NEC sees increasing demand for its face recognition technology

NEC Corp. is focusing its efforts on further developing and distributing its facial recognition technology to meet increasing demand for such safety measures to be implemented during sports events and high-profile public events, according to a report by The Ahsai Shimbun.

“Our system allows individuals on a watch list to be identified on the spot in images of a camera that is monitoring a crowd,” an NEC official said at Interpol World 2017 in Singapore in early July.

The official was demonstrating NEC’s NeoFace system, whereby a camera is installed in an area where there are a considerable number of people moving in and out and NEC’s facial recognition software is used to identify the faces of passerbyers.

The facial images are automatically matched up against suspicious individuals contained on a database, with the matching results displayed in succession on a monitor.

NEC has improved the facial recognition technology’s accuracy by using a system that allows detailed analysis of facial characteristics, such as the eyes and the corners of the mouth.

NEC officials said the company’s technology has already been expanded to 40 countries, with about one-third of state police departments in the United States using it.

The technology has also been used to help cut crime rates by 30 percent in the Indian city of Surat. Meanwhile, the Argentinian city of Tigre introduced the technology in combination with a license plate recognition system to decrease vehicle thefts by 80 percent.

Officials also confirmed that the technology was used to identify soccer hooligans during the final match of the UEFA Champions League held in Britain in June. And last month, the company provided an advanced surveillance system using facial recognition to several major cities in Georgia.

According to the The Asahi Shimbun report, the company is hoping to more than triple its proceeds from similar operations overseas from the 42 billion yen (US$380 million) in fiscal 2015 to 142 billion yen (US$1.3 billion) in fiscal 2018.

“We hope to contribute to criminal investigations in various countries,” said Kan Aoki, manager of NEC’s global corporate sales division who was previously head of public safety business development.

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