December 20 (UPI) — A facial recognition-based economy is taking root in Japan, from shopping to banking to boarding, according tomedia reports. Japanese companies such as NEC are deploying secure, encrypted facial recognition technology at airports, stores and theme parks to compete with Chinese companies in the hope of giving consumers a life of cashless payments.
Pictured: A passenger is boarding a plane through NEC’s facial recognition technology.
When visitors land at Nanji Baibin Airport in western Japan and Goyama Prefecture, they are first greeted with an electronic screen that displays “Welcome Mr./Ms.”
On a local tour, visitors can brush their faces in the store to buy chewing gum, or they can brush their faces into hotel rooms. When they head to the Great World theme park in Goyama Adventure, they can enter by brushing their faces and watch pandas gnaw bamboo and dolphins perform stunts.
This is the Japanese information technology company NEC last month in Baibin facial recognition experiment. NEC is betting that in the facial recognition technology market, convenience, coupled with the peace of mind for users in terms of data security, will be the magic weapon.
Illustration: Visitors can now brush their faces into the Great World theme park in Japan and Goyama Adventures.
The global market for facial recognition will double to $9.1 billion between 2018 and 2024 as facial recognition technology expands into autonomous driving, finance and healthcare, according to Mordor Intelligence, an Indian research firm.
There is no doubt that Chinese companies now dominate this sector because of their rapid rise in size and facial recognition accuracy. But Japanese companies also see market opportunities.
NEC is a world leader in facial recognition technology. In 1989, the company began studying facial recognition, with an early misidentification rate of about 30 percent.
But NEC, using artificial intelligence and developing its own original algorithm, has been steadily improving the accuracy and speed of its facial recognition technology.
NEC facial recognition technology has now dropped to 0.5% and the system has a speed of 230 million times per second. Speed and capacity far outstrip other companies, making NEC’s technology the number one in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) benchmarks.
Despite NEC’s technological advantages, Chinese suppliers developing facial recognition systems are already taking a majority of the global market.
Mr Seaconwyis is one of the most profitable Chinese companies, mainly because its products are less than half the price of comparable suppliers in developed countries.
Technically, China’s facial recognition technology is not backward. Of the top five companies in the 2018 NIST benchmarking ranking, the three institutions that ranked in the NEC are all from China: Eto technology, the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shangtang Technology.
That’s a stunning improvement from 2013, when none of the top five institutions came from China.
NEC and Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communication Technology have jointly developed a facial recognition system. The system is based on quantum cryptography and is highly secure. The system uses a method called “secret sharing” to split and store encrypted authentication data, which is almost impossible to crack.
NEC hopes to promote the system by emphasizing that it can reduce the risk of leakage. But at the same time, Chinese companies are entering emerging markets at lower prices, meaning Japan and other competitors also need to offer affordable productprices to stay competitive.
Panasonic launched a cloud-based face authentication system in November, using a pay-as-you-go model. Panasonic, which charges 1 yen (less than 1 cent) for each authentication, is willing to promote the service at a low price. (Chenchen)