The Chinese manufacturer has purchased the patents and hired the team of designers from Vocord Company, a current resident of the IT cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation. The deal was confirmed to Sk.ru by Vocord.
Neither party would disclose the cost of the deal but sources in Vedomosti Daily assess the deal as being worth around $40-50 million USD.
Vocord, founded in 1999, develops cameras and software for face recognition, video monitoring and tracking of traffic rule violations. At Skolkovo, where the company became a resident in 2011, the team has been working on the project called VOCORD ‘Face Control 3D’. The system is for non-cooperative face recognition. Unlike most other IT cluster projects that mostly have to do with programming; this system combines hardware and software elements. Huawei experts are believed to be interested in Vocord’s HD cameras with smart functions.
Vocord received numerous awards during ‘Mega Face’, the world championships of face recognition. During one of the events the Russian company’s algorithm proved to be more effective than that of Google. Sk.ru has written about the successes of this Skolkovo team in commercializing research results on many occasions. Computer systems recognize people’s faces, better than people do. We are only able to recognize faces of familiar people – family members, friends, neighbours, etc. If a person was given a stack of 1000 photographs and ask to find one photo similar to another image in the database, they would find this task extremely difficult. Naturally, specialists do this much better than untrained people, but machines have been performing better than people in the recognition of unknown faces for quite a few years now. The main problem with recognizing faces in public places, such as transport hubs, is that people tend to refuse to “cooperate.” The passengers smile, frown, talk, eat and most often do not look straight at a camera. All these factors lower considerably, the reliability and accuracy of traditional face recognition systems. Unlike some other biometric systems that require the face of the person to be positioned precisely in relation to the camera, the VOCORD ‘Face Control’ system can work in a fully non-cooperative mode.
This means that the person does not need to position him, or herself in front of the camera in a specific way: the system focuses on the face of a particular person within the flow of other people who may not even be aware that they are in the vision field of the system. The system can be used on the underground, in railway stations, stadiums, cinemas, theatres, stores, etc. Face recognition systems are in demand and can be employed extensively, for instance, within the retail trade, where the VOCORD ‘Face Control’ system helps deal with two major groups of situations. Security: (helps reduce the risk of shoplifting and helps during the investigation of various incidents). And marketing: (helps improve service quality, define target audiences and optimize advertising costs).