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Biometrics National ID Solution

NEC's breakthrough AFIS technology in South Africa produced the world's largest citizen identification database. [ 04:07 ]

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A democracy for less than two decades, South Africa is now a vibrant country with approximately 48 million citizens of all colors and creeds.

A government-issued official Identification booklet is a critical part of everyday life here – Required for every citizen from the age 16 onward, it not only ensures access to public services, but is needed for transactions as simple as buying a car or even renting a video. And it is based on the most secure form of personal identification – a singularly individual fingerprint.

THE CHALLENGE

In the past, applicants at a local Home Affairs office, like this one here in Pretoria, would normally submit a paper form, supporting documents and then be fingerprinted for accurate identification. As a result, the government’s archives had amassed some 45 million paper files.

In addition, each fingerprint had to be manually verified in a time-consuming process. The Home Affairs Office felt it was time for a change.

THE SOLUTION

The 21st century solution to this challenge was the introduction of the Home Affairs National Identification System Project otherwise known as HANIS. HANIS would not only replace the current paper system with a cutting-edge digital database, but would need to ensure that every single new and existing fingerprint could be properly processed, verified and accessible in real time.

NEC had the answer.

THE TECHNOLOGY

With accuracy rates of more than 99.9%, NEC's award-winning Automatic Fingerprint Identification System or AFIS is one of the most cutting edge fingerprint recognition technologies in the world.

Masanori Hara Project Director NEC Corporation;
Every fingerprint is different. Every fingerprint has a different ridge structure. And we utilize such minutiae in matching.

The better the software is at recognizing such differences, the better the accuracy there is in validating an identity. AFIS also works fast, processing as many as 70,000 searches in a single working day.

THE BENEFITS

Thanks to NEC's breakthrough AFIS technology, the HANIS project has now produced the world's largest citizen identification database.

Vusumuzi Mkhize Acting Deputy Director General for Civic Services South African Department of Home Affairs;
NEC has provided us with an amazing amount of technological advancement. I use the way to describe the system that we have with them as having catapulted us, taken us, and leapfrogged us beyond expectations.

Collaboration between NEC and local South African engineers was key to the success of the project.

Grahame Saunders Project Manager NEC Corporation;
I think it is important for a company like NEC to impart their knowledge to, to the local people and to empower the local people to be able to maintain the system and to continue with the system going forward.

Queues are now shorter, bureaucratic delays reduced. And the extraordinary accuracy of the system has dramatically reduced the possibility of fraud or identity theft that is common throughout the world.

But for South Africa, this next generation digital database platform also means something more.

In the past South Africa's citizens were divided by race or belief. Today, everyone is integrated into a single digital archive, recognized solely through NEC technology and just one universal human feature, their fingerprint.

Vusumuzi Mkhize Acting Deputy Director General for Civic Services South African Department of Home Affairs;
Symbolically it goes a long way because it addresses a lot of barriers people might have, prejudices people might have heard before, but now everyone have a sense of belonging, to the country..


Overview

Fingerprint Identification Technology (South Africa)

Biometrics ID Solution Img
A democracy for less than two decades, South Africa is a vibrant country with approximately 48 million citizens of all colors and creeds. To assure fair and equal access to public services for all, the government provides all citizens over the age of 16 with official identification booklet.

The booklet is based on the most secure form of personal identification ― the holder's fingerprint.

Identification booklets play an essential role in the daily lives of South Africa's citizens. Not only do they enable access to public services, they are also required for transactions ranging from buying a car to renting a video.

To obtain identification booklets, citizens must go to a branch of the Home Affairs office and submit an application form and supporting documents, and then be fingerprinted for accurate identification. As a result, the government's archive had amassed some 45 million paper files.

In the past, fingerprint authentication had to be checked manually in a time-consuming process. And with the volume of files that had to be searched continuing to grow, the Home Affairs Office felt it was time for a change.

To overcome these challenges, the government turned to a truly 21st century solution. Known as HANIS, which stands for Home Affairs National Identification System, it aims to replace the current paper system with a cutting-edge digital database and to ensure that every single new and existing fingerprint could be properly processed, verified and accessible in real time.

The government turned to NEC's award-winning Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), with accuracy rates of more than 99.9%, one of the most cutting-edge fingerprint recognition technologies in the world.

"Every fingerprint is different. Every fingerprint has a different ridge structure. And we utilize such minutiae in matching." says Masanori Hara, Project Director of NEC Corporation.

The better the software is at recognizing such differences, the higher the accuracy of identity. AFIS also works fast, processing as many as 70,000 searches in a single working day.

Thanks to NEC's breakthrough AFIS, the HANIS project has become the largest citizen identification database in the world.

As Acting Deputy Director General for Civic Services South African Department of Home Affairs puts it: "NEC has provided us with an amazing amount of technological advancement. I use the way to describe the system we have with them as catapulted us, taken us, leapfrogged us beyond expectations."

Collaboration between NEC and local South African engineers was key to the success of the project. Queues are shorter and delays have been reduced, and the accuracy of the system dramatically reduces the possibility of the fraud and identity theft that are a growing problem in the world.

But for South Africa, this next-generation digital database platform also means something more. In the past its citizens were divided by race or belief. Today, everyone is integrated into a single digital archive, recognized through NEC technology by just one universal human feature, their fingerprint.

At NEC, we're happy that our technology is helping the government of South Africa serve its citizens, and are proud to support the spirit of freedom and national unity that defines the country today.


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