The Pipeline

10 prints are better than one
When the federal government issues a challenge, you can bet it’s more complex than a game of hopscotch.

That was the case when a joint federal user group issued the Government’s Challenge to Industry in September 2005. The group included the Homeland Security Department, the FBI, the State Department, the Defense Department’s Defense Biometrics Fusion Center, the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The challenge essentially asked vendors to come up with smaller, faster and more mobile biometric devices that can capture all 10 of a person’s fingerprints. “The concept was to move away from capturing two fingers to capturing 10 fingers at [U.S.] borders,” said Tom Buss, senior vice president of engineering and operations at Cross Match Technologies.

Buss explained that the federal user group wanted a 10-finger capture device that would use the same amount of space and take the same amount of time to capture prints as a two-finger capture device. Cross Match Technologies met that challenge, he said, with its new Guardian 10-print fingerprint scanner and accompanying software.

Guardian is designed to be faster, more compact and lighter than other forensic-quality 10-print fingerprint devices on the market today, Buss said. The FBI mandated that the entire capture and verification process should take no longer than 15 seconds, and Guardian does it in 10, he said.

The software is standardized so different agencies and installations can share information.

Another significant software feature is the Auto Capture capability. Normally an operator has to watch the capture process and determine whether each finger produces a usable image. With Auto Capture, the software determines the quality of the image, and the entire process is automated.

Palm gets a push
One of the big advantages of BlackBerries, made by Research in Motion, is their use of push technology to deliver e-mail to the devices. Push technology eliminates the necessity of synchronizing a mobile device with a computer because it delivers e-mail directly to the device in real time. You’re automatically synchronized with your corporate and personal e-mail accounts.

Palm is now giving RIM a run for its money with the introduction of push technology in its Treo 700w smart phone.

The news follows the surprise announcement of Palm’s partnership with its former rival, Microsoft. The Treo 700w is the first Palm device to run a Microsoft operating system, Windows Mobile 5.0.

It’s also the first Treo smart phone to offer high-speed wireless broadband service. It uses Verizon Wireless’ Evolution-Data Optimized network.

The push technology, which Palm calls Direct Push, is part of a free software upgrade package available to Treo 700w users. The package is called the Windows Mobile Messaging and Security Feature Pack.

Direct Push gives users automatic updates of their e-mail messages, calendar items, contacts and tasks. Administrators can deliver that information directly and immediately from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2.

Other features of the Windows Mobile Messaging and Security Feature Pack include over-the-air lookup of a company’s Exchange Global Address List, allowing employees to gain access to their colleagues’ e-mail addresses and contact information and adding security for systems administrators.

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