Iris recognition, the only biometric technology designed to operate in 1-to-many search mode, found a project where the database is finally large enough to be called in. It’s in India, the world’s second most populous country, where the Government of Andhra Pradesh state announced on 16th JUNE, 2005 a program to control and manage the distribution of state-issued food ration cards. The program awarded to LG Electronics US-based Iris Technology Division will see 20 million persons enrolled in the first stage. When the program concludes, the user base will total 80 million persons. The 20 million enrolled in stage one will represent a database more than twenty times larger than the next largest iris recognition program ever done. It is anticipated that the program will be the largest biometric authentication program ever implemented.
The Andhra Pradesh Government reports iris authentication will ensure the proper correspondence between the number of cards issued and individuals or families eligible to receive them. Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh commented, “All eligible people in Andhra Pradesh state will be given iris based ration cards within a period of two months. To date we have issued about 10.06 lakhs (1,006,000) new ration cards.”
In discussing the selection of the technology, Ms. Smt. K. Sunitha, Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Technology Services said “We looked at several different technology options. While enrollment ease and recognition speed and accuracy all count, there are many other reasons that iris recognition and the robustness of the LG IrisAccess platform made it impossible in the end to choose anything else. That the technology works equally well on adults of all ages as well as children, who as household members are also being enrolled in the ration card scheme, it requires –barring trauma—only a single enrollment in a lifetime. This makes iris recognition ideal for our long term needs as the Government plans to follow this program up with a variety of new service offerings which will be based around the ability to use the new Ration Card as a valid government-issued identity credential.”
LG Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, Mohammed Murad, cited an early 2004 installation of LG IrisAccess in the Offices of the Chief Minister as he recounted “The Government of Andhra Pradesh has been a believer in this technology and the LG IrisAccess platform for some time now, something I ascribe to the fact decision makers have had a chance to see it work close-up, and reliably over time.” Murad cited India’s importance to LGE’s business overall and to the Iris Technology Division in particular as he noted additional developments done on iris recognition at LGE’s facility in Bangalore and the role LGE India personnel played in getting the program off to a good start. He continued, “Our team in India, Labcal Biometric Technologies, skillfully led the project and continues to keep LG & Labcal well-positioned for iris-based identity-dependent applications.”
Mr. Ashok Kumar, Managing Director of Labcal India, integrator of the iris component of the program, also commented on the effort that had gone into training and committing enrollers in place in more than 600 locations in cities and towns throughout the 275,068 km2 state. Kumar stated that since the start of the program in July, total enrollment exceeds 6 million persons. "
A senior AP Government official also added “LG’s IrisAccess is envisioned as the technology foundation for a variety of social services initiatives the government has planned and believes are important. There are, of course, financial benefits realized simply by ensuring that services and subsidies are delivered properly to those people entitled to receive them and who need them most. But there numerous consumer benefits including enhanced convenience that are part of the ration card management program and these represent just the beginning of things we can do to make things better for the people of this state who deserve help and improved services from their government.”
LG Iris Technology Division VP-Marketing David Johnston concluded “It is a huge win for LGE and for the people in AP. As exciting as it is, the magnitude of the win goes well beyond the scale of the biometric project. LGE has invested millions of dollars in making India a priority market. We are a large employer here with many plants making many products and that business has succeeded by investing much of the responsibility for managing its rapid growth with a very competent Indian team. In addition to the thousands of people LGE employs, 25,000 more jobs exist in other companies in our supply chain simply because LGE is here. LGE plants produce $100 million worth of export goods for India. LGE makes life good at home for our employees, their neighbors, and their fellow citizens -- with phones, TVs, air-conditioners and in this case the refrigerators that keep and the stoves that cook the food we’ll now help ensure the right people get. It is win-win all around.”