Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic Games to use full face recognition technology to enhance safety in all venues, according to the organizers. In order to achieve this, the organizers work with the Japanese telecommunications and information technology company NEC to develop the first such system to be implemented in the Olympic Games.
The technology, which was presented to the media at an event in the Japanese capital, will use IC chips inside identity cards to automatically verify the identity of those entering the 40 sites. It is estimated that more than 300,000 athletes and staff working for the races will have to submit photos that will be registered in a central database before the Olympic Games start in July 2020.
“Every time these people come into the facility, security checks will be carried out through this system,” explained Tokyo 2020 security chief of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The system will not appeal to viewers who are there to watch the games, but will focus on enhancing the safety of athletes and reducing their waiting times before each event. In particular, face recognition will focus on athletes, race staff, volunteers and journalists working in the media.
“More than 40 facilities, such as the main stage of the Olympic Games, the International Broadcast Center, the Olympic Village and so on, will have the face recognition system,” said NEC Vice President, Masaaki Suganuma.
NEC said it tested this technology during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where it had been applied to several locations, including airports, but its contribution to safety was short-lived.
During the demonstration of face recognition in the media, technology has managed to correctly identify a number of different people, including those in wheelchairs and different heights, which is a key feature of the NEC system.