Tokyo 2020 Will Be the First Olympics to Use Facial Recognition to Improve Security

Two years ahead of the next Olympics, Tokyo 2020 is already miles ahead of its predecessors when it comes to tech and security.

NEC Corporation, a Japanese IT giant, announced on Tuesday that it would be providing a new and extensive facial recognition system for the 2020 Olympic Summer and Paralympic Games in Tokyo to identify more than 300,000 attendees, including athletes, officials, media, and staff. It will not be used to identify any spectators, but will instead focus on streamlining the lengthy entry process for key attendees.

“With our extensive experience and knowledge of biometric identification technologies, NEC is well placed to help ensure the Tokyo 2020 Games can be operated smoothly, safely and securely,” said NEC Senior Vice President Masaaki Suganuma in a blog post announcing the partnership.

The facial recognition system will incorporate NEC’s AI engine, NeoForce, and will work by crosschecking pre-collected images of authorized persons as they encounter various entry points within the games.

By adopting the new technology into the Olympics already rigorous security system, the organizing committee and NEC hope to improve the safety and efficiency of entrance in the heat of Tokyo’s sweltering summer months.

“This will be the first time such technology is used at an Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the organizing committee said in a statement. “Reflecting Tokyo 2020’s commitment to deliver the most innovative Games in history.”

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