Company offers free live face recognition to identify missing young people
27 July 2017 05:35 GMT

British tech firm Digital Barriers has announced that it will be making its live facial recognition software available at no cost to national and local authorities and agencies in the UK involved in the search for missing young people.

As seen last week on BBC Newsnight, the new and unique automatic facial recognition system, SmartVis Face, has been built around machine learning, originally with the purpose of tracking criminals and terror suspects against watch lists of many thousands of people.

After being publicly announced for use on fixed surveillance cameras as well as smartphones and police body worn cameras last week, there has been a significant response in regards to the availability of this new capability. One particularly important question has been how SmartVis facial recognition can be utilised outside of crime-based law enforcement, including in the search for missing young people passing through major towns and cities.

SmartVis Face is a non-conformant technology that works on standard cameras and hardware, including smartphones, addressing the challenges of cost and changing lighting and environmental conditions. This contrasts with the access control and passport e-gate solutions currently being widely deployed. Crucially, the technology can be used to match faces against lists of missing young people by targeting public spaces such as railway and bus stations, triggering alerts which inform relevant agencies and authorities when vulnerable young people are seen passing through such locations. The technology will also be provided for use on smartphones that can check vulnerable young people against lists of those who have been reported as missing.


"SmartVis facial recognition has been designed to significantly enhance the technology in use by law enforcement and security agencies in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. This same technology can also be used to combat the growing problem of missing and vulnerable young people passing through our towns and cities. Now we are making SmartVis facial recognition software freely available to UK agencies and authorities focusing on finding missing young people. If the agency or authority provides access to suitable cameras and PCs, we'll do the rest," Doffman said, “we will also make smartphone licenses freely available. At the same time we will engage with the suppliers of cameras and processing hardware to seek to engage them in this donation. Launching widespread facial recognition to help search for vulnerable missing young people is clearly an exceptional benefit of this new technology and we want to ensure that it’s widely available.”


The SmartVis Face technology is now available for use via standard smartphones, body worn cameras and CCTV cameras.Combined with EdgeVis by Digital Barriers – the world's most effective mobile live streaming solution, already in use with flagship agencies around the world – it makes streaming from these devices both operationally and financially viable. By removing human error from the equation and plugging resourcing gaps, it enables organisations to significantly widen their deployments of facial recognition to enhance security and public safety, with identities confirmed and relevant people highlighted in real time.