Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


cruise ship (Shutterstock.com)

Facial recognition authenticates cruise ship passengers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is looking at the results of facial recognition technology used to authenticate cruise ship passengers as they disembark.

An ocean-going version of CBP's Biometric Exit program, the “Sea Re-entry” trial, used IDEMIA’s facial capture and recognition solution to verify that individuals disembarking Royal Caribbean Line (RCL) ships were the same ticketed passengers who boarded at the start of a cruise. The trial, which was conducted at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, N.J., and demonstrated high-quality, high-speed facial matching, also expedited passengers' Customs inspections, officials said.

IDEMIA is the new company name for MorphoTrust, which has developed several facial recognition solutions in the government space, including New York's pilot program that flags identity theft through analysis of Department of Motor Vehicles images.

"Facial recognition in particular is a non-intrusive way to easily and securely facilitate U.S. and non-U.S. citizens entering and exiting the country,” said Bob Eckel, president of IDEMIA North America. "The biometric solutions we are testing with RCL and CBP allow us to demonstrate the important technology that can be used in border management applications today in an efficient and safe manner."

CBP has been testing facial recognition technology at a number of airports, including Houston's William P. Hobby International, Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. It plans to have the technical capability to support biometric exit at the top 20 U.S. airports by early next year.

The agency also is working with JetBlue on a program that allows passengers exiting the country to have their pictures taken at a camera station in lieu of being issued a boarding pass. For land border crossings, CBP wants to use facial recognition technology to validate the identities of travelers entering and exiting the country without requiring occupants to leave their moving vehicle.

Editor's note: This article was changed Nov. 28 to clarify that IDEMIA is running the test, not CBP as previously stated.

Posted on Nov 14, 2017 at 6:32 AM0 comments


smart city

Smart city grant challenge

The Smart Cities Council is now accepting applications for next year’s Readiness Challenge Grant.

The challenge is open to cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities in Canada, Mexico and the United States that want to apply smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion and investment.

Each grant recipient will receive a year’s worth of free mentoring; a custom-designed, on-site Readiness Workshop; membership in the Smart Cities Leadership Circle; and other technology products and services.

Previous winning proposals included GIS initiatives, smart utilities, mobility and transportation improvements.

The simple process of applying can get a city moving toward a comprehensive technology plan,  Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst said.

“Our past entrants confirm there’s plenty to gain by filling out the application,” Berst said. “This process alone has helped many communities move their smart city efforts into the fast lane.”

Applications are due Dec. 15, and winners will be announced Jan. 23, 2018.

Posted on Oct 27, 2017 at 1:55 PM0 comments


CIO (Panchenko Vladimir/Shutterstock.com)

OPM CIO heads to Michigan

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that  Office of Personnel Management CIO David DeVries will become the state’s new CIO and director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Snyder called DeVries an excellent fit for the job because of his federal track record of boosting cybersecurity and modernizing outdated IT systems.

DeVries, a Michigan native, announced his intention to step down as OPM's CIO earlier this month. He has held the position since 2015, when he helped lead the agency's recovery from the devastating cyberattacks that resulted in the theft of sensitive information on more than 20 million former and current federal employees.

Before joining OPM, DeVries spent 35 years at the Defense Department, including several years as deputy CIO where he worked  to develop a single, enterprisewide IT architecture.

His appointment to the post of Michigan CIO is contingent on approval by the state senate.

Posted on Aug 31, 2017 at 1:37 PM0 comments


library books (carballo/shutterstock.com)

San Diego libraries install self-checkout kiosks

The San Diego Public Library has just completed a year-long upgrade to its circulation system that will allow patrons to check out books without assistance from staff.

To prepare for the new check-out system, library staff tagged approximately 2.6 million circulating materials across 36 branches with new radio frequency identification (RFID) microchips, replacing the barcodes previously used to catalog and track items. New security gates were also installed in several libraries.

The self-check machines offer services in 27 languages, and a credit-card payment feature will allow patrons to pay overdue fines directly at the machines.

“Our main objective is to enhance our customer service,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “The self-check machines are simple to use and allow our staff to focus more time on helping patrons with library materials or developing new, innovative programs to serve our diverse communities.”

On average, libraries have reported a higher than 80 percent patron usage rate with the new system, city officials said.

In the past year, nearly 7 million people visited the San Diego Public Library, an increase of more than 20 percent in five years.

Posted on Aug 16, 2017 at 1:50 PM0 comments


PTSD Coach app (VA)

VA plans refresh of PTSD apps

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to update its suite of mobile apps that help veterans address posttraumatic stress disorder.

Over the last six years, the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has developed 23 native, publically available apps for veterans and their families, including PTSD Coach, Mindfulness Coach and Stay Quit Coach. The apps can help with understanding PTSD and related problems, tracking improvement over time, obtaining support and resources and managing symptoms using a variety of tools.

To ensure the apps can support scientific research and respond to the needs of veterans, VA providers, and other stakeholders, the center wants to update the apps to improve their usability, efficacy and implementation. 

According to a Aug. 7 request for information, the VA is looking for a contractor to provide coding and user interface designs for any of the existing native mobile apps for the iOS and Android platforms. The amount and type of modifications will vary widely on a per-project basis, the center said, with changes ranging from ad hoc minor text edits to comprehensive user interface revisions.

Responses are due Aug. 11. Read the full RFI here.

Posted on Aug 08, 2017 at 3:42 PM0 comments