Intel rolling out facial recognition tech at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

(Image credit:

Intel is set to roll out a large-scale facial recognition technology system at next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The tech giant has unveiled details of its work with NEC that will see the latter's NeoFace technology deployed across the Japanese capital in time for next year's summer sporting extravaganza.

The two companies will be teaming up on a "large-scale face recognition system" that will look to speed up the time it takes for athletes, coaches, volunteers and media to be processed through security checkpoints.

Tokyo 2020

Intel says that will be used to ensure a smooth and secure identification process for the 300,000 or so accredited people attendees at Tokyo 2020, cutting down possible ID fraud and reducing long wait times for ID checks.

"This is a first," said Rick Echevarria, general manager of Intel’s Olympics Program, "this is the first time that facial recognitiontechnology is going to be used for this purpose at the Olympic Games."

NEC will be deploying "hundreds" of systems powered by Intel Core i5 processors at gates throughout the games, Echevarria aded, including the Athletes Village in Tokyo.

Intel didn't go into much more details about exactly how NeoFace will work, and did not clarify where the data will be stored - but accredited attendees will still have to wear traditional lanyards to prove their identity.

“Intel is focused on delivering world-class technology integrations at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to improve the experience for athletes, attendees, viewers and Games staff while also demonstrating how technology can transform businesses. We are excited to make the first of a series of announcements about our role in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Echevarria noted. 

“The Winter Games in PyeongChang represented our first collaboration with the IOC and we look forward to extending and deepening that relationship in the years ahead.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.