June 1, 2016 -
Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, recently recognized its own technological prowess by bestowing one of its own biometric patents with an award.
The prize acknowledged Accenture’s “biometric matching engine” patent as the most outstanding intellectual property produced by the firm in the last fiscal year, which is quite a feat, noting the company has over 150 patents granted or pending. The firm developed the engine to employ a “dynamic matching strategy”. The strategy, which is patented, identifies and contrasts individual records within databases comprising of at least two set of biometric modalities.
The strategy, according to the patent, comprises: “receiving, by a processing device, a first input biometric sample and a second input biometric sample; determining, by the processing device, a first characteristic associated with the first input biometric sample and a second characteristic associated with the second input biometric sample; grouping, by the processing device and after receiving the first input biometric sample and the second input biometric sample, a plurality of records to form a first set of records and a second set of records, the grouping being based on the first characteristic and the second characteristic; performing, by the processing device and on the first set of records, a first matching process based on a first threshold; performing, by the processing device and on the second set of records, a second matching process based on a second threshold; and identifying, by the processing device, a record, of the plurality of records, based on a result of the first matching process and a result of the second matching process.”
The main objective of the patent, according to Cyrille Bataller, a Managing Director in the Emerging Technology group at Accenture, is to be able to compare different biometric modalities in real time. “We have developed an new approach that provides maximum flexibility,” said Bataller in an exclusive interview with BiometricUpdate.com. “We designed a system that can switch from one biometric to another and that acknowledges that quality among biometric samples will vary.”
As the key artificial intelligence lead at Accenture, Bataller’s job is to incubate the next generation of cognitive technology services. With over 20 years of experience in technology innovation, Cyrille leads Accenture’s exploration of the disruptive artificial intelligence field, which include cognitive IT systems which can “sense, comprehend, act and learn”, along with interact naturally with people, data and environments, with the goal of delivering value by automating or augmenting work activities in various domains.
Cyrille considers biometrics a form of AI, along with text analytics, deep learning, cognitive robotics, and virtual agents, and notes the Accenture already leads the field of AI integration in border management with the deployment of e-gates at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Ranked as Europe’s fourth largest airport, Schiphol processes over 50 million passengers a year. With an annual expected growth in passengers of approximately five percent, but no anticipated increases to its more than 400 border guards, airport executives were all too aware of the need to achieve speed and mobility while enhancing security and safety for travelers and trade. In conjunction, with Accenture, they worked to implement e-gates, which are run in a “as-a-service” model. Accenture worked to bring together public agencies and airport operators that set performance and quality indicators, with solution providers, who bring technological and functional expertise and a broad knowledge of similar installations.
“The benefit of AI being used for border controls is that it can be used to engage with passengers ahead of time, enhancing customer service,” stated Cyrille. “We use AI to simulate intelligence that is focused on predictive tasks. Border control is perfectly suited since its operations entail a high volume of repetitive tasks and data. We apply AI to augment the higher-value security tasks that people engage in, thereby increasing speed of processing, and improving the travel experience in a direct way.”
Cyrille ultimately predicts that in the near future, borders will be staffed by AI-driven robots or virtual assistance that will quickly perform simple processing tasks, freeing up human border patrol agencies to focus on more important, higher-level security issues. The unique combination of biometric matching and AI machine learning could simultaneously speed-up passenger flow, while reducing waiting times and increasing both security and passenger screening accuracy.
Cyrille’s recent work has also focused on video analytics, an artificial intelligence specialty that applies computer vision to video surveillance cameras to derive operational, safety and marketing insights. Most notably, he supported various police safe city initiatives, where Accenture integrated advanced analytic capabilities into existing video monitoring systems to increase situational awareness, streamline operations and enhance response time to public safety incidents.
Cyrille also oversees Accenture’s unique identity activities, which is another artificial intelligence specialty which includes the provision of biometric identity management systems to UNHCR to manage refugee populations globally.
As BiometricUpdate.com reported previously, Accenture’s system is able to capture and store fingerprints, iris data and facial images of individuals, providing these undocumented refugees with their only personal identity record. UNHCR begun deploying Accenture’s system last year in refugee camp locations in Thailand and Chad, the latter of which will enable the enrollment and formal identification of 450,000 people residing in more than 19 refugee camps.
Accenture also assisted the World Bank in released a report last year to help developing nations create universal ID management systems. The report notes that over 1.8 billion adults in developing countries currently lack an official ID and therefore have no access to essential services.
The report (PDF) identifies a comprehensive strategy and implementation roadmap for developing nations seeking to build, or expand citizen identity programs, regardless of their country’s level of technology infrastructure. Providing legal identity for all the world’s population by 2030 is a shared objective of the international community under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals project, which was an item repeatedly discussed at last week’s ID4Africa Forum and conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
With border security and identity management emerging as major concerns, due to the unprecedented migrant crisis affecting Africa and the Middle East, and the pressing need to provide at least half of Africa’s population with identity documents to ensure access to social services, Accenture expects continued investment in AI technologies for travel applications. The firm expects greater investments in these areas, along with the application of biometric and artificial intelligence technologies that will assist border management agencies to reduce waiting times while increasing security.