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View from India: Face-recognition technology gets a boost

Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric programme and a national identity system in India, is scheduled to introduce face authentication from August 2018.

The news was announced by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), its statutory authority.

As per the January 2018 circular from UIDAI, face authentication will be used along with one more authentication factor, like fingerprint or iris or one-time password (OTP). Over 1,510 crore authentications have been performed by various authentication user agencies (AUA) of which more than 1,045 crore are biometric transactions.

Face authentication is an inclusive authentication that can address issues like worn-out fingerprints. The other factors indicate that biometric data alters with advancing age and accidents can also hamper accuracy associated with finger print authentication. Besides that, face authentication with liveness detection can become an additional factor to scale up security.

The UIDAI has announced that it will work with biometric device providers to integrate face authentication into the certified registered devices and maybe even provide a standalone registered device for this aspect. Also, it will work to provide software development kits (SDKs) and devices with the ability to capture face image, check liveliness and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input.

Facial recognition is technology software that identifies real-time video with a database of stored images. “The application can be easily integrated to trigger an alarm and reduce response time for instances of an unforeseen intruder alert. Our company has cameras with tools that support the entire incident management chain. By providing detailed, high-quality video in even the most difficult conditions, it offers the best possible platform for optimising situational awareness and operational efficiency,” said Sudhindra Holla, sales director, India and SAARC, Axis Communications.

The facial-recognition system is a detection process of matching faces caught on network video recorders in real-time against a database of past stored images of people. The faces collected in the database can be divided into different categories based on a certain location, employees or guests of honour.

Besides facial recognition, when we look at security as a system, the cost of setting up the security equipment is not confined to just the component. Security installations both big and small involve additional expenses like cabling and labour which can burden small business enterprises. There are other issues as well. “Visible cables can also be a problem where matters of interior design and aesthetics are important. Palm-sized PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras are discreet and fit anywhere. They are ideally suited for smaller installations allowing wider coverage, allowing business owners to keep control of their premises and assets by seeing the bigger picture,” added Holla.

In India we see the application of PTZ cameras in verticals like retail, food and hospitality. What makes a PTZ camera unique is its high-definition clarity, autofocus and built-in analytics enabled with audio volume detection. Other features include its ability to track unusual movements and scream detection.

As for face-recognition software, three parameters regarding face detection, alignment and recognition need to be fulfilled. There are various real-time face-recognition algorithms that can be used for mapping pictures and solutions for solving face verification issues. Face-recognition command line tools are used to measure, save and load pre-trained, fine-tuned models for face recognition in videos, somewhat on the lines of webcam feeds. Algorithms for video-stream analysis in real time need to be developed.

Deep learning and open-source software can be leveraged for many of the processes. Major platforms like Mac OSX, Windows and Linux help support most of the framework.

Simply put, security is now a top priority for both the Government and enterprises, due to which the demand for smart and intelligent security systems has seen an increasing trend over the last few years in India. More people and businesses have begun involving themselves in the digital economy. In many cases, securing digital transactions becomes a critical issue for first timers.

Security practitioners need to scale up their offerings to meet upcoming requirements. A case in point is the December 2018 deadline set by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) to replace magnetic strips with chip-and-pin technology. By the deadline date, every automated teller machine (ATM) and card reader must be compliant to mandatory regulations, along with each of the millions of newly issued debit and credit cards.

RBI is India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. “With India’s simultaneous entry into multiple stages of digital transition - online money transfers, contactless payments, cashless transit and paperless ID management - the biggest challenge is the ability of the nascent digital infrastructure to handle increased adoption,” felt Suresh Sugavanam, vice president and managing director, UL South Asia, a global service provider of interoperability, compliance evaluation and advisory services for the mobile, payment card, eTicketing and ID management sectors.

Assuring the credibility of the transaction mechanism, whether products like debit or credit cards or payment gateways, is a huge challenge for policy makers. The immediate task at hand to secure the digital economy is of massive scope. More so, as the number of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, at present a meagre 2.8 million, is expected to increase dramatically.

“Form factors like dual-interface cards that are fueling metro travel across the country must be evaluated for security. There must be country-specific security protocols to manage the mobile wallet space. At every level in dealing with this risky migration, the government needs the help of experienced players to assist in paving a more secure path for a digital economy,” reasoned Sugavanam.

Through the JAM (Jandhan, Aadhar and Mobile) trinity, the Government of India (GoI) has created India’s first all-encompassing digital highway, with the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) and Rupay scheme serving as levers for the country’s fintech revolution. At every level in dealing with this migration, there’s a need for experienced players to assist processes in paving a more secure path for a digital economy.

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