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NEC biometrics experts discuss accuracy headway following science and technology commendation

NEC biometrics experts discuss accuracy headway following science and technology commendation

NEC strives to continue reducing biometrics error rates towards zero as it outlines the efforts and challenges that have led to its progress and awards.

The firm received a commendation from Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology last April, in recognition of its highly-precise facial recognition technology’s contribution to safety and security.

As described by a dedicated page on the company’s website, the April commendation mentioned five individuals: NEC Fellow Hitoshi Imaoka, and four experts from the company’s Biometrics Research Laboratories: Akihiro Hayasaka, Yusuke Morishita, Koichi Takahashi and Hiroshi Hashimoto.

Months after receiving the award, NEC has now published two blog posts examining what the commendation means to the company, and how NEC’s face biometric tech reached the levels of accuracy it has today.

“I first became involved in face recognition research at NEC’s Biometrics Research Laboratories in 2002,” Imaoka said in one of the posts.

“Accuracy was approximately 70 percent at the time, and at one point the Biometrics Research Laboratories comprised just two members.”

According to the biometrics expert, NEC has made continuous efforts to improve both the accuracy and speed of its face recognition technology in recent years.

“Fast forward to today — we now have an error rate of less than 1 percent …This award is the culmination of those times and the hardships we have experienced along the way,” Imaoka wrote.

Morishita, now Principal Researcher at NEC’s Biometrics Research Laboratories, echoed Imaoka’s point, saying that errors must be eradicated entirely from facial recognition technologies.

“If you test 10 million images with an error rate of 1 percent, you will make errors on 100,000 of the images. This is simply not acceptable in the business world,” he said.

Koichi Takahashi, now Manager of NEC’s Biometrics Research Laboratories, also contributed to the company’s duo of blog posts, reminiscing on the hardships of improving NEC’s face biometrics algorithms to perform mask detection in the middle of the pandemic.

“It was thanks to teamwork and the strenuous efforts put forth by our members that we were able to accomplish this with such speed,” Takahashi wrote.

“Our goal is to create a safe, secure, and convenient environment in countries around the globe, and to contribute to people’s everyday lives.”

The posts come months after NEC announced a milestone of roughly 50 million Vietnamese having their biometrics captured using the company’s technology as part of the modernization efforts of the country’s digital ID system.

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