Fast, High-Accuracy Facial Recognition will be Best for Executive Ordered Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking

In early March of this year, President Trump released a revised version of a previously released Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Section 8 of this Executive Order directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite the completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system. This new biometric enabled entry and exit vetting system poses a number of interesting challenges and opportunities for all stakeholders.

Department of Homeland Security and CBP Focus
Every day, approximately 100,000 flights take off around the globe with over 3.7 billion passengers projected to fly in 2017. The U.S. accounts for almost a quarter of that air travel currently. Our federal policy, infrastructure, manpower and technology are currently aligned to facilitate vetting individuals as they enter the country, but the same alignment is not in place to vet individuals exiting our borders. This allows foreign nationals to overstay visas and continue to live in the U.S. illegally. Addressing this exit challenge requires concerted efforts to align policy (domestic and international), invest in new border infrastructure, and leverage the best of biometric technology to ensure accurate, efficient identity vetting.

Border Entry and Exit Challenges
Luckily, the state-of-the-art in biometric vetting technology has evolved significantly since lawmakers initially envisioned the biometric entry/exit system in the wake of 9/11. Gone are the days of cost prohibitive and complex biometric technology. Fingerprints have long been considered one of the gold standard modalities of biometrics. These technologies require travelers to stop and submit fingerprints when crossing borders, thereby limiting throughput.

Face Recognition Provides Unique Benefits
The best solution for a modern biometric entry/exit system requires the stand-off, high-throughput, and extreme accuracy of facial recognition. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has expressed an interest in a future where crossing borders leverages the security, convenience, and speed of frictionless authentication through facial recognition. NEC sees a similar world where travelers and passengers move seamlessly through transportation spaces such as airports. Their data are collected without contact so moving individuals do not need to stop to present fingerprints or a secure tokens such as a passport, border card, or driver’s license.

Furthermore, facial recognition technology does not require a large footprint or major renovations to existing border infrastructure. Where there are infrastructure challenges at the borders and ports of entry, facial recognition can be installed with minimal disruption to travel patterns or the need for additional queues or checkpoints. Fast and effective, facial recognition also works at a distance which will minimize travel friction at high-traffic areas. Effective policy that synchronizes data from the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and various federal law enforcement agencies will create an iron-clad backbone for the U.S. government to know who is currently on U.S. soil.

The next 12 to 18 months will be an exciting time of rapid change for all stakeholders involved in protecting our borders. The deployment of an effective and efficient biometric entry/exit system will undoubtedly enhance the level of security and convenience for travelers crossing our borders. This system will also support the flow of commerce, free from security threats. These attributes will contribute to the safety, security, and wellbeing of our nation.

Contact us today if you like to learn more about how NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems can help your government agency.

Advanced Recognition Systems and Solutions

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People. Patterns. Predictions. Meet the new NEC Advanced Recognition Systems.

This week I am celebrating my sixth anniversary with NEC. I recall that my original trip to visit the Headquarters in Tokyo was postponed by the unfortunate events of the 2011 Tsunami and earthquake.

Since then, we have established our Center of Excellence in North America and extended our offering to U.S. Federal clients. We also introduced a number of products and services, including ground breaking cloud-based Identity as a Service (IDaas), and we solidified our position as the premier provider to Law Enforcement and public safety clients in the United States.

These days, rather than thinking about the past I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the future. A future where I see continued proliferation of biometrics use, increased emphasis on crime prevention and a convergence of “identity” with access management. Through advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), our biometrics technology can evolve from technology used to determine where people have been and what they may have done, to predict where people will go and what they will do.

In response to these emerging market trends, today I’m proud to announce that we have rebranded our former biometrics solutions division to NEC Advanced Recognition Systems. I believe that biometrics coupled with high-powered analytical engines can predict and positively alter our travel experiences providing easier access, shorter lines and improved utilization of resources; recognize patterns for real-time monitoring, threat assessment and escalation and through it all provide tools for improved planning and forecasting.

Want more information about a Safety and Security solution from NEC?
Want more information about a Safety and Security solution from NEC?

To underscore our mission and align our products and services the new Advanced Recognition Systems group will give emphasis to three key words: People, Patterns and Predictions.

People. Our primary mission is to serve citizens and the people who protect them. Whether keeping the public safe at home, supporting troops overseas, improving the experience of travelers, or providing the right identity at the right time, our advanced recognition systems supply trusted intelligence to help build safer and brighter communities.

Patterns. From fingerprint pattern recognition to arrangements of accessible data, sequences of critical information are everywhere—you just have to know where to look. Our cutting-edge advanced recognition systems can pinpoint valuable patterns for solving crime, strengthening national security, and identifying trends and efficiencies for tech-savvy businesses. All to help enable diverse missions and realize the possibilities.

Predictions. Our advanced recognition systems can transform the efficiency of your team. Instead of simply gathering and reporting data, our technologies analyze intelligence to predict public safety threats, alert agencies to emerging global concerns, pinpoint potential risks in high-traffic venues, and provide invaluable input to critical business decisions.

Our new name better aligns our extensive local and global capabilities in meeting the all-encompassing needs of our clients. Using our systems integration approach to the market we are committed to understanding our clients’ challenges first, and assist them with a full solution implementation in comparison to any specific biometric technology or tool.

While finding success in reaching these new markets, we remain committed to our roots and will continue to consistently provide high-quality, accurate solutions for government and public safety markets.


I’d like to thank everyone who has participated in NEC’s success in the past six years and who have also contributed to the study and launch of this new vision. I hope you’ll take a look around the new Web site and help us spread the word.

Here’s to the future!

Advanced Recognition Systems
People. Patterns. Predictions.
Raffie

Advanced Recognition Systems and Solutions

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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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NEC Strengthens Its Biometrics Solution by Partnering with Expert Dr. Anil Jain

As a society, we’re increasingly comfortable with cameras being a part of everyday life. They’re built into our phones, hanging over every traffic light, and placed behind most cash registers. Still, for law enforcement, a perfect image of a face can be hard to come by, especially when suspects intentionally try to obscure their identity.

It was this issue that Dr. Anil Jain, distinguished professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), set out to solve Using a database of unconstrained images – also known as “faces in the wild” because pictures are pulled from sources like social media – Dr. Jain and his team (Dr. Dayong Wang, a postdoctoral researcher, and Charles Otto, a doctoral student) created an algorithm that quickly generates a list of candidate matches to help identify unknown faces from surveillance camera footage or crime-scene images.

NEC recently partnered with Dr. Jain and MSU to license this large-scale face-search system and will use it to enhance its current facial recognition solutions.

“NEC has a very powerful face recognition software called NeoFace that was primarily designed for mug shot to mug shot matching,” said Dr. Jain, “and it has performed extremely well compared to its peers in that kind of scenario. So, they were looking for a solution for the problem where query images have rather large variability in terms of pose, illumination, and expression, and still need to be searched against large face databases.”

“NEC is committed to maintaining its leadership position in facial recognition solutions,” said Raffie Beroukhim, vice president, NECAM’s Biometrics Solutions Division. “In addition to our own continued research, partnerships with academia, in particular Michigan State University, is an important aspect of this commitment. We look forward to the fusion of MSU large-scale face-search algorithm with our industry-leading NeoFace facial algorithms to offer more compelling solutions to address ever-increasing security threats and enhance public and national security.”

“What we provided is a prototype,” said Dr. Jain. “NEC will modify the algorithm that we provided, integrate it with their existing systems, and improve the overall face recognition performance.”

Since joining MSU in 1974, Dr. Jain has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to the field of pattern recognition and biometrics, including his February 2016 election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions bestowed on an engineer.

Interestingly, he didn’t set out to specialize in biometrics. His career took a turn when the U.S. government engaged Dr. Jain, about 25 years back, to find civilian applications for a government-designed hardware, the Splash 2 processor, that was based on FPGA technology.

“They didn’t tell me to work on biometrics, but the hardware that they provided us made us realize that it was extremely suitable for a generic image processing operation, called point matching, where we extract landmarks from two separate images and put them in correspondence or alignment. And since fingerprint matching is done by using point (minutia) correspondence … it was like serendipity.”

For years, biometrics was primarily used for law enforcement and government applications. Over the past five years or so, we’re seeing more consumer applications of biometrics. We use fingerprints to unlock smartphones. There’s even a facial recognition application that can estimate a subject’s age and gender for targeted advertisements. According to Dr. Jain, the rise of biometrics in our everyday lives has had an element of serendipity as well – where market forces have had to align with high usability and low cost to facilitate adoption.

“Who would have imagined just four years ago that everybody would be using a fingerprint to unlock their phones? Biometrics for mobile devices had been available earlier, but it didn’t really become popular until Apple introduced the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in 2013. This shows that sometimes, even though the technology may be ready, the technology doesn’t lift off unless it’s packaged properly – like Apple putting the fingerprint sensor in the home button.”

Dr. Jain and his doctoral students continue to use their research laboratory to investigate real-world issues and address long-standing research problems. In addition to the large-scale face-search system, recent topics include a study on the persistence of fingerprint recognition accuracy over time and methods to prevent printed photo and replay attacks on a face recognition system.

“We’re really proud of the work we did on fingerprint persistence and face spoof detection because these fundamental problems needed to be answered,” said Dr. Jain. “And these are the issues that need to be addressed for every biometric modality. The impact of the problem is what we keep in mind when we choose which topic to work on. Sometimes, more than technology advancement, we take pleasure in advancing fundamental scientific work.”

NEC is proud to collaborate with visionary leaders like Dr. Jain. NEC already has one of the strongest biometrics offerings available, and as we continue our own research and forge partnerships with biometric leaders, the future of biometrics is something to look forward to.

NEC at NRF16 – The New Face of Retail

NEC brought the latest in point of sale, biometric, analytics, and display technology to this year’s National Retail Federation EXPO (NRF). Nicknamed “Retail’s BIG Show,” NRF presents visionary leaders and game-changing ideas to the retail industry, and the NEC display made a lasting impression with show-goers.

Face the Future

A great deal of that talk in the booth centered on NEC’s revolutionary face recognition technology and how it’s helping to make stores more secure while providing valuable analytics to retailers.

Today’s shoppers want a more personalized experience and the best possible price. That’s exactly what the NeoFace Engage™ solution can provide – in real time. Integrated with the Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub, Azure Stream Analytics, Power BI and KAIT, the solution could benefit retailers by tailoring in-store advertising based on shoppers’ age and gender using real-time data and content to make offers and educate shoppers, all while capturing valuable shopper analytics.

Another biometrics-based solution, NeoFace® Watch, presented a dramatic leap forward for store security. By integrating with video surveillance systems, NeoFace Watch immediately captures images and matches them against a watch list. Store personnel are alerted to any threats through push notifications to their Apple or Android devices.

Enterprise Video Analytics™ (EVA) is one of NEC’s newest biometrics solutions. EVA captures age and gender analytics to track in-store shopper demographics. Attendees of the NRF16 EXPO saw EVA integrated with NEC’s latest point-of-sale(POS) retail options.

A Thousand Points of Service

NEC’s Stanchion® 3.0 retail suite includes hardware, software and services to enable store managers and staff greater access to data, improved communications and increased productivity within their store environments. As store owners know, consumers have more buying options than ever – too many! It has never been more important for retailers to capture a sale at the moment a consumer is ready.

That’s what attendees at NRF16 experienced live with InPosition. This mobile solution takes POS where it’s needed most – to your shopper on the store floor. InPosition also offers instant item look up and detailed product information to deliver top-notch customer service.

Many NRF attendees commented that NEC’s Interactive Projection System was a fun, “futuristic” way to order in restaurants. This solution uses projection technology to offer interactive, direct table ordering and can even push coupons and promotions to customers’ mobile devices while in the restaurant itself.

Restaurants and grocers were also shown a new approach to fresh item management. NEC’s Fresh Food Optimization solution helps reduce waste and save money by leveraging in-store data to accurately predict fresh food purchases.

To gauge consumer traffic, In-Store Analytics utilizes heat mapping to track dwell times at specific products and store locations. If we used this solution at NRF16, the NEC booth would have glowed red-hot.

On Display

You can’t attend “Retail’s BIG Show” without bringing a really big show, and that was achieved with NEC Display Solutions of America’s breathtaking selection of commercial LCD display and projector solutions.

Show-goers were captivated by NEC Display’s video wall solution using X554UNS 55-inch displays. These impressive arrays utilize Impinj RAIN RFID technology to create a unique in-store customer experience. And for a store that wants a huge, ultra-high definition splash, NEC Display showcased the impressive X981UHD 4K 98-inch display. Or for a more interactive presentation, a new interactive kiosk utilizing a 55-inch V552 display with integrated multi-touch technology was on display.

All Digital Signage solutions were powered by NEC Display’s new Intel Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) computing solutions designed to enable easier installation, use, and maintenance of digital signage.

Based on the booth traffic and attendee response, NRF16 was a tremendous showcase for NEC’s innovative solutions.

“The show was incredible,” said Gary Price, director of sales at NEC Corporation of America. “We were delighted to see a record number of people experiencing our innovations, participating in demos and asking questions about the ways the technologies can enhance their businesses. With our recent recognition as a top 50 most innovative company by Boston Consulting Group, we will maintain our focus on technology advancements to support our retail clients.”