April 23, 2014 3:31 am JST

NEC releases face-authentication PC security software

NEC's software uses photographs for user identification instead of passwords.

TOKYO -- NEC announced Tuesday that it has begun selling commercial software that uses face-recognition technology instead of a password to log on to a personal computer.

     To use the system, employees would register photos of their faces in advance on a company's server. The software would then analyze several dozen characteristic points of each face, such as the distance between a subject's eyes, and create a database.

     A camera mounted on each PC on a corporate network snaps a picture of a potential user's face, and the software then references the database to confirm the individual's identity. Once the identify has been confirmed, the computer becomes operable.

     The camera continues to snap photos and compare them to the database while the PC is in use. If the user steps away and someone else takes his or her place, the machine automatically becomes inoperable, thereby helping to prevent unauthorized use and safeguarding company information.

     The server version of the software is priced at 300,000 yen ($2,894), while the personal computer version costs 10,000 yen per machine. By the year ending March 2017, NEC hopes to have it installed at 400 companies, generating cumulative sales of 10 billion yen.