NEC iris recognition technology ranks first in NIST accuracy testing

– Joins NEC’s face recognition as a top-ranked technology and strengthens touchless and secure multimodal biometric authentication –

Tokyo, September 22, 2021 – NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced that its iris recognition technology ranked first in the world in the most recent iris recognition technology benchmark test, IREX 10 (*1), conducted by the globally authoritative U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In this benchmark test, the technology was evaluated with an accuracy rate of 99.59% for “1:N Identification” for images including both eyes among half a million people (*2).

NEC also ranked first in the NIST iris recognition benchmark test in 2018 (*3), as well as the face recognition benchmark test results published in August 2021 (*4).

In recent years, NEC has capitalized on its leading artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen the performance of its iris recognition technology against images with deteriorated quality that often occur in practical situations. This has resulted in a significant improvement in the error rate when compared to previous technologies (*5).

NEC plans to use this technology for “walkthrough” iris recognition (*6) and in combination with face recognition in order to provide highly accurate multimodal biometric authentication. Multimodal biometrics provide high precision results even when face masks and caps are worn, and support the maintenance of hygienic environments with contactless identification.

As these technologies support safe and secure living, NEC anticipates they will be used throughout a variety of applications, including payment at stores, access to facilities, such as data centres that require high-security management, as well as food and pharmaceutical plants, clean rooms, and medical sites that demand strict hygiene control.

To promote the use of multimodal biometric authentication, NEC is demonstrating them through entry and exit management for employees at NEC headquarters, as well as a payment system at a store in Tokyo.

These easy-to-use systems that enable users to complete operations by themselves are expected to further contribute to secure access control and contactless services across a wide range of industries.

Moreover, based on the NEC Group AI and Human Rights Principles (*7), NEC will continue to give top priority to privacy considerations and respect for human rights when handling data gathered from sources such as AI and biometric systems.

Going forward, NEC will capitalize on its portfolio of biometric identification solutions, ‘Bio-IDiom’ (*8), which includes face recognition technologies, and ‘NEC the WISE’ (*9), the company’s cutting-edge AI technologies, such as video analytics, in order to expand their use for FinTech, digital IDs and more.


(*1) Iris Exchange 10: Ongoing Evaluation of Iris Recognition

Results presented in IREX do not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of any particular system, product, or service by the U.S. Government.

(*2) As of August 24, 2021.  The identification rate at 1% of False Positive Identification Rate (FPIR) for the database of 500 thousand people.

(*3) NEC Iris Recognition Technology Ranks First in NIST Accuracy Testing

(*4) NEC Face Recognition Technology Ranks First in NIST Accuracy Testing

(*5) Comparison with the certification error rate of “IREX IX,” the previous iris recognition benchmark test. When authenticating using an iris image database consisting of 0.16 million people, the authentication accuracy rate was 99.33%.

(*6) NEC develops iris recognition technology that works even with walking subjects

(*7) NEC Unveils “NEC Group AI and Human Rights Principles”

(*8) Bio-IDiom

(*9) NEC the WISE


About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at


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