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Cognitec Systems

In The Boardroom With...
Dr. Juergen Pampus
VP Sales & Marketing,
Cognitec Systems Thank you for joining us today, Juergen. It is an honor to speak again with one of the co-founders of Cognitec. Please give us an overview of your background and a brief company history.

Juergen Pampus: It is my pleasure. I have a background of more than 30 years in the IT industry, working in consulting, project management, sales and marketing. In 1995 at Siemens, I initiated the development of new face recognition technology which is now owned by Cognitec. I was one of five co-founders of Cognitec in 2002; we had all been part of the team since 1995. The timing for starting a company specializing in face recognition was luckily quite good as the market accelerated quickly after 2001.

So we experienced healthy growth and became an industry leading vendor. Today, our headquarters are based in Germany, and we have subsidiaries in the USA and Hong Kong. Our customers are found in more than a hundred countries. One will read on that, "Cognitec Systems develops, markets and deploys the well-established and market-leading FaceVACS® face recognition technology to global customers. Specifically, since 1995, our experts have been developing face recognition technology that allows industry and governmental customers to prevent identity fraud, secure borders and support physical access control. Around the globe, other companies have developed and continue to create new solutions using our technology - a resounding testament to the technical proficiency and customer-friendliness of our products." Please give us an overview of FaceVACS® technology and the new extended version of FaceVACS-DBScan.

Juergen Pampus: All our products are based on the FaceVACS engine which provides a set of face recognition functions that can be used in various usage scenarios, e.g. verify if the face of a passenger is the same as the face on his passport photo, find the most similar faces in a photo database, track and identify faces in video streams, etc. Depending on the scenario, these functions are combined in our application packages that are optimized for certain customer segments. |

FaceVACS-DBScan for example is a software package used to find duplicates in large photo databases, and we have recently added sophisticated tools for our law enforcement customers. Typically, investigators often have to work with bad quality images of suspects. With our tools, they can enhance the images and so improve matching results dramatically for such difficult images.

But we also provide very flexible development toolkits that allow our partners to develop completely new face recognition applications. Cognitec's track record as an industry leader is well established. Please tell us about the track record in terms of biometric recognition accuracy, response times, scalability, and product reliability.

Juergen Pampus: Recognition accuracy is the key to success in the biometrics industry. Regardless if you look at fingerprint, iris, face, or other recognition technologies, most customers first ask for accuracy in terms of identification rate, false alarm rate, and similar measures. The evaluation tests initiated by several US Government agencies and performed by NIST are the most well-known and respected benchmarks in the industry and Cognitec have always been in the group of top performers in these tests since we first participated in 2002. Our R&D team is working hard to maintain this leading position.

Product performance like speed, scalability, reliability, and usability has also always been a top priority for our company. To give you an example: our product FaceVACS-DBScan can perform a million facial comparisons per second on a single CPU core which is unequaled in the industry. If you think of a drivers' license agency with tens of millions of photos to be checked, you will understand that this performance is essential to those customers. We understand that various face recognition products based on FaceVACS technology are available and that customers are provided with easy to use, flexible and customizable software for easy integration. Please tell us about:
- FaceVACS-DBScan with Examiner
- FaceVACS-PortraitAcquisition
- FaceVACS-VideoScan
- FaceVACS-SDK / Mobile

Juergen Pampus: You mentioned some very important aspects of all these products. Customization and easy integration is essential for our customers because in many cases, our products are integrated into an overall solution, e.g. a border management system or a passport issuance system. Therefore, flexible interfaces are an integral part of all our products.

As already mentioned, FaceVACS-DBScan is Cognitec's highly optimized software package for facial search in large image databases. A common problem is that the same person may have duplicate entries with different photos of the same face but under different names; our software can help to identify these duplicates and prevent ID fraud. The second important use case is the identification of suspects from crime scene photos or videos. Deployments of FaceVACS-DBScan include image databases of tens of millions of images, the largest actually being close to 100 million entries. Drivers' license agencies, passport, national ID, and visa offices, as well as law enforcement organizations are among Cognitec's customers.

FaceVACS-PortraitAcquisition simplifies taking portrait photographs for ID documents and delivers facial images of high quality according to international standards like ISO 19794-5. Passport issuance authorities around the world rely on this tool. This is the only facial quality assessment product that has been certified by the German Government.

FaceVACS-VideoScan automatically scans video streams, detects multiple faces and checks if the found faces match a watch list; in case of a match, operators are notified in real time. Applications include the identification of unwanted people at airports or railway stations, in sports stadiums, shopping malls or schools, but also the identification of high ranking customers in order to offer them special services.

FaceVACS-SDK is a development toolkit that delivers face recognition to a broad range of applications and allows using this innovative technology for new customer requirements. This toolkit is also available for mobile devices. Systems integrators and software companies around the world are using this powerful tool to develop new products. Cognitec's customer list in truly impressive and includes best-of-breed companies such as 3M, Accenture, Adobe, De La Rue, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, and Unisys just to name a few. Congratulations also on the recent announcement regarding the selection of Cognitec by Nero as the face recognition provider for Nero Kwik Media. Are there any particular success stories you would like to talk about?

Juergen Pampus: Adobe and Nero are good examples of software companies who have introduced face recognition applications into the consumer market, in this case for the purpose of sorting photos by faces. Non-government and non-security applications are becoming more and more important.

But let me mention another success story related to our video scanning technology. One of our partners in Canada has introduced video cameras in several stores of a large retail chain. These cameras provide input to our software which constantly scans the video for known shoplifters whose photos have been stored in a watch list database. Once identified, an alert is raised to the store manager. Another Canadian partner has deployed a similar solution in a number of casinos in Ontario where problem gamblers are automatically identified. At this challenging economic time, what are your most important target markets and what is your perspective on the market drivers for Cognitec solutions?

Juergen Pampus: The market segment of document ID's is the most important for Cognitec today and will remain very important for us in the coming years. Border control is closely related to that and is a fast growing segment; with ePassports beginning to be widely distributed, passport checks can now be automated in electronic gates using facial comparison.

Law enforcement agencies have only started to make use of face recognition technology to help them identify suspects from photos and videos. This market segment is another focus for Cognitec.

The fastest growing market segment is the whole range of video applications. From watch list identification (black list and white list) to measurement of people flow and age/gender profiles generated for business intelligence scenarios - face recognition technology will be part of a variety of such systems that make use of video data. We read the Cognitec Company Brochure with great interest. And, the Cognitec company video. Cognitec company video hosted by Alexander Haig provides a truly impressive testimonial from Mr. Ronald G. Arends, President and CEO of Canadian Bank Note Company. What other resources are available for end-users and integrators at

Juergen Pampus: We maintain a large set of material (technical specifications, white papers, customer reference lists, video clips, and more that helps our customers understand the value that our face recognition products provide in a large variety of application fields. What would you like potential new customers to know about Cognitec's customer service capabilities?

Juergen Pampus: Customer Service is an essential part of our offering! Our customers are giving us the feedback that our technical support provides fast response times and excellent assistance. Professional consulting, training, and on-site technical support complete our portfolio. Thanks again for joining us today, Juergen. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Juergen Pampus: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about Cognitec! Just let me add that face recognition is a technology that is useful in so many areas; we have only mentioned a few. I am sure that you will see a lot of new applications being announced in the near future.