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Biometric vascular recognition system for Canadian port.

Unisys : 13 August, 2007  (Application Story)
Staff access to the Canadian port of Halifax will be controlled using Unisys vascular recognition technology using highly secure biometric recognition technology to comply with strict transport infrastructure admission regulations.
Unisys will use innovative vascular technology to identify port workers under a new contract with the Port of Halifax.

Unisys Canada has announced that the port has awarded the company a contract to develop and manage a biometric credentialing and access control database system (CACDS) for approximately 4,000 of its port workers. Transport Canada and the port will fund the pilot project, scheduled for completion Nov 30.

The Halifax Port Authority commissioned the credentialing and access control database system in compliance with Transport Canada's Marine Transportation Security Act and corresponding regulations.

The Port of Halifax is the only one on the east coast deep enough to accommodate fully laden, post-Panamax vessels. This year, the port is expected to handle 1,800 vessels and generate more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and $670 million CDN in employment income.

Unisys will integrate vascular scanning technology to identify port workers as part of the CACDS system. An infrared scan of the back of the cardholder's hand will be embedded in a smart card, which also will include the holder's photograph. This vascular image, which is recognized by a non-invasive infrared sensor, will be used to identify the card holder when he or she presents the card and places the back of his/her hand in the scanner.

Verification is instantaneous and is achieved when the blood flow pattern of the holder's hand matches the pattern of the scan stored on the card.

'This is in compliance with the Marine Transportation Security Regulation requirement to authenticate a card holder as being the card owner, which then grants access to restricted areas and facilities,' said Gord Helm, manager, port security and marine operations, Halifax Port Authority.

'The port and the Canadian government support this particular biometric technology,' Mr Helm added.

Unisys will design and develop the secure database containing the names of participating port workers. The port's access control system will manage multi-level access control to permit entry to various secure facilities only to those individuals with proper clearances and approved access. The system would deny access to those who do not have appropriate credentials. The biometric is stored only on the individual card, not in the database, eliminating the possibility of the file being stolen or corrupted.

The system also controls exits. Workers must use the card and verify their identity when they leave an area into which the card granted them access. In an emergency situation, authorized individuals can override this requirement so as not to impede evacuation processes.

The CACDS, based on open architecture, and its accompanying smart card have the ability to incorporate and layer additional biometrics and/or integrate with other transportation security systems not currently supporting vascular imaging. Scalability provides for future integration of emerging technology requirements as well.

'Other Canadian ports have used biometrics for access control but none other than Halifax has deployed a system as scalable as the CACDS. Because of its adaptability, sturdiness and open framework, we see it as the perfect tool to drive security standards for Transport Canada,' said Bob Binns, president, Unisys Canada.

The access control solution enabled by CACDS is compliant with Transport Canada's specifications/requirements. The scanner enclosures are environmentally sturdy, in that the scanner will work in 100 percent humidity and also at minus 50 degrees Centigrade. The system is not port-specific and can be tailored for use anywhere that access controls are necessary.

'The Halifax Port Authority challenged industry to come up with a highly adaptable solution to the Marine Transportation Security Environment. Unisys won the year-long competition with a solution that provides significant flexibility to evolve with the port's inter-modal community and the frequently changing environment of the supply chain,' Helm said.

Unisys partners on the CACDS project bring to bear specific expertise that enable the integration of the newest and most promising biometric technologies for a complete security solution:.

* Identica, a manufacturer and supplier of unique biometric identification solutions, will provide the hand vascular screening units.
* ImmediaC, a Halifax-based developer of Web-enabled databases, will ensure that the new system is fully integrated with the port's existing credentialing reservation system.
* SimplexGrinnell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco International, is providing security installation and deployment expertise, as well as OnGuard software, from Canadian company Lenel Systems International Inc. OnGuard forms the backbone of the credentialing system.
* xwave, one of Atlantic Canada's largest information technology companies, will conduct software engineering and testing.
The project with the Port of Halifax continues Unisys momentum in providing secure business operations for borders and ports:.
* This is Unisys Canada's second transport security-related biometric engagement in less than a year. In July 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) awarded the company a six-month biometrics field trial to test the impact of using two biometric identifiers - finger print and facial recognition - on CIC operations. Unisys and CIC are tabulating and analyzing the results.
* Unisys announced in October that it would begin work on the first phase of the US Department of Homeland Security's Secure Border Initiative effort, SBInet, as part of the Boeing-led team that was awarded the contract.
* And, last summer, Unisys announced that its Australian subsidiary had signed a contract with the Australia Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs to provide an identity solution initially at detention centres and, ultimately, to other business processes such as the overseas refugee and humanitarian caseload, and at Australian airports.
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