For the second consecutive year, the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan ranked NEC Corporation as the global leader in biometric authentication solutions in February 2023. The Japa nese conglomerate controls the entire value chain (from sensors to software) in six different biometric authentication methods (facial recognition, iris recognition, fingerprint and palm recognition, voice recognition and ear authentication), which covers the entire market.
One of the company’s most significant projects is its participation in the largest multi-biometric identification programme in the world: the Aadhaar project in India. Launched in 2010, this programme aims to provide 1.4 billion Indians (17% of the global population!) with a unique 12-digit identification number in a country where, until now, most residents didn’t have an ID.
But before they can receive this incredibly important document, which is required to open a bank account, each person must provide three forms of biometric data: all 10 fingerprints, both irises and a photo of their face. The cost of this massive project is estimated at $1.4 billion, split primarily between two companies: French group Safran, which handles 75% of all applications via its subsidiaries Safran Identity & Security and L1; and NEC, which handles the remaining 25%. While almost all of the Indian population now has an Aadhaar Card, this programme remains controversial, particularly because the Indian government launched a call for bids to implement a facial recognition system which would link the massive Aadhaar database, containing facial data on the entire population, to the national surveillance camera network.