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In a move that could help IBM partners more successfully sell comprehensive identity and access management solutions, IBM and Fujitsu Frontech North America announced a deal this week to integrate Fujitsu’s palm vein biometric technology into IBM’s enterprise single-sign-on solution.

Far more accurate and less prone to false negatives and false positives than fingerprint biometrics, Fujitsu’s PalmSecure identifies users based on the unique pattern of veins contained within their palm. Unlike fingerprint technology, which requires touching a sometimes dubious surface, PalmSecure is contactless–users simply wave their hand underneath a sensor that emits infrared rays to take a reading of the veins based on how the hemoglobin contained within the blood interacts with these rays. The performance benchmarks by the International Biometrics Group (IBG) have shown the technology to work on par with iris scan biometrics, but at a much lower price. Fujitsu has gained considerable traction within a number of Asian markets over the last several years, as well as gaining clout within North American medical markets since it rolled out the technology here in 2007.

The new partnership with IBM offers the technology greater opportunity to expand to other verticals as channel partners and internal IBM salespeople try to help customers pair strong authentication with its successful with IBM Tivoli Access Manager for Single Sign-On.

"We’ve had a tremendous amount of success in healthcare here in the us with PalmSecure," says Jim Preasmyer, director of sales and business development for the Advanced Technology Group of Fujitsu Frontech of North America. "Partnering with a technology giant and leader in the single sign on market will absolutely help us continue the proliferation of palm secure. The reason this works is that they key to single sign on is replacing multiple passwords with one highly complicated password, essentially, that nobody can remember anyway. By scanning the palm you don’t have to remember anything."

E.K. Koh, program director for single sign-on for IBM Tivoli software, says the partnership with Fujitsu was borne out of market demand for more strong authentication options to pair up with Tivoli.

"We’re getting a very clear signal from our market base that now that they have single sign on they have the password management under control, but they do want to protect or better protect their single passwords and the best way to do that is to issue some sort of second factor," he says. "we thought the Fujitsu offering is fairly unique, and it’s not just another fingerprint solution and the data that they’ve shown us with respect to the performance of their technology is pretty  good and has offered some advantages at a different price point than fingerprint."

As a certified Ready for Tivoli product, PalmSecure LOGONDIRECTOR is available to the entire IBM channel for resale with Tivoli Access Manager for Single Sign-On.

"This is a certified solution, which means that our resellers can actually recommend it ot our customers and so can our business partners," Koh says. "In that case then the customer can buy the entire solution from one partner."