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.

Compassion and innovation can be a positive force for the social justice movement

As a technology industry leader with deep research and development roots, NEC is guided both by strong principles around scientific exploration, as well as the ethical implications of our projects.

I wrote recently that a brighter world “will never exist while systemic racism and other forms of social injustice continue to oppress the Black and other marginalized communities.”

Globally, NEC Corporation President & CEO Takashi Niino has stated previously that as a supplier of public safety technologies, we are committed to maintaining an open and broad dialogue with employees, customers, partners, citizens, civic leaders and our colleagues in government.

NEC is a company with developed core values, including AI & Human Rights Principles, and we are committed to helping to end racial injustice in our society. Our efforts to operationalize our values and AI & Human Rights Principles help us responsibly develop and sell biometric technologies, including face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, finger vein, and others.

Today in the United States, many law enforcement agencies use our technology as a tool for investigative decision-making and determining possible leads in a case. As noted by numerous legal experts and scholars, a match using facial recognition alone is not a means for positive identification. Additional police work is required.

police in the communityAlthough current events have brought the topics of social justice, law enforcement and technology to the forefront of national discourse, NEC, through continued research and development, has long thought about the ways in which facial recognition algorithms can affect people of color. We have gone to great lengths to ensure our facial recognition algorithms are accurate across racial and other demographic groups.

For over a decade, our algorithms have ranked highest in accuracy in tests by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), widely considered a global authority on testing of biometric algorithms. Unlike many facial recognition algorithms that in last year’s NIST report, showed a pervasive problem with demographic disparity, NEC’s high-performing algorithm did not demonstrate this issue. As the matter of fact, our algorithm was singled out for being “on many measures, the most accurate algorithm we have ever tested.” This holds true across the diverse array of races and genders represented in the image test database.

This brings me to what NEC believes on the issues.

We believe it is possible to have compassion and actively work to improve conditions for America’s vibrant communities of color, while supporting our law enforcement customers and supporting reforms that encourage responsible use of our technology by law enforcement.

Furthermore, we believe that public safety agencies should responsibly use advanced facial recognition and other innovative technologies to help correct inherent biases, protect privacy and civil rights, and fairly and effectively conduct investigations for social justice.

On the topic of policy and regulation, we have and shall continue to support the development of legislation that provides and enhances existing guidelines for the responsible use of facial recognition technology.

We are dedicated to working with our law enforcement customers, the diverse communities they serve, and the policymakers who represent those diverse communities to find the best possible path forward. As we continue to work toward a brighter world, we plan to find ways to participate in ending systemic racism in America, and to use the best technology to do so.

Sincerely,
Mark Ikeno
President & CEO
NEC Corporation of America

A Message from the Office of Mark Ikeno, President and CEO of NEC Corporation of America

As events have unfolded this past week, many of us have gone through a spectrum of emotions. Sadness, anger, grief, frustration, and a strong desire for change all come to mind.

George Floyd’s death is unfortunately just one recent event in a long history of similarly tragic incidents across the country, and we recognize that the current increased focus on systemic racial justice issues is long overdue. We stand with those who are grieving and hurting and support those working to eradicate racial injustice in our society.

We understand that the brighter world we strive to orchestrate will never exist while systemic racism and other forms of social injustice continue to oppress the Black and other marginalized communities.

To those of you powerfully explicating and combatting these complex problems, we appreciate your work, we are paying attention, and we are committed to being part of the solutions.  Although we do not yet know exactly what those solutions will entail, we are listening, we are watching, and we are broadening and deepening our ongoing dialogue about the multifaceted issues at the intersection of racial justice, human rights, and technology.

To our law enforcement, first responder, and public safety customers who are dedicated to protecting and serving individuals of all races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations, we recognize the challenges you face and how difficult it must be to see so many of our communities so divided. We are committed to continuing to partner with you and the communities you serve to cooperatively ensure that our efforts to make society safer equally make society more just and inclusive.

We are here to support our employees, our customers, and all those taking a stand against injustice as we all band together, the way we must, to employ our individual and collective skills and resources to shape a better future for the world.

Sincerely,
Mark Ikeno
President & CEO
NEC Corporation of America