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NEC trials facial recognition-based cashless payment, wins award for ticket ID system


NEC Corporation announced it is implementing a series of trials for cashless payment services using its facial recognition technologies at small retail stores inside its head office building in Tokyo.

The trials will run until the end of August as a part of the company’s initiatives to apply its biometrics authentication technologies to several different services, including cashless payment, in an effort to improve the reliability and convenience of the identification process.

The payment service uses NeoFace facial recognition technologies, based on NEC’s facial recognition algorithm, which verifies employees’ identity by matching their pre-registered facial images against the photos captured by a camera that is installed near a point-of-sale (POS) terminal at the check-out counter inside a store.

The facial recognition payment technology enables retailers to provide consumers with payment services, without having to use cash or credit cards.

During this trial, NEC analyzes authentication performance and operational workload under a wide range of conditions inside the shops, including the types of cameras in use, installation position, lighting, balance between security and convenience and others.

“This trial will enable us to improve technological performance and to accumulate knowledge towards the commercialization of facial authentication-based payment services, thereby helping NEC to enhance FinTech services and ensure greater safety and security,” said Fumiaki Matsubara, senior vice president at NEC Corporation.

These cashless payment trials mark the second round of NEC’s trial campaign to promote its biometrics authentication technologies, following the April launch of a large-scale trial of its “Walkthrough Facial Recognition System” at its head office.

In other news, NEC Informatec Systems, Ltd., together with TAPIRS Co., Ltd., have been awarded with “The 2015 Gold Award for Field Innovation” from the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence (www.ai-gakkai.or.jp/en) for developing a ticket ID system that uses face recognition software.

The award honors those individuals or groups that promote social innovation and practical methods for solving social issues through research and development of artificial intelligence technology.

“In recent years, the purchase of event and concert tickets through online auctions or private individuals has become a widespread practice,” said Akitoshi Okumura, associate senior VP of NEC Informatec Systems. “At the same time, resale problems and unlawful resale are on the increase. This ticket ID system efficiently identifies the ticket purchaser at the venue using face recognition software, preventing admission with illegally resold tickets.”

The system is currently being used at concerts in Japan to help prevent fraudulent concert ticket resale and to ensure that attendees are admitted into the venue efficiently, reducing the ticketholder identity verification process by 30%.

Developed by NEC Informatec Systems using a tablet terminal equipped with NEC’s face recognition software NeoFace in combination with a camera, the system’s effectiveness was confirmed in collaboration with TAPIRS.

The ticket ID system compares the facial image of a purchaser that is registered on a website at the time when a ticket is purchased to the facial image of the concertgoer photographed using a tablet terminal at the event venue to confirm that the ticketholder is indeed the purchaser.

A database of ticket purchasers’ facial image information is registered on a tablet terminal in advance of an event, and can support large-scale events from 700 to 100,000 people.

NEC will present the system on July 22 at the 18th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI International 2016) in Toronto, Canada.

In May, NEC Australia was awarded the contract to deliver CrimTrac’s “next generation” biometrics crime-fighting tool.

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