Star Alliance, globally renowned airline alliance, and NEC Corporation, international supplier of IT, network and biometric technologies, has signed a partnership agreement to develop a biometric data-based identification platform that will significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer program customers of Star Alliance member airlines. Biometric data-based identification The interoperable platform advances the Star Alliance and NEC strategic vision of delivering a seamless customer journey, while strengthening loyalty value proposition within the travel ecosystem. Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will have a seamless and handsfree passenger experience Once implemented, Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will have a seamless and handsfree passenger experience, allowing them to pass through curb-to-gate touchpoints within airports, such as check-in kiosks, bag-drop, lounges, and boarding gates, which traditionally require both a passport and boarding pass, by using a secure identity management solution featuring facial recognition technology. Identity management Moreover, the platform will help airports and the Star Alliance member airlines to increase operational efficiency. The service will be available to customers who are enrolled in one of the Star Alliance frequent flyer programs and who have authorised the use of their biometric data. With a few easy steps on their mobile device, customers will have the option to enroll in the new platform using high-tech security technology. They only need to enroll once and can then use their biometrics data multiple times at biometrics touchpoints of any participating airport whenever they travel with a Star Alliance member airline. Data security Personal data, such as photo and other identification details, are encrypted and safely stored within the platform. From the outset, the system has been designed in compliance with applicable data protection laws making use of the latest facial recognition technology. Personal data will only be processed with the consent of the passenger. Passengers may be required to show their passport during security and immigration procedures. Jeffrey Goh, CEO Star Alliance said, "In NEC, we have found a strong partner who shares our vision of a seamless travel experience for air travelers. At Star Alliance we are committed to making the customer journey better, and this strategic partnership with NEC will help us make the way from curb to gate to aircraft a much simpler, yet innovative experience for our customers." Facial recognition NEC is pleased to join forces with Star Alliance to bring an improved cross terminal customer experience" Takashi Niino, President and CEO of NEC Corporation, added, "NEC is pleased to join forces with Star Alliance to bring an improved cross terminal customer experience. Facial recognition is truly revolutionising the airline industry and making flying more enjoyable, just as it was always intended. In support of this partnership, similar to our implementations in United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, NEC will mobilise its global resources and provide local assistance to each of the member airlines to leverage this secure, interoperable platform and rapidly bring our common vision to reality." Star Alliance and NEC aim to introduce the first biometric solution at a Star Alliance airport hub by the first quarter of 2020.
As a provider of facial recognition and other biometric, as well as information and communications technologies, NEC Corporation welcomes greater industry collaboration and effective discussion for the future of facial recognition technology and business. As a point of background, NEC produces face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, finger vein, voice and ear acoustic recognition technologies, and has over 700 biometric recognition installations in over 70 countries around the world. In recent weeks, the company has seen renewed calls for government regulation and discussions about how they as an industry can build a foundation of responsibility to protect people against discrimination, invasions of privacy and violations of human rights. NEC Corporation welcomes this debate as they believe it will lead to solutions that can make our world a better place. Furthermore, they are eager to move the discussions forward. Identifying travellers using facial recognition The Department of Homeland Security is using facial recognition technology at more than a dozen airports to positively identify travellers As more companies come forward to add their voices to this dialogue, Takashi Niino, President and CEO, NEC Corporation, believes the company will start to see new and different roles that these technologies can play in protecting and improving our global communities. In the United States, for example, the Department of Homeland Security is today using facial recognition technology at more than a dozen airports to positively identify travellers entering and exiting the United States. Three days after the technology was introduced at Dulles International Airport, an imposter was stopped using a fake document. As recently as late November, the lead architect of this system from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that it had identified at least 36 imposters so far. Additionally, the first curb-to-gate biometric experience in the U.S. just launched at a major international airport terminal to a positive customer response, potentially changing the future of travel. Protecting society and securing borders NEC, therefore, supports various governments' considerations for reasonable policy, setting privacy standards for personal information and preventing unlawful discrimination related to this technology. Businesses, consumers, and the government should work together to help balance the need for privacy with the benefits of protecting our society, securing our borders and providing consumer convenience without the fear of negative consequences. NEC has a decade-long leadership position and pedigree where NIST evaluations of our facial recognition technologies are concernedAccuracy is vitally important to the effectiveness of biometric technologies. NEC is committed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their evaluations. NEC has a nearly decade-long leadership position and pedigree where NIST evaluations of our facial recognition technologies are concerned, and you can read more about it on our global website. Digital Trust Business Strategy Division In addition, NEC has established a ‘Digital Trust Business Strategy Division’ to create and promote a strategy based on ‘Human Rights by Design’, considering the impact of the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the utilisation of biometric information on human rights and privacy. NEC seeks an adoption path for these technologies that is in line with the worldwide principals of freedom, justice, rights to privacy, transparency and continuous improvement. NEC strongly believes that facial recognition can add significant value to our lives.
NEC Corporation has announced the acquisition of UK-based IT services company Northgate Public Services Limited (NPS), accelerating the expansion of its international safety business. NEC is buying NPS for £475 million from international private equity firm Cinven. This acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of January 2018. Software and services for public sector Established in 1969, Northgate Public Services develops software and services for the public sector, mainly in the UK, and employs approximately 1,400 software engineers throughout the UK and India. NPS works closely with the British police and government organisations to deploy its business platform across a broad client base that includes local police forces, tax collection offices, social security offices and housing authorities. NEC's international safety business capitalises on biometrics technologies, including face recognition and fingerprint recognition technologies that have been evaluated as the world's most accurate, and provides identification systems to more than 30% of state police forces in the United States. Safer and more secure communitiesNEC's proven track record of providing more than 700 systems in over 70 countries around the world has contributed to the realisation of safer and more secure communities NEC's proven track record of providing more than 700 systems in over 70 countries around the world, mainly in areas such as identification and immigration control, has contributed to the realisation of safer and more secure communities. In the future, NEC aims to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to quickly detect fraudulent requests or applications across its public institutions client base and will seek to provide innovative solutions that create social value. In the UK in particular, NEC sees significant opportunity related to the government's promotion of a digital strategy focused on administrative service improvement and cost reduction through visualisation of administrative costs and bringing services online. "We are proud to have Northgate Public Services, one of the UK's leading technology companies, joining the NEC Group," said Takashi Niino, President and CEO, NEC Corporation. "With this acquisition, NEC aims to support and strengthen NPS' technologies for police operations, establish new safety solutions based on a common business platform, and to further develop international markets largely focused on countries within the Commonwealth." Step-change to better serve clients "This is a very exciting time to be part of Northgate Public Services. Our colleagues and leadership team have worked incredibly hard over the past two years to get the company into great shape operationally and financially, with the result that NPS is a highly attractive asset to NEC. This transaction represents a step-change in our ability to serve our clients," said Stephen Callaghan, CEO, Northgate Public Services. "Combined with NEC's business, we will now be able to offer a wider suite of services and software to our existing client base, whilst also expanding in new geographies and technology sectors. I'd like to stress that we see this as simply the beginning of our next phase of development. The increased financial strength, technical capability and market access support NEC provides will allow us to accelerate our growth plans considerably and I am enthusiastic about our future prospects."NEC focuses on the provision of social solutions and is strengthening the safety business as a key pillar in its growth strategy Collaborations in all fields Following the acquisition, NEC and NPS will collaborate to develop and provide safety solutions that combine solutions and technologies from both companies. Specifically, the companies will take advantage of NEC's biometrics technology to enhance identity authentication during police operations and administrative procedures, in addition to utilising NEC's line-up of cutting-edge AI technologies, ‘NEC the WISE,’ to detect social security fraud and ensure benefits are properly distributed. The companies will capitalise on real-time detection of suspicious individuals and abnormalities using NEC face recognition, intrusion detection, suspicious item detection and other image analysis techniques. NEC will also promote NPS' solutions for police operations and public housing management solutions to markets outside the UK. NEC focuses on the provision of social solutions and is strengthening the safety business as a key pillar in its growth strategy. Going forward, NEC will continue to develop core technologies and solutions while acquiring new clients, delivery resources, core technologies and business models through M&A and other business collaboration models. These measures are expected to contribute to the expansion of the social solutions business and improve profitability centered on the safety business.