NEC has long enjoyed some renown as a provider of sophisticated facial recognition technology to government and enterprise clients, but the company is now branching out into the mobile authentication market through the application of its software in new smartphones.
Its mobile partner, Algeria-based Bomare, isn’t exactly a global brand. But the company makes devices that run on the popular Android operating system, and its new NEC-enhanced smartphone is compliant with FIDO Alliance authentication standards, which should help to lend it some credibility in terms of strong security. The device will use NEC’s facial recognition software “to authenticate the identity of the phone’s user in order to ensure authorized access to applications that include online payments and others,” according to an NEC statement announcing the integration.
It’s a savvy partnership for both companies given the heightened interest around mobile facial recognition. Apple led the charge in this area when it unveiled its Face ID authentication system for the iPhone X, and numerous other device makers have since sought to emulate it. And while many of those other authentication systems failed to match the sophistication of Apple’s infrared face scanning system, which is based on infrared face mapping, NEC’s highly advanced facial recognition technology could help Bomare to stand out.
For NEC, meanwhile, this may be the start of an important new business line, with NEC Telecommunication and Information Technology Managing Director Tomoki Naka asserting in the company’s announcement that NEC “will continue contributing to the creation of a safe and secure society through the provision of FIDO-compliant software to smartphone manufacturers, service providers and other customers in countries around the world.”