NEC Technologies India — a subsidiary of Japanese tech giant NEC Corporation — has been awarded a contract from the Airports Authority of India to supply biometric technology at four airports around the country for the Digi Yatra project.
The biometric tech will be launched by NEC in phases before the end of 2020 at Lal Bahadur Shastri airport in Varanasi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport in Kolkata, Pune airport and Vijayawada airport. NEC already launched its facial recognition gates for Digi Yatra at Lohegaon airport in Pune in October.
Digi Yatra, which means ‘digital journey’, is an optional, end-to-end passenger process based on facial recognition, in which an individual’s facial biometric data is used for everything from authentication and ticket validation, to bag drop, security check and boarding. It was initially conceived to help relieve the pressure of increasing passenger flows at India’s airports, which were struggling to keep up with passenger demand.
The terms of the contract will see NEC provide the facial recognition system, including kiosks and biometric e-gates that will scan and authenticate travellers, as well as provide support and maintenance for the systems for the next seven years.
NEC says the biometric registration and authentication system will improve passenger experience through shorter wait times, especially by removing bottlenecks at checkpoints where traditionally a passenger would be required to present more than one document to an authority.
“Digital ID is our focus area…and we will look at developing more use cases around it in India,” President and CEO of NEC Corporation Takashi Niino said in a recent interview with ET Telecom.
NEC has also recently announced its intentions to greatly increase its presence in India, with the aim of more than doubling revenue in the country and hiring up to 14,000 employees.
“Right now, we are at $400 million and look forward to increasing to $1 billion in five years… India is one of the focus areas and a key strategic market,” Niino said.
“We are going on the right path but need to speed up. We are expanding manpower to enable the growth journey.”
This news comes at a time where India is facing criticism over its Aadhaar program, the world’s largest biometric identification program.
December 16, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis