Technology and the changing nature of governance
March 2020 changed the face of the world indelibly and set in motion a series of changes in every aspect of our lives, from how we work, to how we access the most basic of amenities. In terms of digital transformation, the world achieved in mere months, what it set out to do in a matter of years! The world over, this shift has been hugely beneficial not only in improving enterprise efficiencies but also in enhancing productivity and efficiency in everyday life. Increasingly, governments are turning towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), facial recognition, and biometric solutions, to name a few, in order to help achieve ease of life and safety, thereby fostering a meaningful intersection and greater synergies between the government and its people. Cities like Singapore, Helsinki, and Zurich have been exemplary in their technological provisions across critical areas such as healthcare, safety, mobility, etc.
NEC India has been actively working with the state and central governments across various pillars to help bring their vision to life. Below are a few instances:
In aid of inclusive nation-building
India has implemented one of the largest national identification systems in the world with the launch of the Aadhaar Program by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The Aadhaar program is a system that aims to provide all residents of India with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate anytime, anywhere. This national identification system, essential for inclusive nation-building and empowerment of all its citizens, is aimed at gathering and managing the names, addresses, and biometric information of the entire population, in an effort to create an equal society in which every single person has equal access to education, healthcare, social welfare, banking, and other public and financial services. To date, this program has completed around 1.3 billion unique enrolments with the help of large-scale biometric systems developed by NEC. The system utilizes multiple biometrics such as fingerprints, face, and iris images to distinguish all enrolled citizens. It also has tremendous processing power, with the capacity to handle more than 1 million registrations per day by checking the registered biometric information for more than 1 billion people and comparing it to the biometric information of people seeking to register.
Making travel seamless and safe
NEC recently won contracts from the Airports Authority of India, to deploy facial recognition for passengers, as part of its automated boarding solution in Varanasi, Vijayawada, Pune, and Kolkata. This is part of the DigiYatra program by the Government of India (GoI), to help make the airports in India paperless, and contactless. The global ICT giant has deployed biometric authentication solutions for airport lounges along with intelligent and customizable airport display solutions providing passengers with extraordinary convenience, in light of the global pandemic, this has become increasingly vital from a safety and sanitation point of view as well. This facial recognition technology-based biometric boarding system will go live from March 2022.
Making Indian citizens safe
NEC remains committed to boosting public safety and strengthening law enforcement in India and has worked with the Kerala and Karnataka state police to implement an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). This central database of fingerprints has been developed to help the state machinery to cross-verify unknown fingerprints and has gone a long way in accelerating investigations and apprehending perpetrators. This fingerprint authentication infrastructure is extremely accurate and has capabilities to enhance the quality of fragmented fingerprints that might be found in crime scenes as well. Further, NEC’s smart cameras, with built-in capabilities to provide real-time crowd behavior analysis can go a long way in making Indian cities secure.
Making Indian cities smart
Amidst the technological shift, the concept of smart cities in India has become a reality and is poised for tremendous growth. With greater support from the government, a vision to infuse technology in all aspects of life, and faster implementation, more cities in India are well on the path to becoming smarter, more connected, inclusive, and safe.
NEC has been working closely with the GoI on their flagship Smart Cities Mission initiative which involves various identity & access Security Solutions, smart IoT solutions, seamless payment solutions, Platform maintenance services, Intelligent transportation solutions, etc. The Government relies on NEC's global expertise and ability to customize solutions for the Indian demographic. The brand has been recognized as 'World's No.1 Biometric Company' by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) four consecutive times. The ICT behemoth has been awarded smart cities projects in the city of Saharanpur, Gurugram, Kalyan Dombivali, Thiruvananthapuram, amongst others wherein it has implemented a wide range of solutions that include Integrated Command and Control Centre, Integrated Traffic Management System, traffic law enforcement, security and safety, e-governance, municipal operations, and information dissemination, etc.
Another aspect is the vast amounts of heterogeneous data that has become available with smart cities that can be unleashed for the public good. India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) is a flagship initiative of Smart City Mission, MoHUA and GoI, seeking to facilitate data usage to realize the full potential of technology and innovation within Indian cities. NEC's end-to-end ICT-based automation solutions for the entire life cycle of various modes of public transport (bus, metro, taxi, etc.) improve the quality of Indian citizens' lives.
With all of these technological advancements, partly accelerated by the pandemic, it is crucial that the momentum is maintained, as we enter the new normal. NEC is amongst the top Big Data Solutions & Services Providers, Data & Analytics Service providers and leverages high-performance computing. Solutions deployed by NEC are invisibly intertwined in the everyday life of Indian citizens, and its cutting-edge solutions bind the entire society together, empowering a billion lives to achieve more. It would be interesting to observe how emerging technology, including blockchain, AI, ML, Quantum computing, would change the face of governance in India.