In the wake of COVID-19, a number of biometrics vendors specializing in facial recognition technology have found themselves in a position to offer solutions that can help various organizations to adapt to the radical changes that the pandemic has wrought. NEC is one of the leaders among such vendors, with proven biometric technology and the capability of quickly retooling it for the needs of the moment.
Naturally, this was a major topic in a recent interview with Jason Van Sice, NEC Corporation of America’s Vice President of Aviation. Having previously delved into the subject in a conversation with the ID Talk Podcast, Van Sice offered some further insights in an interview with FindBiometrics, touching on the NEC I:Delight for contactless digital identity management; the biometric thermal screening technology now being deployed at Hawaiian airports for visitor screening; and NEC’s important partnership with the Star Alliance. Van Sice also offered his thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the biometrics industry in 2021, and hinted at NEC’s plans for the next 12 months…
Read the full FindBiometrics interview with Jason Van Sice, Vice President of Aviation for NEC Corporation of America:
FindBiometrics: COVID-19 presented many new obstacles for our society, and biometrics proved to be a technology with many helpful applications in this unprecedented time. How did NEC respond to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020?
Jason Van Sice, Vice President of Aviation for NEC Corporation of America: The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to adapt thanks in large part to the resourcefulness of our people and the solid design and flexibility of our technology. As a result, we continue to remain responsive to our customers’ and partners’ needs in this ever-changing time.
The pandemic refocused our perspective on the importance of “touchless” and “hygiene” as major benefits of our solutions. What we discovered immediately was that NEC I:Delight, our highly secure and scalable digital identity management platform, is ideally equipped to bring touchless experiences to countless situations for “opt-in” customer engagement.
Our digital platform provides a unified experience for a variety of services and situations by using a unique Digital ID based on biometric authentication and AI technology. Today, we continue to help our customers look for ways to bring this innovative platform along with other technologies to the workplace and other customer-facing environments.
FindBiometrics: What were NEC’s biggest biometrics and identity related achievements in 2020?
Jason Van Sice: Two of NEC’s largest achievements in 2020 strive to redefine the customer experience and use thermal technology to detect elevated body temperatures to ensure a safe and hygenic environments for airports, airlines, hotels, casinos, and other large venues:
NEC I:Delight Platform: NEC I:Delight, our highly secure and scalable digital identity management platform, effortlessly brings touchless experiences to countless situations. The opt-in platform provides a unified experience for a variety of services and situations by using a unique Digital ID based on biometric authentication and AI technology. The platform streamlines both physical and digital identities into an ecosystem to create a seamless, secure, and straightforward customer experience.
Elevated Body Temperature Detection: The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) selected NEC to provide thermal temperature screening and facial recognition technology at Hawaii’s public airports to help identify passengers with a potentially elevated body temperature (EBT). This was an exciting opportunity for us to help the State of Hawaii reopen to tourism. Today, NEC has helped deploy aviation solutions at more than 25 airports around the globe. In the aviation sector, NEC solutions have been proven in more than 700 systems across 70 countries.
FindBiometrics: NEC’s collaboration with Star Alliance stands out as a particularly notable story we saw develop throughout 2020. How does NEC’s technology fit into the Star Alliance platform, and how do you see biometrics playing a role in the future of travel?
Jason Van Sice: Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, debuted its biometric identification platform, Star Alliance Biometrics powered by NEC I:Delight. With our digital identify management platform, Star Alliance can now deliver a seamless and touchless customer journey while strengthening customer loyalty within their travel ecosystem. Lufthansa Group and SWISS International Air Lines were the first member airlines to use the system beginning in November 2020 at Frankfurt and Munich airports.
Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance stated: “This is a customer-centric solution that furthers our credentials in innovation, particularly its multi-airline and multi-airport capability. Whilst it offers a seamless customer travel experience, it is also a critical development that addresses the expectation of customers for a more touchless and hygienically safer experience.”
Our vision for the future is mobile-centric, AI-driven airports using intelligent AI robotic assistants to create an open space for airports to enhance passenger experience and handle increasing traffic. Passenger interaction will move to mobile devices using intelligent interactive displays, identity/action recognition remove friction and AI-driven data analytics will help airports increase operation efficiency.
FindBiometrics: From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge facing the biometrics industry as we enter 2021 and what opportunities does it present?
Jason Van Sice: As we begin a new year, now more than ever we need to look for to facilitate a new touchless and hygienic customer experience. Hygienic conditions along with safety and convenience are top priorities for consumers as we emerge from the pandemic. Renewing the customer experience with touchless technologies will be key to restoring confidence.
FindBiometrics: What can we expect from NEC in the coming 12 months?
Jason Van Sice: In the months ahead, continue to look for the expansion of services to the I:Delight platform. Not only do we strive to provide a streamlined customer experience, but we also envision offering secure payment transactions in countless environments, including travel, retail, hospitality, sporting events, financial services, offices, healthcare, and education.
The investment in digital transformation technologies can provide even richer capabilities, such as AI, computer vision, crowd, and access management. Our platform is raising expectations for the new normal and full recovery.
This interview is part of the 18th Annual FindBiometrics Year in Review. Find a list of all our Year in Review content, including industry analysis, podcast episodes, and more expert interviews in our ongoing roundup.