Guests of selected Moscow hotels will be able to check in upon arrival more quickly than ever before thanks to a new system using face recognition technology devised by Skolkovo resident VisionLabs together with self-service systems developer Invend.

Alexander Khanin, CEO and founder of VisionLabs, a resident startup of Skolkovo's IT cluster. Photo:

The two companies have developed a self-service terminal that enables guests to check in by scanning their passport and a QR booking code on the machine. This enables the hotel to confirm the guest’s identity swiftly and efficiently. The machine checks the passport information and compares the photograph in the passport to the guest’s face to confirm their identity, as required by Russian law.

“The face recognition terminal makes the process of checking in more secure, since the passport information is checked automatically, and also increases guest loyalty, as it speeds up the procedure,” said Alexander Khanin, CEO and founder of VisionLabs, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster.

“In the future, face recognition technology could be introduced for the automatic unlocking of hotel rooms, thus eliminating the need for keys in hotels, as all guests would be able to enter their rooms via this technology,” he added.

There is currently a spike in the use of technology on the HoReCa market, and self-service check-in solutions have great potential in this segment, said Viktor Zubik, CEO of Invend.

“In the next two years, the check-in terminal could make it possible to get rid of superfluous equipment: pin codes could be entered via crypto-touch, while a guest’s reservation could be found by scanning their face, and face recognition technology is what will make this possible,” said Zubik.

Face recognition terminals are currently in use at the Air Express hotel at Sheremetyevo Airport, and in the Areal hotel in the Moscow region. During the course of the year, the companies plan to start working with hotel groups, including international chains. In the near future the GOST hotel management company, a major operator in Russia with about 40 hotels in its chain, is due to start testing the system. About 12 hotels are due to start using the terminals in the next few months, while they are expected to be introduced to major international chains operating in Russia before the end of the year.

VisionLabs’s LUNA platform is already in use at more than 40 banks and credit offices around Russia and the former Soviet Union, including Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, which announced last November that it had acquired a 25.07 percent stake in the Skolkovo startup.