NEC Advanced Recognition Systems Launches NeoFace® Express at Connect:ID

The connect:ID Conference and Exposition held May 1-3 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. has grown in size and significance as governments, the private sector, and consumers, increasingly realize the importance of secure identity recognition solutions. The three-day event drew together the world’s leading minds and offered end users practical advice, examined current government policies, and provided thought-provoking insights into the future of identity through the use of biometrics technology.

This year, NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems was a Silver Sponsor at the conference. We demonstrated our fully integrated end-to-end identification solutions from collection to matching to enabling diverse missions. Our open architecture solutions integrate with other COTS technologies to seamless support customers.

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One of the most popular attractions was the demo of the newly launched NeoFace Express, a rapid-access biometric solution based on NEC’s world-renowned facial recognition technology. This solution represents a new class of facial recognition system setting the stage for the future of travel, secure access and identity recognition. Its unique capabilities are the result of NEC’s years of research and global deployment experience in high-throughput identity authentication. With its robust capture process and sleek design, it delivers frictionless, seamless enrollment, verification and identification in a variety of settings, such as airports, border crossings, ports of entry/exit and other high-demand, high-traffic areas.

NEC also showcased other innovative identification technologies including SmartScan, NeoFace Watch, NeoScan45 and Integra-ID iBW5. 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. View Our Complete NIST Rankings.

On Day One, I presented Airport Screening and Security of the Future. In his session, he covered the recent and future technology trends expected to bring change to screening and security at airports across the United States – from reservation to the traveler’s final destination. He examined video surveillance, multimodal biometric solutions, e-tickets, and pre-registration programs all geared toward enhancing security and convenience of passengers in airports. The same day, Benji also chaired a panel discussion, Disruptive Global Trends and the Role of Effective Identity Technology. The panel discussed the threat of terrorism, mass displacement and movement of populations, and political implications.

After a long day on the show floor, NEC hosted a private networking event at Casa Luca, where over 90 event attendees enjoyed a relaxing evening with their colleagues and the soulful cuisine from the Marche region of Italy’s central Adriatic coast.

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

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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.

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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.

Warning Calgary Criminals: You Can Run…But You Can No Longer Hide!

Every day, members of law enforcement risk their lives and spend long, grueling hours trying to catch criminals. They make these sacrifices to protect law-abiding citizens, so shouldn’t they be provided with useful technology that would aid them in their investigations?

Calgary Police Service: Investigative Experts Choose NeoFace®

Recently, the City of Calgary (Canada) and the Calgary Police Service (CPS) made the conscious choice to enhance their investigative capability by choosing NeoFace® Reveal facial recognition software. This decision did not come without a rigorous review process of multiple face recognition-based criminal identification systems, but nothing less should be expected from investigative experts.

The implementation of NeoFace Reveal will reduce investigation times and lighten the caseloads through more efficient methods of analyzing images. Additionally, quicker identifications inform investigators of a criminal’s identity immediately following a crime, thus preventing the criminal from gaining a significant head start while fleeing. CPS will be able to confidently solve higher volumes of crime in a much more timely and efficient manner. Ultimately, this facial recognition solution gives the  Calgary Police Service a valuable tool to serve public safety and security needs.

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Bio-Metrics | Life-To Measure

Some may wonder…what is biometrics exactly? Simply, it is the study of identifying and verifying individuals based on their physical characteristics. Not so simply, it includes a person’s recognition through biological measurements such as their fingerprints, voice, DNA, the iris of the eye, hair and facial features.

These are but a few examples of characteristics that police departments use to verify and identify persons of interest. The sphere of the characteristics used in law enforcement investigations expands to more specific kinds of measurements, although facial characteristics can be examined and identified much quicker than the other factors. NEC recognizes the importance and usefulness of facial recognition, and through years of experience has developed NeoFace Reveal into a go-to resource for law enforcement.

NeoFace, Revealed!

Facial recognition techniques have existed for some time, but NEC has perfected the process through advanced technology. Investigators are able to process and analyze images rapidly and with unsurpassed accuracy and matching speed. Standard imaging enhancements, such as crop/rotate, brightness, contrast, intensity, smooth, sharpen, histogram equalization, noise reduction, aspect ratio correction, and de-interlacing, are combined with additional highly developed processing methods that allow for superior image quality and matching ability.

NeoFace advanced enhancements include:

·         Pose correction on off-centered images improves facial matching score

·         Consolidation of multiple images creates the most accurate frontal face image

·         Illumination allows correction of shadows from off-center light sources

The images acquired during an investigation do not always provide law enforcement with the clear-cut evidence or positive identification needed in an investigation. Whether the image is too dark or taken at the wrong angle, a number of potential things can slow down an investigation. NeoFace easily addresses these issues. Poor quality images, outdated criminal photos, or images that appear to be unusable are no longer setbacks associated with facial recognition technology when using NeoFace Reveal.

For more information on NeoFace, visit our web site where you can find more information on this solution as well as case studies and white papers. We are proud to serve law enforcement by providing solutions for society that help keep us safe.