Qualcomm Smart Cities effort accelerates, edge devices for biometrics showcased

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Qualcomm’s Smart Cities Accelerator Program has another partner to add to its growing effort, with PFU Limited, a Fujitsu company, announcing that the company has joined and will be focusing on contributing to the development of facial biometric technologies and smart cameras used in identity management solutions. Qualcomm, meanwhile, has offered up examples of the kind of smart edge devices that it hopes will propel growth beyond its core market for cellular network and smartphone technology.

PFU is a leading developer of facial recognition technology and provides edge solutions such as kiosks, embedded computers and more that generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue. Related to PFU’s work on the Smart Cities program through its U.S. subsidiary PFU America Inc., PFU said it is collaborating with Innominds on the development of facial biometric technologies and smart cameras used in identity management solutions that leverage Qualcomm Technologies’ IoT platforms. Innominds is a product engineering services company that has a track record of developing products in areas such as contactless tech that rely on AI/ML and computer vision tech from companies as use Qualcomm.

The companies said they hope the collaboration will drive the development of solutions in identity management through the combination of facial recognition technologies (licensed from Fujitsu), smart connected cameras, AI, and 2D/3D sensor technologies. They also aim to offer contactless identity management solutions in the hospitality, retail, healthcare, security and law enforcement sectors.

“Utilizing advanced IoT platforms and 5G connectivity technology from Qualcomm Technologies and working with Innominds on IoT technology and integration services is enabling us to develop a new generation of simple, secure products in the area of facial biometric technology,” said Yasunori Miyauchi, Corporate Senior Vice President of PFU Limited in a prepared statement.

Qualcomm started its Smart Cities Accelerator Program in 2019 to enable better cooperation between the large number of stakeholders needed to propel the development of Smart City projects, including local and state governments, project developers and real estate owners, and a variety of public and private construction and engineering entities.

The announcement follows the addition in June of JLC Infrastructure and Ignite to the program whose initial aim is to work on projects to enhance worker safety guidelines, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

Smarter edge devices enabling biometric applications

IoT, healthcare, automotive and other strategic initiatives are a small component of Qualcomm’s overall business – $152 million or roughly 1 percent of 2019 revenues but represent growth opportunities that draft off of 5G technology deployments in devices and cell towers.  That business represented $14.6 billion revenue in 2019, while technology licensing represented another $4.6 billion in revenue for the year.

Qualcomm aims to grow this slice of its business through products such as the Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform, which spans a full range of system-on-chips (SoCs) designed for running compute-intensive workloads at the edge of the network. The platform is aimed at IoT devices shipped across consumer and enterprise segments – in other words, price-sensitive applications.

For example, the company notes the Qualcomm QCS610 and Qualcomm QCS410 are used to enable facial recognition, body detection and people counting on cameras that would otherwise not have enough processing power or memory for such applications. The chips include AI software and vector and GPU processing cores. Qualcomm said Pilot AI is a customer that provides algorithms that can follow movement in stores, factories, and other physical environments. The software is unique in that it can take data from multiple cameras and translate movement onto 2D maps. This allows customers to map foot traffic and trace the path of people who have an elevated body temperature – an important feature that makes contact tracing easier.

An AI-enabled dash cam is another use case for its edge computing solutions. A Qualcomm-powered dash cam can analyze driver behavior to ensure they are paying attention, and send alerts if a driver is operating in an unsafe manner – useful for companies that manage fleets of trucks, or a company like Lyft that wants to ensure that riders are enjoying safe rides from drivers.

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