A Solid Platform for a Touchless World

In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, fundamentally altering social paradigms and prompting governments, businesses, and the public to seek new ways of interacting. Even after the current crisis passes, it will take time to recover, and many aspects of daily life may never be the same.

In the “new normal” to follow, we expect the current emphasis on public health and safety to continue unabated, making the ability to travel, shop, and work without the use of tangible identification or credit cards, touchscreens, or digital signature pens higher priorities. To individuals and organizations alike, technologies that support both frictionless access and social distancing measures are now more important than ever. Solutions that satisfy these emerging needs will require two components:

1

Making touchpoints “touchless” to reduce the spread of infectious diseases

2

Providing an advanced, robust, and scalable platform to support hygienic customer experiences

Combined, these components offer a new, revolutionary approach to Digital Transformation (DX), which will enable personal identification via digital technologies to interconnect people—including corporations and local and national agencies—and processes. Participants who opt in to DX technologies can benefit from enhanced digital services that securely, efficiently, and hygienically permeate all facets of life.

Through many years of work with governments and enterprise partners, NEC
has developed technologies that can eliminate the need for physical interaction
when identifying individuals. Although we began our journey toward touchless technology long before the current crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a new perspective on the importance of our solutions to essential workers who are on the frontlines to ensure our safety and security. Our commitment to support these workers is one of many factors that have driven the implementation of our biometric and AI solutions for multiple purposes, including aviation and immigration.

NEC sends its heartfelt thanks to essential workers and first responders who put their own lives on the line to keep us all safe.

An example of our touchless technology at work in aviation is NEC’s implementation of the first curb-to-gate biometric terminal in the U.S. with Delta Air Lines, in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Our curb-to-gate solution enables rapid identification and real-time screening of passengers. Travelers flying to an international destination can choose to use face recognition technology to check in at the self-service kiosks, drop bags at the check-in counters, go through the TSA checkpoint, and board a flight without requiring a physical ID card or boarding pass. Not only are our solutions more efficient, they are more hygienic with reduced risk of contamination, and they help streamline and secure customer interactions.

While integrating thermal sensors is the first step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of secure, touchless access requires sensor fusion. NEC’s award-winning biometrics solutions, including face and iris recognition, coupled with our cutting-edge technologies in behavior detection, body recognition, video analytics, and artificial intelligence, provide the tools to ensure successful implementation of touchless technologies.

Please see NEC’s “Vision of a Touchless World” exclusive whitepaper below.

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Exploring the Diverse World of Biometrics at AFIS 2018

Our 32nd Annual AFIS Internet Users Conference, held in Reston, VA, was a highly successful event. It brought together professionals from around the globe, and with its proximity to our nation’s capital, we were pleased to host a number of our Federal clients as well. Together, we explored opportunities and issues impacting the public safety and law enforcement community in the near and long term future. In this time of digital transformation, attendees learned more about new techniques in forensics, experienced the latest in identification technology solutions, and how biometrics and AI can help provide a more secure, convenient and frictionless experiences for all of us.

This year’s conference was enhanced by dynamic speakers from U.S. and international law enforcement agencies (e.g. Toronto Police Services) and U.S. Federal government agencies discussing their use of biometrics and analytics technologies in meeting their challenges and success stories.

Our keynote speaker, none other than Secretary Tom Ridge, the First Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania, kicked off the three-day event discussing the evolution of our country’s security profile, the role technology plays in securing our borders, and the trends impacting local, regional and state public safety officers and investigators.

In parallel, NEC showcased its latest identification technologies that are helping federal, state and local agencies with new ways to solve crimes, predict threats, capture data, improve public safety and security. Some of the highlights include:

  • Interactive expertly guided tenprint workshops with hands-on experience with NEC’s Integra-ID® iBW, the latest in fingerprint technology processing
  • eGate Solution for Airport and NeoFace® Express showed how frictionless identification can simplify and enhance a passengers experience while increasing security
  • NEC Enhanced Video Analytics (EVA) represents the latest biometric and video analytics technology allowing for instant detection, identification and tracking of suspicious individuals in a crowd
  • NeoFace® Reveal and SmartScan 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 tenprint identification work

One of the highlights of the conference is the opportunity to network and socialize with other like-minded professionals who are facing the same issues and daily challenges. The Winery at Bull Run was a unique venue that provided a fun atmosphere of comradery for our two groups!

The conference closed with the 2018 AFIS Awards Banquet. This was a time to recognize the newly elected AFIS Internet, Inc. Executive Board and to honor recipients of the AFIS Internet 2018 “Biometric Hit of the Year Award.” Deputy Norman Kandil with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for his use of the new Facial Recognition program on a theft case that not only resulted in the arrest of the unknown suspect; it also took the Detective down an unknown path that ultimately lead to the conviction and sentencing of two additional suspects. Hector Hernandez with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office received the award for his work as a Latent Print Examiner on a human smuggling transport case resulting in the death of 10 immigrants. Other agencies were unable to identify the tenth victim, but Hector was able to get an impressive Print (Finger) hit to positively identify the last victim. Congratulations to all, with our sincere gratitude for your service!

I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the AFIS Internet Board and our host agencies, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, for their dedication and tireless efforts in organizing this conference.

This year’s AFIS Executive Board, Host Agencies and volunteers did a fantastic job of providing relevant topics, with outstanding speakers who engaged, educated and inspired us.

We now look forward to 2019 and hope you will plan to join us next August 25-28 in Scottsdale, AZ. Meanwhile, you can check out or relive the excitement by viewing our photo gallery or our AFIS 2018 recap video.

AFIS Internet Conference 2018

NEC Corporation of America

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NRF 2018: Five Trends We Think Will Transform Brick and Mortar Again

Last year, our show theme at NRF 2017 was Know Your Customer. This year, we think it’s time to use that knowledge to transform brick-and-mortar retail once again, helping it compete with online retailers.

How can in-store retailers create a frictionless, more personalized experience for their customers, while still making their own in-store processes more efficient and cost effective? At NEC we believe it’s by applying key technologies to make the entire store more customer-aware.

Here are five of those technologies we expect to see on display at NRF 2018.

#1 Data and data analytics in full swing

Think about it. Big online retailers seem to know more about you than you do.
They know what to show you and recommend to you, what you’ve looked at, “liked” or bought before—even what you’re likely to want next. By crunching all that collected data with demographics, preferences and social media data, they can predict what shoppers will best respond to.

Why shouldn’t brick-and-mortar retailers collect, analyze and apply the data available to them to tailor the in-store customer experience, too? After all, everything else being the same, there’s still nothing quite like an in-person shopping experience. And analytics can help retailers better tailor their outreach—via emails, app notifications, even in-store messaging—to bring customers back into the store.

#2 Loyalty programs enhanced by facial recognition

Face it – technology can also help with building and retaining loyal customers, by making rewards program more effective and personal.

Using facial recognition technology, for example, a retailer can identify a frequent shopper or loyalty member as soon as they enter the store. Store clerks are able to greet them by name and make suggestions based on past purchases. And later, at checkout, you can automatically apply loyalty rewards and special savings, based on their status.

#3 In-store digital signage becomes customer aware

Digital signage is nothing new in retail, but when paired with facial recognition and big data analytics, it can become customer aware. That means shelf tags and screens can display messages or ads to the nearest customer, calling attention to nearby items or specials that past behavior indicates might appeal to that customer.

But smart signage can also utilize object recognition to enhance the customer experience. This technology can detect when the shopper picks up an item (or puts it back) and direct the signage to display personalized information. For example, more product information, available options, upsell ads, or even warning about potential allergic reactions—and make alternate recommendations.

#4 Chatbots with AI and AR help both customers and staff

What if a coffeemaker needs a filter change or a checkout printer needs the ink cartridge replaced? Little things like this can bring operations to a halt, and in turn affect how well associates take care of their customers.

Instead waiting on a repair, a store associate could quickly use a tablet at the malfunction to virtually chat with a robot (artificial intelligence) about how to fix the issue. Augmented reality (AR) can even show the associate how to get the device back up and running “live”—so they can get back to serving customers.
Shoppers could benefit directly from AI/AR chatbots, too. Pointing a smartphone at an item, the chatbot could answer questions, show the customer what’s size and colors are in stock, even show the shopper wearing the items before trying it on. Of course, a chatbot can also summon an associate over to help them personally.

#5 POS and check out becomes fast, easy and automatic

And let’s forget not the checkout experience. For single-item and multi-item purchases, using biometrics and object recognition-augmented POS systems allow for an efficient, frictionless checkout experience.

How would this work? Using both facial and object recognition, the POS solution identifies both the shopper and the items as she puts them on the counter. The system quickly totals the bill—applying the appropriate discounts and rewards based on the shopper’s loyalty status—and the customer pays with a mere glance at the camera. Now that’s convenient for the customer—and efficient for the store, too.

Which technology trend will be the winner this year?

Do you see five separate technologies in our NRF 2018 predictions—or one huge opportunity for transforming brick-and-mortar retail once again?
In each of our scenarios, it’s difficult to see these applications as separate technologies. At NEC, we think the key is unifying them to make the whole store customer-aware, from end-to-end.

At NRF 2018, you’ll see how our retail and advanced recognition solutions work together, to provide more efficient store operations, and for customers, a seamless, frictionless and more personalized experience.

True, technology helps retailers get shoppers in-and-out of the store more quickly—if that’s what they want. But more importantly, NEC retail solutions allow them to spend more time enjoying the actual shopping experience. And isn’t a personal, in-store experience what brick-and-mortar retail has that online shopping simply can’t provide?

Register today to receive a free pass to NRF 2018, Retail’s Big Event