Perhaps no technology is improving as rapidly as automated face recognition.

For example, over the last four years Rank One has reduced the False Non-Match Rate of our algorithm by over 50x: Face recognition error rates on unconstrained imagery vs. time (3) Other face recognition vendors are similarly improving their accuracy at a rapid pace. However, despite these relentless improvements, many vendors are also denying their paying customers algorithm updates.

This issue involves the intent of maintenance fees for perpetual licenses. Some vendors contend that maintenance fees do not entitle a partner or customer to algorithm updates. However, the technology is improving too rapidly for this to be a contentious issue.

Vendors who license under perpetual terms need to provide a clear path to continued algorithm improvements. Public safety and national security infrastructure often rely on these same systems, and the tremendous enhancements to face recognition capabilities should be provided to active paying customers.

Unfortunately, it is often government and law enforcement agencies that are the most impacted by these unscrupulous licensing practices. Imagine pouring hundreds or thousands of hours into the procurement of a system and seat license for your agency or organization, finally selecting a vendor, and then six months later learning that the technology you licensed is already obsolete. Further, you are expected to continue paying annual support for your license without receiving access to the algorithm updates.

Evergreen licensing is the solution to this problem.

If you are purchasing a perpetual license, be sure to ask if the vendors supports “evergreen licensing.” The concept itself is quite simple:

Provided you have selected a vendor who is continuously improving, you can rest assured that your organization will remain at the cutting edge of facial recognition capabilities without having to regularly conduct new procurements or purchase new licenses.

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