NEC Places First for Accuracy in NIST Testing, Again

  • #1 in Mugshot Identification
  • #1 in Border Security Identification

In an industry fiercely bent towards competition and innovation, we are proud to share that NEC’s facial recognition algorithm again placed first for accuracy in two key categories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) most recent Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 1:N Identification.

This builds on two decades of success in which NEC has consistently outperformed the competition in terms of both accuracy and speed, even when faced with demographic differentials like race and sex, or when subjects are wearing facemasks for coronavirus.

The new NIST results published August 5, 2021, showed NEC’s algorithm outperformed the entire field of 291 entries submitted from all over the world on both mugshot identification and border security identification. Our NEC-004 algorithm demonstrated False Negative Identification Rate (FNIR) of just 0.0022 and 0.0345 at a False Positive Rate (FPIR) of 0.003, respectively.

These are the two most important categories for many NEC customers who rely on our technology for law enforcement, immigration, border security, access control for passengers boarding airplanes, for service members at military installations, for employees at government facilities, as well as for visitors of public venues like theme parks and stadiums.

The results from this week were an update to the NIST Interagency report 8271 originally published in September 2019. The major finding of that report was that massive gains in face recognition accuracy had been achieved in the years 2013 to 2018, and these far exceed improvements made in the prior period, 2010 to 2013. Here again today we can see the progress continues for NEC and it reconfirms the ability of face recognition technology to improve the user experience and serve as an effective tool for enhancing security for a wide variety of applications.

Over the last decade, our algorithms have consistently placed at the top of NIST’s ranking on a number of factors primarily due to our massive investments in research and a sharp focus on the needs of our customers. Ensuring algorithms are accurate is essential to helping our customers fulfill their important missions and building public trust in the use of these technologies.

In particular, assessing algorithms’ accuracy across demographic groups is a key component of efforts to mitigate the risk of bias and discrimination. We appreciate NIST’s work in this area and are proud that, when NIST evaluated face recognition algorithms’ performance across demographic groups in 2019, it found that NEC’s algorithm showed “undetectable” false positive error rate differentials across demographic groups based on race and sex.

In the era of COVID-19, NEC also demonstrated the ability to verify identity on subjects even when wearing facemasks. In testing performed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at its “S&T Rally” conducted last year in Maryland, the NEC algorithms again outperformed all competition in several key categories. In fact, we showed a True Identification Rate of 98.7 percent in scenarios that simulated a boarding gate at an airport with passengers wearing masks.

Throughout many years of NIST testing, the U.S. government has regularly benchmarked the entire facial recognition algorithm market against NEC’s industry-leading results. In 2019, NIST found that 19 companies had caught up to the NEC 2013 algorithm in overall accuracy. In 2020, a handful of companies were able to produce algorithms that met or exceeded NEC’s past performance. Here again NEC is setting a higher bar.

We are especially proud to bring home first place honors in these evaluations because it affirms our mission to serve as a trusted partner to our country’s public servants.

To read more, you can access the full NIST report, linked here.

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NEC Launches Foreign Ownership Mitigated Subsidiary to Deliver Advanced Technologies to US Government

As announced in May, NEC Corporation of America recently launched NEC National Security Systems (NSS), a Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI)-mitigated subsidiary under an anticipated Special Security Agreement (SSA) with the U.S. Government that will allow us to provide world-class, advanced technology to the federal government.

Backed in part by NEC Corporation’s 122-year heritage and history of innovation and $1 billion in research and development, the new company’s mission is to deploy groundbreaking, end-to-end systems for access control and security, identify verification, scene processing, advanced analytics and intrusion detection.

Kathleen KiernanToday, I am pleased to share that Dr. Kathleen L. Kiernan will be joining NEC NSS as Interim President on July 1. As a 29-year veteran of Federal Law Enforcement and one of the country’s foremost experts in threat detection, Dr. Kiernan will play a fundamental role in helping to lead NEC NSS into the next phase of development. Her extensive government experience and many accomplishments, coupled with her expertise in ID management and biometrics, make her an incredible asset to the future of NSS.

Currently, Dr. Kiernan is the CEO and founder of Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH), a women-owned global consulting firm specializing in intelligence, law enforcement and national security. She is a recognized expert in strategic thinking, strategy development, and facilitating critical incident management exercises for senior leaders across government and private sector organizations. She brings to NEC deep expertise in understanding the needs of federal governments and private sector organizations and creating common-sense approaches to society’s most complex problems.

On behalf of all NEC, I’d like to welcome Dr. Kiernan to NEC NSS! Under her leadership, paired with our distinguished Board of Directors and talented staff, the future looks bright for NEC NSS.

Stay up to date on all things NEC NSS by visiting www.necnss.com, and don’t forget to follow us on both LinkedIn and Twitter!

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NEC Welcomes Mike Lesko as Sr. Director of Government Technology & Services

Mike brings with him a diverse and prestigious work history and background within the public safety industry space, including service on numerous national policy boards, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Advisory Policy Board (APB), the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council as well as SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics.

Mike LeskoNECAM is proud to announce that Mike Lesko has joined our team as Senior Director of Government Technology and Services. Mike comes to us from the Texas Department of Public Safety, where he served as Division Director, overseeing the Law Enforcement Support Division (LESD).

His familiarity with NEC is unmatched. He has served as Chair of the AFIS Internet Board (recently renamed to International Biometrics Association—an annual conference of NEC AFIS/MBIS users), as well as being well known among our user community. We are excited to share that his role within NEC will concentrate on three strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthening our public safety and law enforcement product roadmap
  2. Enhancing ARS’ strategic direction of extending our services beyond identification bureaus.
  3. Representing NEC in key national and Federal policy boards.

Mike and his family live in Austin, Texas, where he enjoys cooking Texas barbeque, the occasional round of golf, and cheering on the Texas Longhorns.

Join us in welcoming Mike Lesko to the NEC team!

Hawaii Department of Transportation selects NEC thermal solution for screening travelers

Business and travel shutdowns and mandatory 14-day quarantines have proven to slow the spread of COVID-19, albeit at great cost to local economies. States are now challenged with reopening commerce without causing a spike in infections, which could again overwhelm hospitals and lead to further lockdowns.

Looking for a safe way to bring travelers back into the state and reduce delays and bottlenecks in the deplaning process, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) ultimately chose an NEC-led team for deployment of a thermal screening solution at all five state-run airports. The HDOT project award includes equipment, installation and a 10-year maintenance plan that will keep airport traffic flowing safely into the future. Approximately 90 percent of the deployment and maintenance will be completed by local Hawaiian businesses.

The NEC solution leverages thermal sensing and facial recognition technologies to detect elevated body temperature (EBT) and alert screeners to anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater. The system, which is being deployed in three phases before the end of 2020, can detect faces wearing masks covering the nose and mouth, allowing a thermal sensor to screen passengers for elevated body temperature so that they can be called aside for additional health screening.

Prior to deployment, members of the Hawaii National Guard were manually scanning deplaning passengers for elevated body temperature. The new thermal screening system speeds the process and reduces potential exposure of pathogens from infected passengers to human screeners.

As travel volumes ramp up in Hawaii, the facial recognition component of the system will temporarily and anonymously track passengers who screen positive for elevated body temperature until a human screener is able to meet the passenger for a secondary evaluation. Passenger image and temperature data collected by the system is deleted after 30 minutes.

NEC NeoFace® Thermal Express technology empowers both government agencies and private commercial entities to check temperatures of foot traffic, without having to create long lines or bottlenecks for individual identification and temperature checks. In a time when social distancing is needed, the flow-through system promotes safety and hygiene by isolating EBT and identifying the source on the move.

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Livescan That’s Truly More Efficient, Hygienic, and Affordable

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher priority has been placed on creating more hygienic workplaces and public spaces to prevent the spread of the disease. Corrections and law enforcement officers, public safety workers, courtroom professionals, and all employees supporting law enforcement and legal systems must take greater measures to protect themselves and the public.

For instance, potential COVID-19 outbreaks in our nation’s jails and prisons can put incarcerated individuals, the correctional workforce and surrounding communities at risk. In response to this danger, leaders and employees of correctional facilities have been tasked to combat the crisis in a way that protects the health, safety, and well-being of all individuals.

SmartScan®, NEC’s livescan solution, helps improve and verify the quality of biometric images, including fingerprints, palmprints, faces, irises, and even scars, marks, and tattoos (SMT). In addition to providing law enforcement with the most accurate and easy-to-operate solution in the industry, SmartScan also offers a hygienic user experience through our optional NEC NeoFace® face recognition technology for biometric logon and identity verification. With multiple configuration options to meet various budgetary requirements, NEC’s SmartScan truly is the most affordable, hygienic, and intuitive solution on the market today.

DID YOU KNOW… NEC’s SmartScan has a proven track record in numerous livescan deliveries, including Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Texas Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Huntsville Police Department, Alabama Atmore Police Department, and Alabama Mobile County Sheriff’s Office!

Automated, Accurate, and Efficient

The problem with livescan systems today is that they haven’t changed much in 20 years. They suffer from an obsolete design, outdated user interface, lack of security features, and poor maintainability.

NEC’s SmartScan is different. It has an intuitive user interface leveraging the built-in capabilities of Microsoft® Windows® 10, such as modern pinch-and-zoom and swipe features that effortlessly guide livescan operators through the image capture process. Other benefits include:

  • Auto-capture function – Dramatically speeds up the image capture process.
  • Superior image quality – Captures high quality images for accurate search.
  • Rapid processing – NEC’s biometric image processing tool provides immediate feedback, making it easy and fast for operators to review and ensure the quality of captured images.
  • Intuitive user interface – Visually guides operators through the capture process, making it easier, faster, and more automated.
  • Easy integration – Can be integrated into existing criminal history, records management, and jail management systems.
  • Convenient and flexible web client – Facilitates system administration and configuration management.

A closer look at NEC’s SmartScan

DID YOU KNOW… NEC’s SmartScan offers face recognition as an option to create a touchless, more hygienic experience, even with face masks on!

Hygienic and Safe

With the awareness brought about by COVID-19, public safety workers are seeking potential ways to reduce the spread of coronaviruses and other pathogens that may surface in the future. NEC’s SmartScan supports this goal by offering a more hygienic approach, including:

  • Flat (4-4-2) fingerprints instead of rolled fingerprints – Speeds the process and reduces contact time for livescan operators and the individuals being processed.
  • Responsive touchscreen – even while wearing gloves.
  • Optional use of face recognition to avoid contact
    • Operator biometric logon
    • Subject verification
  • Built-in foot pedals – Provides another option in the capture of fingerprints, palmprints, and other biometric images instead of touching screen, making it more sanitary for operators.

Affordable and Solid Return on Investment

Most agencies are facing budget constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic. NEC is proud of the affordability of our SmartScan solution, offering flexible options to meet budgetary and operational demands. For example, SmartScan is available in multiple configurations, including a ruggedized cabinet with a large display. Desktop and portable options are also available to meet all funding requirements.

Taking it one step further, through our flexible leasing programs, NEC can not only help eliminate the need for a large upfront payment, we can also help deliver the solution with affordable monthly payments. Furthermore, NEC offers GSA pricing and other intermediary pricing schedules to avoid the cumbersome procurement process, making it easy to own a SmartScan.

Working within your funding constraints, NEC offers flexible customer support and service options, including onsite, remote, or assist-as-needed, to better meet your operational and budget needs.

Why NEC’s SmartScan

NEC’s award-winning solutions are backed by rigorous research and development (R&D), including more than $1.2 billion invested in R&D annually. Our biometric algorithms have been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in comprehensive evaluations, including:

  • Eight consecutive wins in NIST evaluations for fingerprint matching
  • Five consecutive wins in NIST evaluation for face recognition
  • Ranked number 1 in NIST evaluation for iris recognition

As a Fortune Global 500 company with 120 years of experience and technology expertise, NEC offers the fastest and most accurate face recognition and fingerprint matching algorithms. In addition, our face recognition technology is the most resilient for low resolution and poor-quality images. We currently have over 64,000 patents and over 700 large-scale biometric solutions installed in more than 70 countries. We are here today and tomorrow to support your mission-critical operations!

NEC’s SmartScan solution streamlines processing and captures superior quality digital biometric images in far less time and with fewer rejected scans. To learn more about SmartScan, you can explore here.