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SenseTime opens Macau office, plans diverse projects

SenseTime opens Macau office, plans diverse projects

SenseTime has opened an office and launched a series of facial recognition and computer vision projects in Macau, as the company expands its presence in the special administrative region.

Computer vision and AI tools from SenseTime will be deployed to support smart city projects, digital health services, research collaboration and AI education. The company has signed four memoranda of understanding (MoUs), with Macau-based conglomerate Nam Kwong (Group) Company Limited, Kiang Wu hospital, the University of Macau and Pei Ching Middle School.

A SenseTime official suggested the new Macau office marks a milestone in the company’s growth journey.

The smart city collaboration will include the use of SenseTime’s facial recognition and other AI technologies in smart hotel, power grid, transportation and building management, as well as online services, according to the announcement. The smart health project will focus on computer vision analysis for diagnosing patients.

Face biometrics are widely used by Macau’s police, and also in the casinos that give it the nickname “Las Vegas of Asia.”

Holding cards close with stakes high

An announcement was expected last year on a planned ‘AI casino’ in Singapore using SenseTime’s facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technologies. The announcement has been delayed, however, and now “just gone silent,” a person involved with the project told the Financial Times.

The plan was for SenseTime to transform Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore with facial recognition to catch blacklisted patrons and personalize services, security monitoring, gesture recognition, and robot croupiers. These efforts, sources told the Times, have met with limited success.

A former SenseTime employee said that preventing fraud was a key motivation behind the plan, but the biometric capability was often thwarted by low-quality images, particularly from areas with poor lighting like parking lots, and Genting formed a new partnership with Canon to upgrade its security cameras. The system was reportedly also often unable to distinguish between staff.

SenseTime declined to comment on its project with Genting.

SenseTime is currently inching towards a possible $2 billion IPO in Hong Kong, which Reuters reports also has significant implications for other parties.

A successful IPO would signal interest in controversial Chinese technology companies, including the country’s other facial recognition unicorns, and as Reuters writes, could boost the investment banking reputation of HSBC, the only Western lead financial adviser on the market entry.

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