How Facial Recognition has Changed the World in Which We Live

There is no doubt that facial recognition is changing the world in which we live.  NEC is a global leader in the field of biometric authentication and we have been researching and developing facial recognition technology since 1989. 

Facial recognition is one of a number of biometric technologies offered by NEC as part of our Bio-Idiom brand and is fundamental to NEC’s Digital Identity where your face is your unique biometric key.  NeoFace® is used across a wide range of sectors to not only help keep the public safe but to provide an enhanced customer experience as well. 

Advances in Technology 

NEC has led technological advances in the field of facial recognition over the past four decades. Whilst we have been researching facial recognition since the late 1980s, it is only in the past decade that practical applications for facial recognition have become widely available and accessible. 

Advances in technology over the past decade have been exponential. Historic events have accounted for some of the rapid developments. September 11, 2001 is a date that will live long in the memory and it’s perhaps one of the dates that was key to the advancements in facial recognition that we have seen since that day. 

Whilst there is no way of knowing whether facial recognition could have prevented 9/11, there is no doubt that the investment in R&D in facial recognition and biometrics security solutions peaked in the months following 9/11. 

Today, technology that may have potentially led to the identification of the terrorists boarding planes that would fly into the Twin Towers, is no longer a pipe dream, but a reality. 

Early Adoption 

NEC is a pioneer in the field of facial recognition. Over the past decade, many of the world’s leading technology giants have also started to embrace the possibilities that facial recognition brings to their business. 

If September 11 is a date that sticks in the mind, September 12, 2017 is another that has significant implications for the development of facial recognition and how it is changing the world in which we live. That was the date that Apple launched the iPhone X – the first iPhone users could unlock with Face ID, Apple’s marketing term for facial recognition. For the first time, something that is used daily by millions of people adopted facial recognition technology to provide a secure way of accessing a mobile phone. 

Microsoft is another early adopter of facial recognition technology, allowing Windows 10 users to authenticate using facial recognition. Google and Facebook have also been using facial recognition – not as a secure way of accessing your device or account – but as a way of identifying people in photos. Amazon is also working hard on facial recognition – one of their subsidiary companies, Ring, produce smart home products including doorbells with built in facial recognition. 

Practical Applications of Facial Recognition Technology 

Security solutions still dominate the primary applications of facial recognition technology. Proving people are who they say they are crosses a diverse range of industries and facial recognition is recognised as one of the most accurate and convenient methods. The fact that facial recognition is frictionless and can be performed from distance brings distinct advantages over other possible biometric security solutions. 

Some of the industries that are using NEC’s facial recognition include: 

Police and Public Safety – using facial recognition, police and security agencies can process videos and images from multiple sources, including body-worn, mobile and in-vehicle cameras to quickly and effectively identify persons of interest in real-time and speed up investigations.  

Aviation & Transport – facial recognition provides fast, accurate identity verification through every phase of the passenger journey at check-in, baggage drop, security screening, retail purchases and boarding lines. After arrival, facial recognition software makes the immigration process and baggage pickup frictionless and less stressful.  

Stadium Events – facial recognition is used to monitor ticketing and security checks to ensure optimal service levels as well as detecting persons of concern, with automated alerts to security staff on the ground. 

Retail – facial recognition is used in the retail sector to speed up fraud and theft investigations and process video from multiple sources to identify persons of interest. In addition, it is used to identify customers in a loyalty programme and deliver personalised levels of service, as well as speed up the in-store payment process resulting in an improved customer experience. 

Gaming – within the gaming sector, facial recognition is used to detect problem gamblers in real-time to alert security and help minimise further harm related to problem gambling.  It is also used to identify VIPs and ‘high rollers’, in order to deliver a high level of customer service and ensure the continued enjoyment of all customers. 

Hospitality – within the hospitality industry, we are already seeing the adoption of facial recognition to prioritise high value customers and loyalty members, facilitate queue management through automating check-in/check-out processes and understanding customer preferences. 

NEC Leads the Way 

The world in which we live is changing but imagine a world where we no longer needed cash, credit cards or a passport when we travelled? NEC’s Digital Identity is paving the way for this vision to become a reality. With safety, security and convenience at the heart of our research, the world is going to be a place where all you need to explore is your face – want to see how? Watch the video and see how NEC is working to deliver facial recognition technology that will truly change the world in which we live:

The Future of Facial Recognition 

We are only scratching at the surface of the potential uses of facial recognition both from a safety and security perspective, but also across our day to day lives. NEC continues to work tirelessly on research and development to improve both the accuracy and security of our facial recognition technologies. 

NEC New Zealand’s Head of Public Safety Solutions, Lynne Jeffery is excited about the future of facial recognition, “It’s exciting to see how many different ways our world-leading facial recognition technology is being used to improve convenience but without compromising our safety and security.” 

Currently, NEC’s face recognition is independently recognised as the fastest and most accurate face recognition software in the market. NEC’s NeoFace® Watch was ranked top in Face In Video Evaluation (FIVE) of Non-Cooperative Subjects 2017, Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 2013, Multiple-Biometric Evaluation (MBE) 2010 and Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge (MBGC) 2009, independent tests conducted by the internationally renowned US National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and peer reviewed by the scientific community.  

The tests position NEC’s face recognition software as the most accurate face recognition software even with low-quality images. Independent tests also demonstrate NEC provides the fastest matching capability most resistant to variants in angle, age and race. 

This doesn’t mean we are resting on our laurels – R&D continues to improve both the speed and accuracy of our facial recognition software whilst keeping security at the forefront of our developments. 

The world is which we live is definitely changing and facial recognition will become an integral part of our day to day actions if it isn’t already.  


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