South Africa implements NEC biometric ID solution: NEC video case study

October 7, 2014 - 

NEC recently posted a case study video that details how the South African government implemented the company’s automated fingerprint identification system to replace its previous paper system.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Office requires all citizens 16 and older to provide their fingerprints for a nation-issued identification booklet.

The ID not only serves as an identification document for the country’s more than 48 million citizens, but is also used to give them access to public services.

In the past, the agency had to check fingerprint authentication manually, whose records were all kept on record as part of the system’s 45 million paper files.

This proved to be an extremely time-consuming process as the volume of files that would need to be searched through would continue to grow.

The Home Affairs Office decided to update the system by initiating the Home Affairs National Identification System project, which aimed to update the paper system with an advanced digital database.

In addition, the project would ensure that every single new and existing fingerprint could be properly processed, verified and accessible in real time.

After evaluating many biometric identification systems from various companies, the Home Affairs Office eventually turned to NEC for its AFIS solution.

“Every fingerprint is different. Every fingerprint has a different ridge structure. And we utilize such minutiae in matching,” said Masanori Hara, project director of NEC Corporation.

The system is able to recognize subtle differences in fingerprints, providing a higher accuracy rate of identity. AFIS is also able to process as many as 70,000 searches in any given day.

NEC worked with local South African engineers on the HANIS project, which has now become the world’s largest citizen identification database.

“NEC has provided us with an amazing amount of technological advancement,” said acting deputy director general for civic services South African department of Home Affairs. “I use the way to describe the system we have with them as catapulted us, taken us, leapfrogged us beyond expectations.”

The new database has reduced queues and delays, while its accuracy rate of 99.9% has significantly reduced the possibility of fraud and identity theft.

The video also asserts that the country, which was previously divided by race or belief, now integrates all citizens into a single digital archive in which they are recognized by just their fingerprint.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.