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Melbourne, 20 June 2016 - NEC Australia, a leading technology services company, together with the Northern Territory Police Force have been awarded two prestigious accolades from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) for a project in the NT Police Watch House using facial recognition technology, a powerful new tool to fight crime and protect the community.
The iAwards are Australia’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy. Both organisations were recognised with the ‘Northern Territory Infrastructure & Platforms Innovation of the Year iAward’, as well as the ‘Northern Territory Public Sector & Government iAward’.
The capability has arrived with the Northern Territory Government’s deployment of NT’s Watch House Facial Recognition system, which uses NEC NeoFace Reveal as the basis of the solution. The Northern Territory Police are now able to more effectively utilise cameras on smartphones, and body-worn video devices to combat crime and solve criminal investigations faster.
Watch House is an Australian-first forensic facial recognition identification solution designed, customised and implemented by NEC Australia specifically for the Northern Territory Police’s Watch House custody environment.
NeoFace Reveal reduces investigation time for cases that contain facial video evidence. It also delivers rapid processing of facial evidence and generates a persons of interest list immediately after a crime has taken place.
The technology is a product of NEC’s commitment to orchestrate a brighter world through technology that improves safety, security, equality and efficiency in society.
At the core of NT’s Watch House and NeoFace Reveal is the NeoFace facial recognition software engine, which achieved the highest performance evaluation in the tests performed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)(*).
The NEC-powered Watch House system has helped NT Police drastically cut investigation times, as well as improve safety for staff and the local community.
NT Police now have the tools to accelerate investigations through fast and accurate identification, which helps police quickly identify or rule out suspects. The system has enabled an entirely new approach to investigating crimes, allowing NT Police to leverage newer small form-factor technologies, including body-worn video cameras and smartphone cameras. Captured images are sent to NT Police’s facial recognition team and then loaded into Watch House for analysis and comparison with existing images in its database.
Watch House is also helping NT Police improve safety and ensure officers have more time to engage with the community.
“This rapidly matched identification of potentially dangerous people, as well as those with underlying health issues, is enhancing OH&S practices and safety for both police Watch House staff and citizens brought into custody,” said Sergeant Chris Brand from NT Police.
“It is also contributing to the significant decrease in administrative workload and increasing the amount of time per shift that police officers are freed to spend in the field.”
The Watch House identification platform is the product of a close collaboration between NT Police and NEC Australia’s Melbourne-based R&D team. This involved extensive field testing to ensure Watch House delivered extremely high recognition rates and was configured accurately to capture a wide range of facial types and skin colours.
NEC Australia also assisted NT Police refine lighting and camera configurations to ensure fast, accurate and reliable matching, as well as developing additional software components to rapidly capture multiple facial images.
“The calibre of entrants for this year’s awards has been astounding,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO, AIIA. “It’s rare to see a student innovation compete with a government or a large corporate innovation, and this is what makes the iAwards particularly exciting. All innovators are potential winners – regardless of origin, size, scale, industry or social focus.”
The iAwards is a chance for students, researchers, governments, SME’s and large businesses to showcase their innovative ideas and projects to the nation and be recognised and rewarded for having the potential to, or already having a positive impact on the community – at home, in the office and on a global scale.
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