ID cards into business market

Published 27 September 2006

More and more companies producing access control systems are receiving FIPS 201 compliance certification from the government, leading to a steady decline in the cost of such products; soon, private sector companies, not only government agencies and contractors who work with them, will adopt FIPS 201-compliant products

There can be little doubt that the HSPD-12 roll-out campaign has been marked by waste and delay; such is the case with any widespread government technological initiative. Corporate America has been watching the process carefully, and, rather than being disgusted by the gross inefficiencies, is carefully watching to learn how it might do something similar in the future — once all the kinks have already been worked out on the taxpayer’s dime, of course. Most interesting of all, experts say, are the nonproprietary, interoperable systems developed to comply with the FIPS 201 standard. “I think we’ll all benefit from the work,” said Gary Klinefelter, chairman of the Open Security Exchange, a trade group created in 2003 by physical and information security vendors. “Corporate America will be able to use those same products.”

With so many companies having rushed to develop FIPS 201-compliant products, prices are already begining to fall. Once this happens, and technology companies refocus their brands on the business sector, experts expect Fortune 500-size companies to begin upgrading their own ID verification systems. They also see a cross-pollenation effect: as FIPS 201-compliant cards become standard across the federal government, private industry such as banks will want to be able to accept the cards as secure ID as well. “You can be sure Wal-Mart is going to start taking them to fill prescriptions and Bank of America will use them to open accounts,” says Steve Hunt of 4A International. When that happens, “you can be sure that every business on the planet is going to use the cards as identification.”

-read more in Sarah Scalet’s report