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March 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:01pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard Co today introduces the penultimate piece of its Praesidium security architecture with the ImagineCard smart cards, which were manufactured by smart card specialist Gemplus SA. Informix Software Corp produced a database to go with it. There are two configurations being supplied by HP: a corporate intranet and a web package. The corporate solution comprises an HP K class directory server, where the public keys are also held; the Gemplus card reading client software and readers; the Praesidium smart card administration server – an HP D class, Informix smart card database; Datacard card printer, and the smart cards themselves. The web package differ only on that it includes Netscape Enterprise server and Gemplus web server software, plus browsers on the client. Digital signatures are only used in the intranet version, not the web version, because HP doesn’t reckon companies are yet ready to farm out thousands of cards to their users when the technology is still largely untried on the general public. The lack of the two-factor digital signature technology also cuts the cost of each smart card to about $60 per user if user numbers are in the thousands at least – from about double that if digital signatures are required, which is the case with the corporate package, according to Feisal Mosleh, HP’s security and internet solutions marketing director. The corporate package comes in development and deployment forms. It is designed to be contained either within a corporate intranet – including initial corporate log-in procedures, or even getting in the front door of the building – to the extranet – the corporation and its trusted partners, a bit like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The development kit comes with 100 smart cards and the necessary software, whereas the full deployment package is for large numbers of cards, in the thousands at least, bringing the cost per user down to around $50 per head, according to Mosleh. The web architecture is not a web free-for-all just yet; it’s still meant to be used with pre-registered customers only, mainly because of the lack of digital signature support. Mosleh said he expected such support to arrive by next year. It is meant to span from the intranet out to consumer services like home banking and shopping, but without stored monetary values just yet. The piece of the Praesidium framework to be completed is the International Cryptography Framework (ICF) which needs more supporters in terms of countries and companies before its is released commercially (CI Nos 3,045, 3,3039). Companies including British Telecommunications Plc (BT), Cap Gemini Sogeti and German bank Gries & Heissel are testing the product internally. BT is using it to replace a paper-based employee expense claim system using the ImagineCard corporate solution. Cap Gemini is using the web product to enable small-to-medium business to deploy virtual intranets over the internet. The timetable for the rest of the smart card roll-out is as follows. The ImagineCard Corporate 1.0 and Web 1.0 starts shipping April. In the fall version 2.0 will include integration with HP Authentication Server, Virtual Vault server, ICF and the Single Sign-On (SSO) mechanism (CI No 3,087). A year from now, with ImagineCard 3.0 the corporate and web packages will merge, featuring both strong authentication and digital signature. Then, in the fall of 1998 ImagineCard 4.0 will feature stored value capabilities, that is buying things. HP will strike up partnerships to achieve this. Mondex International Ltd, controlled by MasterCard is one possibility, but its a long way off yet, and HP hasn’t made any decisions yet. Pricing for 100 smart cards will be roughly as follows. The Corporate development kit will cost $153,000; $129,000 buys the web development package. The corporate deployment package will go for $176,000, with the web deployment package costs $100,000. For 10,000 smart cards, the corporate package goes for around $1.3m and the web for $700,000. Once you get into 50,000 users, its $6m for the corporate bundle and half that for the web.

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