NEC Australia police project wins award
02 September 2016 15:17 GMT

A facial recognition solution developed by NEC Australia for the Northern Territory Police Force has won an innovation award.

The Watch House project — designed, customised and implemented by NEC and the NT Police — as an Australian first facial recognition solution has the Infrastructure & Platforms Innovation of the Year National iAward at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) 2016 iAwards.

The system accurately identifies people being brought into custody in under 10 seconds, in a dramatic speed improvement from the standard system that can take from minutes to hours to deliver results.

According to NEC, the new platform helps fight crime and protect the Northern Territory community, while also enhancing the workplace for Watch House officers and staff.

NEC and NT Police say the technology has already saved lives, has reduced 108,000 minutes of police administration work through the efficiency of the new system and has diminished 1800 hours of printing administration duties time for officers to redeploy their time back into the community to manage other matters.

"It is an honour to win a national iAward for this amazing project," said Sergeant Chris Brand of Northern Territory Police.

"Our facial recognition technology platform is now rapidly identifying people brought into custody and making a significant contribution to how we conduct investigations and combat crime. Importantly, it’s also improving overall safety and freeing officers to spend more time in-field."

According to NEC, no other similar agency in Australia is using NeoFace, NEC’s facial recognition technology, as a single point solution. NeoFace is claimed to accurately match, against police databases, any images from CCTV footage, body-worn video cameras or phones. This information-matching from the face alone is overcoming delays in clarifying details as people come into custody. And the system also assists in the identification of individuals with medical issues or who might pose a risk to themselves, the public, or police.

"The development of the Watch House project was the result of an intense, collaborative effort between NEC and the Northern Territory Police. And its success involved extensive customisation and field testing of the NeoFace solution by our Melbourne-based R&D team. We are proud to support the NT Police in its drive to achieve a safer, smarter workplace as they protect their community. And it’s very gratifying for this innovative platform to be recognised by the AIIA iAwards," said Mike Barber, chief operating officer at NEC Australia.