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  1. Science and Technology Directorate
  2. News Room
  3. News Release: S&T Announces Third Biometric Technology Rally

News Release: DHS S&T Announces Third Biometric Technology Rally

Release Date: March 2, 2020

S&T Public Affairs, 202-254-2385

Washington– The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is calling for submissions to the 2020 Biometric Technology Rally (Rally). Started in 2018, the Rally challenges industry to deliver fast, accurate, and easy-to-use biometric recognition capabilities to improve security and user facilitation of checkpoint processing.

Building on high throughput biometric technology capabilities demonstrated by industry over the last two years, the 2020 Rally will now focus on the technical challenge of reliably identifying small, free-flowing groups of individuals in crowded environments, like airports or ports of entry.

DHS S&T is calling for industry to submit applications to participate in the 2020 Rally, to be held at the Maryland Test Facility (MdTF) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, later this fall. Testing will be performed in controlled scenarios relevant to DHS operations. Providers of face and multi-modal biometric acquisition systems, as well as providers of biometric matching algorithms, are encouraged to participate.

“Past rallies were limited to testing technologies using individuals one at a time to help industry identify and address the challenges of processing people in high-throughput use cases,” said Arun Vemury, Director of DHS S&T’s Biometric and Identity Technology Center. “Now it’s time to take the training wheels off and see how well these systems deal with more realistic conditions—identifying groups of people that opt-in to using the system, while avoiding bystanders in a crowded environment who have not opted-in. We believe that this structured scenario will challenge the biometrics industry to continuously innovate for the benefit of travelers and DHS stakeholders.”

The 2020 Rally will consist of an initial individual processing phase as well as an advanced group-processing phase. Technology providers will have to demonstrate strong performance in the individual processing phase to qualify for the group-processing phase.  As in 2019, data collected during scenario testing will be used to assess the performance and interoperability of matching algorithms.

Technology providers qualifying for the group-processing phase will participate in a Stakeholder Demonstration Day to showcase their capabilities to government and private sector stakeholders. Past events included representatives from more than 30 organizations, including DHS, the Department of Defense, Department of State, National Institute of Standards and Technology, General Services Administration, international government partners, the aviation industry, and other critical infrastructure stakeholders.

DHS will use the results of the 2020 Rally to inform planning activities, provide feedback to industry participants to accelerate and improve product capabilities, and guide researchers to enable the development of next generation capabilities.

To be considered for participation, interested organizations must submit applications no later than April 30, 2020. Detailed application instructions for both acquisition and matching system providers will be posted at the Maryland Test Facility website and discussed at the Connect:ID 2020 and a DHS S&T webinar in March 2020.                                              


Last Updated: 03/02/2020
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