Herta, the facial scanner to identify the bad guys

02/21/2018
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The original article can be found in this link from ACCIÓ

The Catalan company puts at the service of security the fastest facial recognition technology to identify suspects and criminals among the crowd. It is one of the companies that will be joining the Catalonia Stand of the Government of Catalonia to be present at the Mobile World Congress 2018.

Every day dozens of cameras focus our faces without even realizing it. A circumstance that does not help to those who do not want to be found, especially when persecuted by justice. Even more, if these cameras incorporate facial recognition technology such as the one created by Herta, one of the Catalan companies that are part of the Catalonia Stand at the Mobile World Congress 2018.

"We were the first company that started using GPU technology, very common graphics cards in video games that help to process at a very fast speed," explains Laura Blanc, International Marketing Executive of the company.

Herta was born in 2010 as a spin-off from the UPC that performed different biometrics for the recognition of voice, iris and face. As of 2012, however, they focused on facial recognition to address the security segment. "We became the fastest facial recognition technology in the world," Blanc remembers.

No unnoticed faces

"We work for governments, police or casinos," explains the head of Herta’s Marketing. Having the fastest facial recognition technology also allows them to exploit areas such as marketing, where applications are as imaginable as possible, from recognizing VIP clients when they enter a store to targeted advertising campaigns.

Even so, in Herta the global context convinced them to specialize in the field of security. "We thought that the future of security in crowded environments at airports, train stations or shopping centers would be to recognize a person in the crowd," says Blanc. After all, for a security guard it is very difficult to "remember all the faces of a black list."

Herta, who has some around forty workers over the world (26 in Catalonia), has already completed several successful projects. One of the last ones has been in the gala of the Golden Globes of 2018. "The Hilton Hotel, where the ceremony was held, had eight cameras at the hall with facial recognition. We had already tested it in three previous editions and this was the first place where they bought it and they will already have it permanently ", she celebrates. The goal was to avoid stalkers or impostors, a task for which they have worked together with the FBI and the Beverly Hills Police, which provided them with access to their database of suspects.

Another area with future potential for its technology is that of sporting events. "We went to the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, in the Peñarol-National derby, with 36 cameras to identify the dangerous hooligans." An effort that was successfully resolved and allowed the police to trap radical followers with restricted access. In addition, this summer the technology of Herta will also guarantee a high security in the World Cup that will be held in Russia.

All of this considering one of the great niches to exploit: the smart and safe cities. "The smart cities sector has great potential. We have achieved some projects that will be made public in the near future" confirms Laura Blanc.

The MWC, the best cover letter

Herta does business with software that normally sells through integrators and distributors. For a company like theirs, being present at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a golden opportunity that they will try to take advantage from the Catalonia Stand of the Government of Catalonia.

"At the MWC we will launch our first mobile application, BioID. This app is connected to a database that the client has on his server. With the camera of the mobile the user can take pictures to a person and see if it is in the list." An especially interesting application for the police or forensic analysis, and which was born from the same demands of its clients.

Beyond presenting this novelty, Blanc says that "the MWC will be a great opportunity to demonstrate the speed and precision of our technology. At the same time, we are very interested in finding potential partners to create new mobile applications with facial recognition."

We thought that the future of security in crowded environments at airports, train stations or shopping centers would be to recognize a person in the crowd.