NEC appears to have taken a significant stake in California-based iris biometrics specialist Tascent, announcing a new investment in the firm.
In a statement announcing the investment, NEC did not disclose its size or value, but a subsequent press release from Tascent confirmed NEC’s participation in a $19.5 million series B funding round which the firm led alongside Tano Capital, and that also saw participation from Min Aik Technology. Executive Vice President Masakazu Yamashina framed the move within NEC’s larger “Mid-term Management Plan 2020,” and said, “[m]oving forward, NEC aims to expand its social solution business and further boost profitability by acquiring new customers, delivery resources, core technologies and business models through collaborations and M&A, while developing its own core technologies and solutions.”
NEC’s announcement emphasized Tascent’s technology allowing for the fast and accurate capture of high-quality iris biometrics, and user interface technology designed to walk users through the scanning process. The company also noted that “Tascent’s technologies are embedded in security systems widely used at airports, government agencies and enterprises around the world.”
While NEC’s key specialty could be said to be facial recognition, it has also developed its own high-performing iris recognition technology, which attained the best accuracy ranking in NIST IREX IX evaluations earlier this year. The company’s investment in Tascent is thus a testament to the quality of the latter’s iris biometrics technology.
August 27, 2018 – by Alex Perala