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Unisys is the top integrator in Canada

SP&T News is pleased to announce that our editorial advisory board experts have selected Unisys Canada as Canada’s Security Systems Integrator of the Year.



August 15, 2007
By Craig Pearson

Unisys was nominated for a
six-month, $835,000 field trial announced in July 2006 of biometric fingerprint
and facial recognition technology for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for
processing temporary resident visa applications for students, workers and
visitors and refugee claimants. Approximately 20,000 immigrants and refugees
participated in the field trial.

The field trial involved
processing biometrics information in several ways. Temporary resident
visa-issuing offices at the Seattle and Hong Kong missions captured biometric fingerprint and
photo data of visa applicants. This information was then forwarded to a central
database at CIC national headquarters.

Also as part of the trial,
ports of entry at Vancouver International Airport,
Douglas and Pacific Highway B.C. land border
crossings verified photo biometrics data and captured fingerprint data on
participants and designated refugee intake centres collected biometric data.
Finally, CIC headquarters evaluated biometric matching of facial recognition
and fingerprinting for quality and accuracy by forensics experts.

Technology integrated into
the system included the Unisys Enterprise Server, fingerprint scanners, bar
code readers and printers, AIT passport readers, Visa printer and CIC enrolment
and match review software. Unisys partnered with San Diego, Calif.-based
Imageware Systems for the project.

“One of Citizenship and
Immigration Canada’s roles is to improve the security of Canada,” states
the submission. “CIC is considering using biometrics for people planning to
immigrate or be temporary residents in our country. The six-month field trial
was undertaken to assess the impact of facial recognition and fingerprint
technologies on CIC, CBSA and temporary residents. The field trial will also
help CIC assess the merits of making significant technology investments to
gather and verify biometric data at visa offices and ports of entry.”

“By far and away it was an
easy choice,” says SP&T News
editorial advisory board member Peter Garnham of PG Security Associates in Brampton. “A well-written
narrative of a project and how they were able to lead the integration of
different products with foreign equipment and make it all work from different
parts of the world.”

Fellow board member Ron
Jagmohan, national technical manager for Honeywell Security and Custom
Electronics in Woodbridge, Ont. cites four factors that determined his
decision: Canadian content; the global reach of the project; new technologies
employed, particularly biometrics and RFID, and the knowledge and expertise of
the company involved. “It is very evident from the scope of this project that
it requires a significant understanding of new and existing technologies to be
able to pull it all together.”

Unisys Canada, also recently announced that it has been
signed a contract to design a biometric access control system for Canada’s Port of Halifax
and its 4,000 workers. Transport Canada and the port will fund the
project.

“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,” says Gord Helm, manager, port security and
marine operations, Halifax Port Authority. “The port and the Canadian
government support this particular biometric technology.”

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 Security Systems Integrator of the Year competition, which is sponsored by Anixter Canada, was launched in early January with a deadline for submissions on May 31. Judging of the nominations was done by SP&T News’  editorial advisory board.