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Biometrics - News

NEC's face recognition technology ranks first in Face Recognition Vendor Test 2014 performed by NIST

Published on 22 July, 2014
NEC face recognition algorithms were faster than all participating vendors
NEC's technology took first place for the third consecutive time following MBGC 2009 and MBE 2010-2011

NEC Corporation (NEC) along with NEC Corporation of America, a leading provider and integrator of advanced IT, communications, managed services and biometric solutions, recently announced that NEC's face recognition technology achieved the highest performance evaluation in the recent Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 2014 performed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Results were released in NIST's Interagency Report - NISTIR 8009 - Performance of Face Recognition Algorithms. The NIST report is widely viewed as the benchmark of determining which face recognition software solution is the most accurate for one-to-many searching under a variety of situations.

NEC's technology took first place for the third consecutive time following the 2009 Multiple Biometric Grand Challenge (MBGC 2009) and 2010-2011 Multiple Biometrics Evaluation (MBE 2010-2011). The most recent FRVT test for one-to-many searching (class C) evaluated the accuracy of database enrollments and personal identity searches using massive volumes of face image data (over 1.6 million people), including multiple "high quality" criminal mugshots, "low quality" webcam snap shots, and "standard quality" passport/visa photo images.

Twelve commercial vendors and four academic institutions participated within the FRVT evaluation, which consisted of several test scenarios designed to determine accuracy based on measured error rates. Not only did NEC's search accuracy exceed competitors by a wide margin, it also improved significantly from the past MBE 2010 testing. In the test of rank one miss rates for recognition in a population size of 1.6 million, NEC achieved 4.1% followed with 9.1% for the second best vendor. Putting this in perspective between NEC and the second best vendor can mean missing 80,000 candidates already on rank 1.

Also, NEC's face recognition algorithms were faster than all participating vendors, requiring approximately 0.2 seconds per image to create and search an image against 1.6 million records. NEC's matching rate is more than 6.2 million matches per second per core. Overall, the NEC algorithms are typically twice as or up to more than 15 times faster than competitors' algorithms.

Moreover, according to NEC's own evaluation tests, it has significantly improved its "one-to-one" matching capabilities, where two face images are evaluated to determine if they are the same person, achieving an exceptional level of accuracy and reducing the authentication error rate by 2/3 when compared to its existing technologies.

"The NIST benchmark test provides objective and accurate evaluations through 'blind testing' of authentication technologies belonging to a wide range of companies. These tests are supported by leading organisations that include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, helping to attract attention from around the world as a highly reliable assessment," said Shigeki Yamagata, general manager, Information and Media Processing Laboratories, NEC Corporation.

"The strength of NEC's face recognition technology lies in its tolerance of poor quality, highly compressed surveillance videos and images"

"These results are extraordinary when considering the prior NIST MBGC 2009 and MBE 2010 testing in which NEC also registered the top ranking and superior performance. These improvements demonstrate that NEC is not only outperforming our competitors, but also advancing our own solution," said Raffie Beroukhim, vice president of NECAM's Biometrics Solutions Division. "NEC's face recognition matching algorithm improved the most in one-to-many search accuracy as compared to the other industry participants."

The NEC automated face recognition (AFR) solution is gaining wider acceptance in several new industries beyond its traditional use in law enforcement. Retail, hospitality and other businesses are realising potential financial benefits and improved customer satisfaction by enhancing the customer experience with AFR.

Since the 1970s NEC has invested significant resources in the research and development of its biometric identification technologies, and has consistently achieved world-leading results in independent, third-party testing. These latest test results re-confirm NEC's superior matching capabilities within the world of face recognition.

"The strength of NEC's face recognition technology lies in its tolerance of poor quality, highly compressed surveillance videos and images," said Beroukhim. "While facial recognition technology was once considered of marginal value, use of NEC's face recognition technology is now leading to a higher rate of positive identifications in real life investigations where the accuracy of NEC distances itself from other face recognition technology providers and help keep our communities safe."

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