Five Themes from connect:ID 2019

Originally co-founded just six short years ago by the International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) and Science Media Partners, connect:ID aimed to create the world’s preeminent identity technology conference and exposition. This year’s show proves that connect:ID still has mass appeal!

The connect:ID 2019 event, held from April 29 to May 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., brought together more than 1,500 attendees and 150 speakers from government, commercial and technical arenas to discuss a wide variety of topics related to identity and related technologies used for recognition, authentication, customer experience, and digital transformation.

A number of overarching themes and topics emerged this year, and I’ve decided to outline the top five or so that I observed.

  1. Collaboration at the federal level was apparent. A fireside chat hosted by IBIA Executive Director Tovah LaDier with two senior program leaders from within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – John Wagner from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Stacey Fitzmaurice from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – outlined how they are using facial recognition to create a secure, seamless and consistent experience for travelers moving through our country’s ports of entry and exit. CBP operates the Traveler Verification Service (TVS), a database used to match and authenticate travelers’ facial images as they enter or exit the country, to which TSA will have access for future expansion of facial recognition at security lines for expedited screening. CBP’s Wagner now reports having caught more than 100 imposters attempting to illegally enter the country at U.S. land and air borders. And why shouldn’t TSA have access to this technology that is already proving itself so valuable?
  2. Sensor fusion is the future of customer experience. In his keynote address, NEC Vice President of Technology and Solutions Kris Ranganath discussed the combination of IoT, AI and analytics technologies that will come together to enable digital transformation and create seamless, reliable, more enjoyable, yet still solidly secure customer experiences as we move between two worlds – the cyber realm and the physical realm. This concept of sensor fusion already exists in certain cutting-edge retail and entertainment use case examples, and Mr. Ranganath expects we’ll only see more of this in the future.
  3. Customer journeys are a key theme for driving innovation for international travel and border protection. The vision for this experience is to create a seamless or contactless journey from reservation to destination. Mr. Wagner from CBP referenced in more than one instance the importance of a frictionless traveler journey in solving the border security issue. In a panel on the future of seamless travel, I outlined several customer journeys related to border entry – via air, land and sea – all enabled by facial recognition and sensor fusion. These journeys are not just a dream, they’re becoming reality. Mr. Wagner at one point in the fireside chat posited that someday kiosks may become unnecessary for Global Entry.
  4. Personal data privacy was discussed in more than one session. Nobody disagrees that privacy is paramount, and more than one multi-disciplinary panel of experts at connect:ID agreed. However, how we achieve it at a policy level is still up for broad discussion and debate. In the government panel titled “Perspectives on Privacy: The Rashomon Effect,” panelists including NEC’s Director of Government Relations Brent Bombach offered varying takes on the issue. Our take and hope is that federal legislation will eventually create a consistent regulatory environment so that travelers can move safely and seamlessly through their journeys without fear of their personal data being stolen.  So, as NEC Corporation CEO Takashi Niino previously wrote, NEC will always favor legislation that both protects personal privacy and allows for innovation in the public and commercial sectors. But a variety of state laws currently on the books or in varying stages of proposal promise to ensure a complex regulatory environment where biometrics and data privacy is concerned. Furthermore, a panel of congressional staffers on the main stage seemed to conclude that a federal preemption, or federal legislation that would render state privacy laws related to biometrics moot or unnecessary, is not likely to succeed in 2019.
  5. Innovation was on full display across the connect:ID 2019 expo floor. I’d like to be able to say that it was all in NEC’s booth. Evidence of innovation was actually scattered all across the expo floor. My favorite, however, is a solution based on NEC’s own research and development in optical networks. Intelligent Perimeter Intrusion Detection (iPIDS) works to detect physical border and facility breaches through the use of highly adaptive and responsive fiber-optic sensing and self-modifying machine learning based artificial intelligence. Deployed along a border or around a secure facility, iPIDS can not only tell when something is there, it uses AI to understand the location and source of the vibrations. Deployed as part of a sensor fusion network, iPIDS is one more way that people can feel safe and secure as they go about their daily journeys.

NEC was proud, as always to participate in this year’s connect:ID, and we certainly look forward to the 2020 event and to see where the industry will be in less than a year’s time.

For additional information and to stay up on the latest, follow us on Twitter and check out our NEC Advanced Recognition Systems page online.

Casting a Wider Net to Help Solve Criminal Cases

Face Recognition Aids Investigators

Video and photographs provide valuable evidence when law enforcement officials conduct criminal investigations. Originating from a wide range of sources—and with varying quality—video or photographic images are sometimes the only evidence in a criminal case. Investigators will spend countless hours trying to identify an unknown suspect from the images.

For the first time, multiple agencies can share mugshot databases with each other using NEC’s powerful #1 NIST-ranked facial recognition algorithm, the industry’s fastest and most accurate face-matching algorithm. NeoFace® WideNet is a hosted service that benefits law enforcement personnel with expedited criminal investigations and faster crime solving by processing photographic images and video evidence.

This service saves law enforcement valuable time with the ability to search multiple databases rather than a single source when matching images, resulting in reduced caseloads as well. Accessible from any web browser, NeoFace WideNet enhances poor quality latent face images, searches against large mugshot and video repositories, and provides easy-to-assess ranked suspect candidate lists.

Putting a Powerful Tool in the Hands of Law Enforcement

Quicker processing of evidence combined with the ability to rapidly generate a list of actionable leads gives investigators an advantage in cases involving facial video evidence. NeoFace WideNet can process images from either still images or video streams.

The strength of NEC’s facial recognition solutions rests in a tolerance of poor quality, highly compressed surveillance videos and photographic images. The service offers several standard and advanced enhancements to correct difficult-to-match images. It turns previously unusable facial images into hard evidence with enhancements such as pose correction, consolidation of images and improved illumination. With the capability to match low-resolution facial images down to 24 pixels between the eyes, NEC’s facial recognition technology outperforms other face recognition systems in matching accuracy.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) matching algorithm recognition benchmarks have consistently proven that NEC’s biometric technologies have the fastest and most accurate face and fingerprint recognition algorithm and have the most resilient facial recognition technologies to viewing low angles, low-resolution images and poor image quality.

You don’t need the perfect imageto identify a suspect.

Affordable Technology for a Wide Range of Agencies

NeoFace WideNet is designed to be highly scalable as well as affordable, suitable for small, medium and large law enforcement agencies. Through a licensing agreement, authorized agency users can deploy any HTML 5 compatible web browser to access the NeoFace Reveal application. By changing the purchase model from CAPEX to OPEX through a hosted service and lowering acquisition costs, agencies can see an immediate return on investment through decreased investigation time and reduced workloads.

World-leading Identification Matching Technology

Independent testing confirms that NEC’s facial recognition technology provides the fastest, most accurate matching capability and the most resistant to variants in, race and pose angle. Quickly and accurately processing video images expedites criminal investigations and leads to more crimes being solved. More than 30 years ago, AFIS revolutionized fingerprint evidence. Today, NeoFace WideNet is poised to doing the same with photo and video evidence.

To learn more, check out our new eBook below, Turn Your Images Into Evidence.

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Power Meets Innovation –
Dr. Angela Merkel Visits NEC

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful Woman in the World” eight years running and a driving force behind Europe’s alternative energy reform, visited NEC Corporation in Tokyo this month. Her purpose was to learn firsthand about NEC’s vision for the future in our newly established co-creation space called the “NEC Future Creation Hub.”

Dr. Angela Merkel introduced to advanced technologiesOn February 5, NEC Chairman Dr. Nobuhiro Endo was honored, along with several other NEC executives and employees, to welcome Dr. Merkel as she was introduced the latest advanced technologies, including AI and biometric identification solutions.

The Chancellor exchanged dialogue with members of NEC about the balance of technological innovation with legal regulations, privacy protection, human rights and ethics as digitization and the use of data continue making advancements among society and people.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Merkel’s visit.

NEC’s Improved Livescan Strengthens State and Local Law Enforcement

With threats on the rise and criminals growing more sophisticated by the day, citizens trust law enforcement agencies to stay one-step ahead.

For law enforcement, processing arrests involves the entry of bio-demographic information, taking fingerprints and possibly mug shots of the suspect. The data is then sent to state and federal authorities to determine if there are existing arrest records, verify that the suspect has not provided false information and to determine if there are any outstanding warrants. Historically, fingerprints were taken with ink and then scanned, and often returned due to lack of detail or inaccurate scans. In some cases, AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) or other database hits could take days to return a search result to the arresting agency.

The key to keeping communities safe is accuracy, reliability and speed with solutions that help you protect the public when it counts.

With modern livescan technology, law enforcement now has the option of using a device that electronically captures images, fingerprints, palm prints, mugshots, scars, marks and tattoos, as well as irises, signatures, voice and even possibly DNA. AFIS or MBIS (Multi-modal Biometric Identification Systems) and even the livescan station itself have the ability to provide an agency with nearly instantaneous results and feedback on a suspect. This technology allows state and local agencies faster access to precise, accurate matches to help solve more crimes, detain repeat offenders and keep their communities safer to live, work and play.

At NEC, we’re proud to offer award-winning biometrics solutions, such as our SmartScan™, to help take state and local law enforcement to the next level.

Easy to Use

NEC’s SmartScan offers a modern, user-friendly interface with the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Touch screens, with swipe and pinch-and-zoom functionality, are as familiar to operators as using their mobile devices. This modern, intuitive interface guides the operator through the record creation process minimizing errors and increasing efficiency.

The user is guided through the record creation workflow on an innovative, ergonomically designed and height-adjustable “UnCabinet.” The UnCabinet includes large 22” displays, prominent foot pedals to make capturing images hands-free, and a flexible configuration based on the needs and price point of a department, agency or organization.

SmartScan™ The biometric industry’s most advanced multimodal capture solution - Learn More

Security and Maintenance

With so much personal data captured, our livescan system must be secure from malware, hacking and unauthorized access. Multifactor authentication and virtualization-based security is available to protect credentials, roles and system privileges.

Our SmartScan includes centralized management for local and remote control plus a convenient chat function for system administrators to manage the system and remotely assist operators during the record creation process. NEC Customer Service Centers also provide 24/7 support and remote diagnostics to help technical support resolve issues immediately.

Multi-Modal Biometrics Capture

The livescan system is only as helpful as the biometric scans it can capture. NEC’s SmartScan produces superior quality images from a variety of biometric captures using top-tiered hardware and validate using both NEC superior and standard NIST image quality checks.

Depending on the needs of a department or agency, our solution offers support for many different peripherals and modes of capture:

  • Articulating Arm and IrisID R100 and CMI Tech EF-45 devices for Iris Capture
  • Voice Capture and Audio-Visual Chatting via the Logitech® Brio 4K HD Webcam
  • Improved Mugshot and SMT (scars, marks and tattoos) Capture per Evolving NIST Best Practice Recommendations and Additional Camera Devices from Canon, CMI Tech, IrisID and Logitech
  • Comprehensive Friction Ridge Capture including all Fingerprints and Palmprints using either Crossmatch and Green Bit devices as well as Integrated Biometrics and JENETRIC
  • Supplemental signature capture, barcode and magstripe reading of IDs, driver’s licenses and smartcards are also available as an optional feature from a variety of devices

NEC’s SmartScan solution is truly livescan made smart!

Certifications and New Use Cases

Since NEC SmartScan introduction in 2016, many major features have been incorporated, such as advanced multi-modal biometrics capture, as well as the documentation of new civil use cases. Our Advanced Recognition Systems (ARS) team recently accepted an order of 100+ SmartScan Stations for implementation by a federal agency.

While NEC ARS solutions are available around the world, in the U.S. our livescan system is currently certified in Alabama, California, Georgia, Nevada and Texas. More state certifications are coming – check with your NEC ARS Account Manager for the latest list and availability. An emerging NEC SmartScan “UnKiosk” and alternative software for driver’s license applications and renewals is also available, as well as Identity Management Self-Enrollment.

NEC SmartScan also offers:

  • Pre-booking options for Field and Remote operations, including a new remote booking application
  • FBI Certification for Crossmatch® LScan and Green Bit DactyScan capture devices
  • Printing of hard copy cards and reports
  • USB ports for additional plug-in peripherals
  • Industry standard hardware for a cost-effective solution
  • Full standards compliance and design for ANSI/NIST formatted records and FBI EBTS specifications, XML IEPD and NIEM
  • Integration with AFIS, MBIS, CCH and RMS systems

Return on Investment

NEC’s SmartScan offers an almost immediate return on investment. Your livescan operators will have streamlined processes so they can efficiently scan more applicants and suspects in far less time, and with fewer rejected scans. NEC’s ARS solutions are NIST validated, adaptable, secure, and continually improving in order to help increase productivity and exceed the goals and objectives of law enforcement and other civic agencies.

In addition, if there are budget concerns, NEC has the ability to assist; NEC Financial Services offers creative financing and leasing options to support system upgrades.

To learn more about the NEC SmartScan, you can explore here, and find out more about NEC’s biometric solutions by visiting necam.com/ARS.

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NEC Welcomes Greater Industry Collaboration on Facial Recognition Technology

Today, NEC Corporation President and CEO Takashi Niino published the following essay regarding recent calls for government regulation and greater industry collaboration on facial recognition technology.

As a world-leading provider of facial recognition and other biometric, as well as information and communications technologies, NEC Corporation welcomes greater industry collaboration and effective discussion for the future of facial recognition technology and business. As a point of background, NEC produces face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, finger vein, voice and ear acoustic recognition technologies, and has over 700 biometric recognition installations in over 70 countries around the world. 

In recent weeks, we’ve seen renewed calls for government regulation and discussions about how we as an industry can build a foundation of responsibility to protect people against discrimination, invasions of privacy and violations of human rights. 

NEC Corporation welcomes this debate as we believe it will lead to solutions that can make our world a better place. Furthermore, we are eager to move the discussions forward.

As more companies come forward to add their voices to this dialogue, I believe we will start to see new and different roles that these technologies can play in protecting and improving our global communities.

In the United States, for example, the Department of Homeland Security is today using facial recognition technology at more than a dozen airports to positively identify travelers entering and exiting the country. Three days after the technology was introduced at Dulles International Airport, an imposter was stopped using a fake document. As recently as late November, the lead architect of this system from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that it had identified at least 36 imposters so far. Additionally, the first curb-to-gate biometric experience in the U.S. just launched at a major international airport terminal to a positive customer response, potentially changing the future of travel.

NEC, therefore, supports various governments’ considerations for reasonable policy, setting privacy standards for personal information and preventing unlawful discrimination related to this technology.  Businesses, consumers, and the government should work together to help balance the need for privacy with the benefits of protecting our society, securing our borders and providing consumer convenience without the fear of negative consequences.

Accuracy is vitally important to the effectiveness of biometric technologies.  At NEC, we are committed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their evaluations.  NEC has a nearly decade-long leadership position and pedigree where NIST evaluations of our facial recognition technologies are concerned, and you can read more about it on our global Web site here.

In addition, NEC has established a “Digital Trust Business Strategy Division” to create and promote a strategy based on “Human Rights by Design,” considering the impact of the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the utilization of biometric information on human rights and privacy.

NEC seeks an adoption path for these technologies that is in line with the worldwide principals of freedom, justice, rights to privacy, transparency and continuous improvement. At NEC, we strongly believe that facial recognition can add significant value to our lives.

 

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security efficiency and fairness of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow. For more information, visit NEC at http://www.nec.com.

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