A second salvo heralding the era of affordable fingerprint recognition security will be fired later this month, with a different approach than Compaq's endorsement of the technology earlier this week.
Digital Persona, a two year old Silicon Valley start-up, will have the first release of its U.are.U Sensor product line ready to ship around July 20. Software delays have held back Digital Persona's launch after U.are.U won awards at last November's Comdex. In the meantime the company received an unspecified investment from chip giant Intel.
Nancy Van Natta, the company's vice president of corporate marketing, said Digital Persona's solution differs from Compaq's because the fingerprint is stored at the desktop and the file is not held on a central database.
"We feel that individuals need to be in charge of their own privacy without creating a nightmare for the IT department," said Van Natta.
Digital Persona, founded by scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CalTech, received the investment from Intel to help incorporate biometrics into the Common Data Security Architecture specification, a security standard from Intel for developing applications for secure e-commerce and Internet transactions.
Van Natta said there was no conflict between proponents of CDSA and BioAPI, the standard supported by Compaq and Microsoft. "We hope the different API approaches jell into a robust API eventually,' she said.
Digital Person will begin a multi-pronged approach to spur the adoption of its technology later this month. It is already selling to PC makers, will have a direct sales force approaching large corporates and will also advertise directly to home users because it believes that is a big potentiaL market.
The company believes the product could also give Webmasters the ability to use fingerprint recognition security to control access to Web sites.
The hardware is about the size of a mouse, uses USB port technology and will cost between $99 and $149. The company is also planning software development kits for integrating the U.are.U Fingerprint Recognition System into local and distributed applications running under Windows 95/98 and Windows NT.
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