Another facial recognition provider is calling attention to its strong performance in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2020 Biometric Technology Rally. The Rally was organized by DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to gauge the accuracy of different facial recognition systems on both masked and unmasked faces.
This time around, NEC is celebrating after taking the top spot in the masked category. The company’s algorithm achieved a True Identification Rate (TIR) of 98.7 percent, a figure that was 19 percent better than the median performance of its competitors.
Those results were achieved in an ideal acquisition setting, though NEC’s algorithm was still the most accurate when errors were deliberately introduced with a less robust acquisition system as part of the test. In that case, NEC’s 95.9 percent accuracy was a full four percentage points better than the next most accurate system.
NEC also did well in unmasked scenarios, with 99.8 and 99.3 percent True Identification Rates, depending on which acquisition system was used. Both results are well above the 99 percent threshold that DHS set as its quality benchmark.
“This is one of the best opportunities to see how facial recognition systems fare against each other in similar conditions,” said NEC America President of Federal Operations Benji Hutchison. “We’re pleased to see that our investments in research and development translates to a much better and more reliable customer experience in all sorts of environments.”
The results of the Rally give more weight to NEC’s claims with regards to its mask recognition capabilities. The company updated its algorithm in response to COVID-19, but stressed that its recent accomplishments are the result of more than a decade of work.
“Face masks have been commonly used to protect public health throughout Japan and parts of Asia ever since H1N1 in 2009, or even before that,” added NEC America CTO Kris Ranganath. “We’re pleased that this deep experience allows us to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic quickly to address the hygiene issues with effective contactless technology.”
NEC has consistently performed well in prior rounds of NIST testing. Cognitec and Innovatrics also posted strong scores in the 2020 Rally, with Cognitec in particular taking the top spot in the unmasked category.
March 10, 2021 – by Eric Weiss