Cognitec Systems

In The Boardroom With...
Mr. Alfredo Herrera Hernandez
Chief Executive Officer
Cognitec Systems

Updated September 7, 2012 In our last interview, you told us that Cognitec is working on video screening and analytics technology that can be used for security and operational management. Can you give us an update in regards to this technology?

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: Yes, Cognitec is preparing an exciting new release of our FaceVACS-VideoScan product. Next to performing real-time identity checks to find known persons, the product now applies Cognitec’s premier face recognition technology to count individuals, analyze demographics, track people movement in time and space, detect frequent visitors and crowds, and much more. Businesses and organizations are starting to see the value of using real-time face recognition technology to detect unwanted behavior in much faster and more efficient ways, and also to identify authorized individuals or high-ranking customers to grant access or provide special treatment. But this new version of FaceVACS-VideoScan offers features and capabilities to support operations management as well. For example, operators can detect crowds and measure waiting times to direct traffic. The analysis of traffic patterns and demographical statistics can provide businesses with precise visitor data to make interior design, marketing, staffing and other operational decisions. Since the technology can analyze a face for gender, age and ethnicity as people approach a camera, it can trigger the display of a targeted message on a digital sign or other advertising devices. We will preview this technology at ASIS International in Philadelphia, the Biometrics Consortium Conference in Tampa, and at Biometrics London in preparation of its upcoming market release. Thank you for joining us today, Alfredo. We are delighted to have a few minutes with the designer and developer of the facial recognition system FaceVACS. In our previous Cognitec interview with Dr. Juergen Pampus we learned about Cognitec's history, product line, and success stories with Adobe and Nero. Before discussing recent developments at Cognitec, please give us an overview of your background.

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: I began developing face recognition applications in 1995, while working at Siemens Nixdorf Advanced Technologies GmbH as a principal software engineer. As head of the biometrics development team at plettac electronics security GmbH, which I joined in 1998, I was responsible for the ongoing development of the FaceVACS technology. We founded Cognitec in May 2002 and have since firmly established FaceVACS as one of the leading face recognition technologies in the world. We read your recent announcement with great interest regarding the release of a new face recognition algorithm. Please tell us about the improvements this new algorithm brings to market.

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: Face recognition applications are moving from analyzing still images to recognizing faces in real-time via video cameras. These applications bring new challenges to recognition engines. Video cameras usually produce images with lower resolution. Inside buildings and venues, people move quickly and in groups, they rarely look directly into the camera, or their faces are hidden by hats, objects, and other people. Therefore, we are concentrating our algorithm development on low-quality facial images, with faces turned sideways, up and down, or partially hidden, and on the speed of our recognition engine. Our latest algorithm B6 shows significant improvements in these areas. As we enter 2012, are there any other new developments at Cognitec you would like to discuss?

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: Going along with the answer above, we are working on solutions for video screening applications that can be used for security, access control and operational management. Using real-time video footage, businesses will be able to recognize authorized personnel and detect unwanted individuals at the same time. You can greet a preferred customer and display a digital message with today's sales specials or alert security about a known shoplifter. You can count how many people are standing in line at a store, bank or in a border control area and direct traffic to other cashiers, tellers or border agents. The use cases for this technology will expand with each year and with continued improvement of recognition speed and accuracy. With customers such as 3M, Accenture, De La Rue, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, and Unisys one can understand why Cognitec is known as "the face recognition company". Without divulging any confidential information, of course, please tell us about other Cognitec success stories.

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: Our success relates directly to successful implementations and everyday use of our technologies. A growing client base confirms our competence and leadership in the face recognition market, and the success stories of specific use cases attest to the leading performance and superior matching speed of Cognitec's applications. As one example, we are pleased to report the increasing application of face recognition in law enforcement worldwide, and that Cognitec's products are in high demand for this market. Successful implementations in the US have recently aided in correctly indentifying a crime suspect. A large-scale image database application in Australia is assisting law enforcement and other government agencies to prevent ID document fraud, investigate illegal activities and find criminals. Thank you again for joining us today, Alfredo. Any final thoughts?

Alfredo Herrera Hernandez: Around the globe, the use of face recognition and other biometric data is raising privacy concerns. The media, governments and advocacy groups are debating the issues and proposing laws and regulations. Cognitec's experts hope to contribute reliable, qualified knowledge to the debate, and we strive to develop products that use face recognition in responsible, accurate ways that benefit a safer society.