By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-11-19 Print this article Print


Iris recognition security is not meant for the masses—or is it? Panasonics $200 Authenticam brings fast, advanced biometrics to a new audience. The Authenticam includes I/O Softwares SecureSuite, which enables users to store passwords, lock applications and fill in passwords using their eyes as the authentication mechanism. However, not many users will need this level of protection on their workstation.

SHORT-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // Biometric security methods in general are new, and the market is small. The Authenticam shows that advanced security can be implemented inexpensively, although the impact in the near future will be confined to a few departments within corporations and some experimental consumers.

LONG-TERM BUSINESS IMPACT // The outlook is good for biometrics. As corporations tighten security, iris recognition—one of the most accurate kinds of biometric security—should take a healthy chunk of the market over the next three to five years. Iris recognition will, nevertheless, take a secondary role to the more pervasive fingerprint scanning solutions.

PROS: Easy to use and implement; inexpensive when installed on a desktop; camera doubles as a Web cam for videoconferencing; advanced security authentication features; fast response times; easy enrollment process.

CONS: SecureSuite tools could be more tightly integrated; SecureSession log-in manager doesnt work on all Web sites, including sites that use nontraditional log-in fields and those that use applets; cannot authenticate users across a network without third-party help; works only on Windows.

Panasonic Biometrics Group, a division of Panasonic Security & Digital Imaging Co., Secaucus, N.J.; (888) 880- 8474;

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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