Eight Key Insights from AFIS 2017

Our annual AFIS Internet User Conference leads the way for law enforcement forensic professionals. This year’s highly anticipated event in Sacramento brought together professionals from around the globe, to share information and learn from the best of the best. This is as much a learning event for NEC as it is for our AFIS User Group. Together we explored issues affecting the law enforcement community today. Attendees learned more about new techniques in forensics, and experienced the latest in identification technology solutions, and glimpsed into the future of biometrics, innovations designed to make our lives easier and to meet the expanding security needs of our changing world.

I’d like to express my deep gratitude to the AFIS Internet Board, the organizers of this conference, and for the special efforts and leadership of the Sacramento Division of the California Department of Justice, our host agency.

It was difficult to choose, but here are my top eight insights from the many outstanding moments at AFIS Internet 2017:

  1. Pass it On The 3-day event was perfectly kicked off by keynote speaker, Jim Hyde, Co-Founder of Peer Support Central, as he brought timely insights into the need for our mentoring of the next generation of pros, and the importance of critical knowledge transfer to the new breed of law enforcement, the Millennial generation. Jim concluded with a moving personal experience of a First Responder being shot in the line of duty–when a seasoned police dispatcher knew to stay on the line, reach out, and to comfort and encourage him until help arrived. That “going above and beyond” the task at hand can make all the difference in the outcome; what a critical wisdom nugget to pass on to the next generation!
  1. Be Informed Marty Parker, FBI Agent, pulled back the curtain to reveal the real deal about child sex trafficking. Her informative session was riveting and heart breaking as she emphasized the power of a truly caring hug for these extremely tough kids, how critical it is to free them emotionally by convicting their captors, and the value of identification of juvenile prostitutes on the street, in hotels and casinos, and on internet locations.
  1. Share in Successes Actual NeoFace® Reveal use-case success stories were shared by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Visuals were shown of how facial recognition as a time-saving identification tool was used to help ID and facilitate the capture and conviction of a slippery career criminal who had long specialized in multiple identity thefts, forgery and mail fraud.
  1. Learn About Enhanced Security An update from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs Border Protection (CBP) on the use of biometrics at exit point operations helped us gain a clearer picture of security measures currently in place at our nation’s borders. With NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems and biometrics improvements for border security at strategic international airports, ports and border crossings, highly trafficked points of entry/ exit, it’s clear that facial recognition ID is our best “touch-less” safeguard, and also possible that our face will actually be our boarding pass in the future!

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  1. Get Professional Work Tips With multiple industry-specific sessions aimed directly at providing training for the forensics professional, there was a wide range of insider tips. For example: how to sharpen your courtroom testimony skills, best practice crime scene fingerprinting (on the living and deceased), how to best deal with applying for and managing federal grants, the use and importance of Mobile ID devices (for immediate on-scene fingerprint capture and ID—before the suspect disappears), as well as some expert Ten-Print help with creating and implementing the “Henry” classification formula. We even learned efficiency suggestions for supervisors of telecommuting teams of Latent Print Examiners.
  1. Look Into the Future NEC brought compelling Advanced Recognition System (ARS) presentations, international updates, and exciting views into the current and future place of biometrics in the arena of public safety and as part of our daily lives; simplifying our access, giving us ease of movement, protecting and serving those who protect and serve.
  1. Experience Cutting Edge Technology NEC showcased its latest identification technologies, including interactive, expertly guided 10-print workshops with hands-on experience with NEC’s Integra-ID iBW, the latest in fingerprint technology processing. NEC’s demo exhibits on NeoFace® Watch and NeoFace® Express showed how touch-free identification can actually help simplify public safety work, as well as increase location access security. The NeoFace® Reveal and SmartScan interface exhibits gave an up-close and personal encounter for many AFIS Internet members as they transition to facial recognition disciplines in addition to fingerprint and ten print identification work.
  1. Meet Others Like You One of the joys of an event like the AFIS Internet User Conference is the rare opportunity to socialize, network, and brainstorm with others who understand the intricacies of your unique universe; this means experts from technology innovators like NEC, together with a diverse gathering of like-minded crime-fighting professionals who daily face the same issues and challenges you do. Clearly the casually fun evenings were planned with that fraternity in mind!

The closing AFIS 2017 Awards Banquet was the crowning jewel. This was a time to recognize the newly elected AFIS Internet, Inc. Executive Board–made up entirely of working industry professionals, and to honor recipients of the AFIS Internet 2017 “Biometric Hit of the Year Award”: Faith Contreras (Facial Recognition Program Administrator and Law Enforcement Coordination Unit Supervisor for the Office of the Inspector General) together with Detective Keith Richerson of Arizona Department of Transportation were awarded for Facial Recognition use on an Identity theft/ forgery/ fraud case, and Sgt. Amanda Crooker of the Michigan State Police was honored for impressive (Latent/ Palm /Finger) Print hit success on a cold homicide case.

Congratulations to all, with our sincere gratitude for your service!

This year’s AFIS Internet Group Board did a fantastic job of bringing together relevant and important topics, with a roster of respected international experts who engaged and educated, but also inspired us.

If you missed AFIS 2017, we hope you’ll put it into your calendar now, to join us next August 26-29, 2018, in Reston, Virginia. Of course, meanwhile, you can check out or relive the excitement by viewing our photo gallery, or our AFIS 2017 Recap Video below.

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NEC’s 30th AFIS Internet User Conference

Having been at NEC for the last five years, I can honestly say – what an exhilarating ride! We just celebrated the 30th anniversary of NEC’s AFIS Internet User Group conference, held this year at the Omni Atlanta CNN Center.

I wish to express my highest gratitude to the AFIS Internet Board, the organizers of this conference and for the special efforts and leadership of Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department, our host agencies.

The AFIS Internet Conference leads the way for the professional forensic community, and highlights the latest NEC developments that are impacting the law enforcement industry.  This year’s event drew our largest international attendance to-date, with attendees from Australia, Greece, Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Saudi Arabia.

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As expected, the event did not disappoint. Below are a few of my favorite take-away thoughts and ideas from AFIS 2016.

  1. Body language matters!  Word choices and how our body moves as we talk can tell people a lot about us. Our keynote speaker was Janine Driver, CEO of the Body Language Institute and a former trainer for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Janine’s talk helped me understand the impact that my non-verbal communication has on others’ perceptions of me. She also showed our audience a few cutting edge body language secrets to help us develop better relationships in both our work and personal lives.
  2. Georgia is a hotbed of law enforcement leadership and talent.  With this year’s event being in Atlanta, we had access to some fantastic talent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.  We heard from Vernon Keenan, director of the GBI, who spoke about leadership in law enforcement and how to transition your career out of “survival” mode and into a strong position of leadership.  Mr. Keenan should know, as he has been promoted to every sworn rank in the agency since joining law enforcement in 1972.  We also learned the GBI has ties to the very roots of AFIS Internet, as we heard from Debra Brown, who retired from that agency in 2014.  She gave is an excellent history of AFIS Internet and certainly taught me things I didn’t know about this very special group of people.
  3. All hail the Federal Bureau of Investigations!  Rachel Pastorial from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Systems division has probably forgotten more about the use of facial comparison technology than I will learn in a lifetime.  She provided us with a highly useful overview of the face comparison discipline, which should come in handy for many AFIS Internet members as they transition into additional biometrics disciplines outside of fingerprint and ten print identification.
  4. The greatness of The First 48. We had the absolute pleasure of hearing from John X. Kim, senior executive producer and co-creator of “The First 48,” who is also the brain behind a laundry list of popular real-life crime shows, such as “Crime Scenes Uncovered,” “Steven Segal Lawman,” “Dallas SWAT,” “Detroit SWAT,” and much more. “The First 48” is a highly acclaimed real-life homicide investigation series now in its 16th season on A&E.  Mr. Kim gave us the inside scoop on how that TV series came to be created, plus he provided some fascinating anecdotes about some of their most popular cases.

Of course, NEC also showcased its latest identification technologies, including our newest innovation, Multi-Modal Integrated Biometric Workstation (IBW), which is NEC’s latest MBIS platform.  Watch Kris Ranganath from NEC provide the newest advancements in ID technology in this video.

Also, one of the more popular attractions was the demo of SmartScan, our next-generation livescan solution launched earlier this year.  John Dowden, senior product manager for NEC’s biometrics business, wowed audiences with the capabilities of a livescan station designed with a sleek footprint, intuitive Windows 10 user interface and high-horsepower capabilities for a variety of applications both in-house and out in the field.

So that’s it – if you missed AFIS Internet this year in Atlanta, you missed out! Of course, you can catch a glimpse or relive the excitement by checking out our photo library.

 

2016 Annual AFIS Internet User Conference

2016 Annual AFIS Internet User Conference

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Can You Really Predict Technology Trends?

Every year there are always plenty of fresh predictions and industry trends brought forward and discussed. They make for interesting reading, and beg the question – are they really predictions or are we just susceptible to the power of suggestion?

Many predictions have solid backing, such as Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends, announced at the Gartner Symposium / ITXpo. Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization, including a high potential for disruption to the business, end users, or IT; the need for a major investment; or the risk of being late to adopt. They look at trends that will impact an organization’s long-term plans, programs, and initiatives.

For 2016, Gartner predicted the following trends:

  • The Device Mesh
  • Ambient User Experience
  • 3D Printing Materials
  • Information of Everything
  • Advanced Machine Learning
  • Autonomous Agents and Things
  • Adaptive Security Architecture
  • Mesh App and Service Architecture
  • Internet of Things Platforms

In another set of predictions, No Jitter showcased the top four UC predictions for 2016. These included:

What Do They Have In Common?

When we read some of the trends and predictions, they almost seem too good to be true. It would appear that technology is moving toward almost an AI state where we can rely on it for everything. Science fiction aside, the one constant we do see is how technology improves the lives of those in business, communities, government entities, law enforcement, and individually at home and school. What we see is that all these trends have a common thread, one that we believe is critical to consider with every innovation we create at NEC – effective communication, collaboration, and orchestration of lives using Smart Solutions to improve and enhance every aspect of our lives.

For example, when adding UC to Workforce Management, contact centers are even more empowered to provide excellent customer service. If you combine Unified Communications with SDN, you have a powerful system that not only ensures your employees are communicating in a more efficient manner, but the system is now able to align itself with any traffic, making disaster recovery or even challenging inclement weather much easier to overcome.

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Biometrics is another solution that has so many applications to positively impact our lives. Whether it’s the ability for law enforcement to rapidly and correctly identify a bad guy on the spot, or retail establishments to provide their customers with an amazing experience, biometrics will impact a multitude of industries, improving customer experiences and empowering the forward momentum of the Internet of Things.

Information is at an all-time premium, as businesses move toward more efficient and effective operations. When combining SDN with our server technology, our clients now can focus on their business needs and let the technology support the flow of data in an efficient manner to ensure constant access and improved uptime.

Of course, when you think about the Information of Everything, it is important to include data analytics as a foundational element. According to Gartner, by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data about almost every topic imaginable. There will be an abundance of data, but how do you make sense of it? Data analytics is no longer a single solution to consider, but a necessary component to capture data and provide appropriate information to create actionable results. Those companies that harness the power this data provides will have a competitive advantage.

Speaking of data, companies are not the only ones who have a significant need for big data, analytics, and positive user experiences. NEC focuses on various solutions, such as water leak detection systems; integration support for semantic interoperability into the NEC Internet of Things and Smart City Platforms; and integrated platforms for distribution of grid management, energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy storage, just to name a few.

Just like Gartner and No Jitter, NEC invests significant effort and resources into research to ensure that solutions we develop will not only meet the needs of our clients today, but also their upcoming needs tomorrow. This serious focus on research and development has been part of the core philosophy of NEC since our inception. We believe that as recognized innovation leaders we can ensure our solutions truly meet the needs of our clients while continuing to keep pace with emerging trends and the expanding capabilities technology affords for the future.

Can you predict technology trends? We believe so—but only by keeping your finger on the pulse of business and societal needs.  NEC’s focus on solutions perfectly aligns with the trends we see, combining powerful technology to empower our clients and enhance their lives. Whether  providing platforms for significantly improved communication, ensuring improved flow of information through powerful data analytics, or inventing new solutions for society that support a better life, NEC will continue to focus on improving our lives through technology.

6 Reasons for IT Pros to be Thankful

It’s the time of year when we express our gratitude. Just check any social media platform and you will see various countdowns of thankfulness or 40 days of gratitude. People share all types of things, from being thankful for family and friends, to how their dog makes them happy, to how they love a certain food. Let’s face it – we have a lot to be thankful for! And one of those is the way our lives can be positively impacted by innovation and technology.

OK, so it might not make the top 10 list at your Thanksgiving dinner, but for IT professionals, technology is not only their means of making a living, it’s the one thing that can make their lives easier, provide them an opportunity to make a positive impact, and support their organizations in reaching goals.

We asked some IT professionals what they had to be thankful for regarding certain NEC technology solutions, and here’s what they said:

  1. Unified Communications + Software-defined Networking UC is great because I now have a single platform to handle all communications, making it easier to administrate. This improves efficiency while also being more reliable, especially when you add SDN. I never worry about losing connectivity or being out of touch because SDN reconfigures on the fly. There is no concern about missing an alert or important voice mail with this solution.
  2. Retail Solutions for Improved Customer Experience Before being able to combine powerful solutions such as biometrics, analytics and unified communications, I had to work with disparate systems to provide good customer information. Now, I am able to improve both security and our customer service programs using biometrics. Plus, the information we receive is actionable. We can empower sales associates to provide a much better customer experience in the store. And our loss prevention has never been stronger. These are both goals we have strived to reach for a while, and I am happy to see us making big strides in both areas.
  3. Biometrics Support Law Enforcement While I may be in the background, I take my position very seriously. It is important that our men and women serving our communities on the front lines have the best tools available to safely and effectively do their jobs. That is why having biometric solutions such as NeoFace® and NeoScan 45® are so important. They give us accurate information quickly so we can take proper action. Getting the bad guys off the street is important, and making sure we make the proper identification is crucial. These tools empower us to do so, and having the opportunity to support law enforcement teams is powerful.
  4. Network Solutions: SDN, Servers & Storage Empower IT By enabling my organization to use virtual machines much more efficiently, I don’t have to physically reconfigure the network. Plus, I don’t have to hard code as I used to. It minimizes finger pointing between vendors and lets us troubleshoot more effectively. In case of mergers or acquisitions, I can easily integrate two networks while still maintaining administrative capability in an OpenFlow network.
  5. Business Analytics tell the Story Before business analytics were so readily available, we were unable to provide empowering data to our customers. Using business analytics gives me information to more efficiently do my job. For example, with the ability to see historical data, we can now ascertain that the sales spike we are seeing is temporary, so I can use my existing infrastructure more effectively. I can analyze the data usage by every department, and because business owners can see information on their trends, together we can ensure we are deploying resources to accommodate their critical business goals and initiatives. It’s seamless to our internal customers, and ensures that everyone has what they need from a computing power standpoint.
  6. Uniquely NEC – #SolutionsforSociety We have a tendency to take technology for granted now, having it so readily at our fingertips. However, NEC’s major initiative to use technology to innovate Solutions for Society is a prime example of how we can use technology to create a better world. With solutions focused on transportation, water conservation, improved communication and quality of life, we are orchestrating a brighter world through technology. That is something to be thankful for!


Thanks for stopping by and we would like to wish our IT professionals, friends, and families a warm and Happy Thanksgiving.