Wed, May 22, 2019 - Page 12 News List

CHT to market facial recognition tech

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:After adopting it for internal security use, the telecom firm’s biometric technology is now being tested by several companies in Taiwan

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chunghwa Telecom Co (CHT, 中華電信) yesterday said it plans to commercialize its facial recognition technology this year as it considers artificial intelligence (AI)-related technologies crucial to its transformation into a technology provider.

After adopting it for internal use, the technology is now being tested at several select companies in Taiwan, the nation’s biggest telecom said.

“AI plays a crucial role in our strategic transformation. It will bring quick wins,” Chunghwa Telecom chairman Sheih Chi-mau (謝繼茂) told a media briefing.

The company’s facial recognition technology is primarily used for security control and has been deployed in the company’s Internet data centers’ entrance systems to identify clients, Sheih said.

One of the companies testing the biometric technology is a private club, which uses it as a substitute for membership badges or key fob systems, Sheih said.

Chunghwa Telecom expects its long-term research-and-development investment into biometric technology to bear fruit as more projects are launched before the end of the year, he added.

The company has built a strong technology research foundation as Chunghwa Telecom Laboratories (中華電信研究院), established in 1996, has long been in charge of developing cutting-edge technologies and has spun off some of its research teams to create new technology companies.

Apart from facial recognition, the company’s AI technology has been applied to smart maintenance for operational predictive maintenance, which significantly reduces the number of workers needed for equipment maintenance, Sheih said.

AI technology has also been deployed to provide customer services for Chunghwa Telecom’s phone subscribers and control services for its Internet TV, or multimedia-on-demand, users.

Reducing manpower needs is important as the company is facing large-scale retirement applications in the next few years, Sheih said.

The company, which has 24,000 employees, expects to receive 5,000 retirement applications a year.

The adoption of AI technology should help trim its workforce by about 40 percent, the company estimated.

To enhance the company’s AI technology capabilities, it has nominated Ethan Tu (杜奕瑾) to be an independent board director.

Tu is the founder of PTT Bulletin Board System, the largest terminal-based bulletin board system in the nation and AI Lab.

The company is scheduled to elect new directors at its annual shareholders’ meeting on June 21.

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