Saflink expands channel, card reader technology

Saflink aims to increase the market breadth for its line of biometric smart card readers, which the company recently expanded to support older proximity-card technology.

The company’s SureAccess smart card readers are designed to meet such government requirements as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential and Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, according to Saflink. Johnson Controls is the company’s primary reseller. But Saflink is holding discussions with “the channels of other major players in the physical access space,” said Mike Grady, Saflink’s director of business development.

Those players include Lenel Systems, a unit of United Technologies that provides integrated security systems. Saflink plans to offer SureAccess through Lenel’s network of value-added resellers.

Saflink also intends to have SureAccess reviewed for inclusion on the General Services Administration’s list of FIPS-201 compliant products, said Walter Hamilton, a vice president at Saflink and general manager of the company’s biometric group.

Grady said Saflink will probably offer its reader on the GSA schedule through a partner. He said Johnson Controls already has a GSA schedule.

Earlier this week, Saflink announced that SureAccess now reads proximity cards in addition to biometric smart cards. A proximity card transmits an identification number when it is within range of a reader. Hamilton said biometric smart cards provide “a much higher assurance capability” than proximity cards. A smart card’s microprocessor stores cardholder identity information and biometric data. Smart card chips also process security algorithms for authenticating and encrypting electronic transactions.

Grady said organizations may need several months to migrate thousands of people from proximity to smart cards. He said SureAccess’ ability to read both kinds of cards lets customers use proximity cards while they transition to biometric smart cards.

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