Catering. The actionable report featured research on caterers, vendors and local authorities to overcome the challenges of school catering after COVID-19 and included information on how education professionals can be open to innovative solutions.

This advice included adopting new technologies to provide a more adaptable approach to school lunches, especially in response to the pandemic:

  • 46% of those surveyed said the pandemic had enabled them to accelerate technology
  • 41% said pre-order systems reduce food waste and increase efficiency
  • 33% said pre-ordering cuts queues and wait times

Download the full report for more information on adapting to innovations in school catering.

The future of contactless technology in schools looks bright. These results show the willingness of players in the education sector to adapt to innovations and the latest technologies to improve their lunch service. Based on the overwhelming feedback from schools that were the first to implement the software, it’s only a matter of time before facial recognition becomes a crucial part of the school lunch experience.

Next steps for facial recognition

To see firsthand how facial recognition works and how schools are benefiting from this contactless solution, sign up for the CRB Cunninghams webinar for an in-depth look at all things facial recognition and what it means for your school. .

To speak to a member of the CRB Cunninghams team and learn more about how your school can benefit from facial recognition for school lunch transactions, book a free demo.

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