The trial

The trial

Tokyo-based IT provider NEC Corporation is conducting trials for cashless payment services using NEC facial recognition technology in co-operation with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Card.

The SMBC trials will continue to 30 January 2017, involving around 1,000 employees at the dining facilities of SMBC’s head office. The Sumitomo Mitsui Card trials go on till 31 January 2017, and involve about 400 employees at the company’s Tokyo head office.

Fumiaki Matsubara, senior vice-president, NEC Corporation, says it did trials at “small shops inside our own head office” and later it is targeting “the commercialisation of these services”.

The trials use NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition engine, which enables identity verification by matching employees’ pre-registered facial images against the images taken by cameras installed in the employee dining facilities. Payment for items purchased is automatically deducted from employees’ monthly salaries for the following month.

NEC says this facial recognition has the “unique characteristic of not requiring the installation of dedicated authentication devices, and offering enhanced security and peace of mind due to the fact that registered facial data is stored in the form of numerical values”.

These values make it “difficult or impossible for a third party to identify the faces of registered users even in the event that they are able to obtain the data”.

The trials will provide NEC, SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Card with the usual things – such as data on “operational aspects”, and “gaining experience and know-how” for use at branches in the future.