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Kenya’s Little, Microsoft partner to introduce facial recognition

Kenya’s Little, Microsoft partner to introduce facial recognition

Kenyan cab hailing service, Little  has partnered with Microsoft to safeguard both driver and rider peace through integrating a driver online verification feature on its app, using face recognition technology provided by Microsoft Cognitive Face API.

As reported by CIO East Africa, to access the security feature, drivers can visit Little’s Web platform where they will be prompted to take a selfie “which is then compared to images on Little’s records. This ensures that riders on this platform have improved peace of mind while using the service, as it eliminates the opportunity for non-registered drivers to pose as Little drivers and pick up unsuspecting customers.”

According to techweez, Little was introduced in Kenya about a year ago to tap into the lucrative modern taxi business, often associated with Uber.

CIO reports that Little’s app has since received over 200 000 downloads, with close to 2000 drivers using the service.

“Microsoft Cognitive Face API is part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, which helps ensure the driver using the app matches the account on file,” reports CIO.

Kamal Budhabhatti, chairman of Little says the company is competing with some of the biggest companies in the world. “We just cannot compete with these companies from a capital scale. The only way we can compete is through ensuring that we innovate. That is why we piloted the security feature at the beginning of July with 100 of our drivers. Following a successful launch, we are now expanding and rolling it out to the rest of our drivers.”

Microsoft Cognitive API, the technology behind the security solution, is a product of Microsoft’s cloud-based offering, Azure. Using advanced face algorithms, it has the ability to detect human faces, compare these to similar ones and organise images into groups based on similarity.

‘Face verification’, determines the likelihood that two faces belong to the same individual. The API technology then provides a confidence score based on the likelihood.

“Little is one of the most exciting companies in Kenya at the moment and their commitment to security, innovation and productivity is one of the main reasons why we chose to partner with them,” says Kunle Awosika, Small, Medium and Corporate Lead, Microsoft Africa.

According to CIO, this technology also protects the drivers from being victims of fraud. “Their accounts cannot be compromised because only they can access them. This adds to a long list of reasons why drivers would want to sign up with Little.


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