NEC's new mobile facial recognition software takes us closer to the intrusiveness seen in 'Minority Report'

Remember the Tom Cruise movie, 'Minority Report', where ubiquitous digicams identified each person by scanning his retina and bombarding him with ads and promotional gimmicks?

Well, Japanese information technology giant NEC Corporation has gone one better. NEC has launched in Hong Kong its proprietary facial recognition device that recognizes the face of each and every customer as soon as he enters a store or business firm.

NEC calls its new technology the "Mobile Facial Recognition Appliance." Its aim is to give a business firm the capability to offer an ultra-personalized customer experience by instantly recognizing the faces of its customers. It is being tested for the first time in Hong Kong.

(Credit: Wikipedia / Chensiyuan)A view from Victoria Peak, looking north over Central, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon (2011).

The appliance is small. It measures 14 cm (width) x 14 cm (depth) x 8 cm (height) and can be integrated into a closed circuit television network. The device is easy to install, the company said in a statement.

The system uses compressed and encrypted wireless links to sift through a master facial information database server housed in a secure location. The appliance can use either Wi-Fi or 3G mobile networks to compress and transmit facial images to the server.

NEC said it combined its "NeoFace" facial recognition with an innovative electronics platform to create the industry's "most, flexible, high-performance face-analysis solution."

Elsa Wong, managing director of NEC Hong Kong, said everyone loves to feel special. "That's why any organization that can greet a customer by name and start helping them the minute they walk in to a shop, bank or hotel will have a tremendous advantage over one that relies on ID cards or other impersonal procedures."

She noted that with this kind of technology at its fingertips, a company can offer the full VIP treatment to everyone. "It can take customer relationships to an entirely new level of excellence and dramatically enhance an organization's competitive edge," she said.

Last month, Facebook introduced "DeepFace," a new facial recognition software the company claims is 97.25 percent accurate in identifying a person in different photographs.

Facebook said it plans to use this new facial recognition technology with a new program that will identify the subject of an untagged image on Facebook with near perfect accuracy. 

Copyright © 2014 Ecumenical News