Accenture Creating Smart Identification Center

Accenture [ACN] soon will establish a Smart Identity Center in Northern Virginia to showcase its capabilities in the emerging market for government and commercial identity management solutions as a way to enhance its customer outreach while furthering its commitment to end-to-end identity management solutions.

Whether it's a trusted traveler type of solution, HSPD-12, access to individual health records while guarding privacy, or something else, Accenture's new lab will be configured accordingly.

"It's not just a government thing, it's about moving a trusted identity to almost every field," Gayle Nix, executive director for Global Immigration, Justice and Public Safety at Accenture, tells TR2.

To differentiate itself from competitors, Accenture says it is approaching identity management solutions by understanding what the desired business outcomes are of potential customers.

In developing identity management capabilities "We were looking at not just access management or credentialing," Nix says. "One of the things we'll have coming out within the next month or so is a detailed point of view that really talks you through the business outcome objectives and how to achieve those business outcomes using the end-to-end approach."

As an example, Nix points to the federal government's requirements for biometrically-enabled smart cards for access control under the President Bush's HSPD-12 directive. "What are you going to do once you've got it [the card]," she asks. "If I work for the Department of Agriculture, does my pass only work there, or does it work over at the Department of Homeland Security when I walk in there? What level of security? So we're looking at the end things and how many ways can I use it [the card]. Again, a single trusted identity with multiple uses, and identifying the business objectives."

Accenture has already begun to set up a portion of its new technology demonstration center by installing the components of its recently completed miSense biometrics pilot program at London's Heathrow Airport. That project aimed to prove that biometrics--in this case fingerprints, iris scans and digital photo of a person's face--could improve passenger flow, improve security, and reduce costs to airlines, airports and border control authorities.

Accenture and its partners established enrollment centers where passengers could voluntarily sign up and submit their biometric and biographic data to be vetted by the United Kingdom Immigration Service for approval. Once approved, European Economic Area passengers flying Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong and Emirates flights to Dubai were issued their biometric-enabled cards to help speed their way through an airport all the way to their aircraft.

Unlike Registered Traveler in the U.S., which is designed to allow pre-approved passengers to quickly pass through checkpoint security, miSense took a more holistic view of passengers' airport experience. For example, passengers retrieved their boarding passes from a kiosk after a single fingerprint and their passport was scanned in order to verify the data stored on their miSense smart cards matched the biometric and passport data being supplied. At the checkpoint fingerprint and boarding pass scanners were used to again expedite passage and then again at an automated boarding gate for priority boarding.

Using the biometric and passport data when passing through the boarding gate also enabled verification of exit from the country.

Moreover, in miSense, approved passengers were treated as trusted travelers.

That's because the pilot also allowed fast track arrival at Hong Kong through the linking of the Immigration Services of Hong Kong and the U.K. As long as an approved passenger was part of the European Economic Area, regardless of their home country, that person didn't have to bother with typical customs procedures where they would have to display their passport and possibly undergo questioning upon arrival.

For Accenture miSense was the first major pilot demonstration of its identity management solution, allowing the company to prove its end-to-end architecture and solution, Nix says.

Accenture already has a large role in the U.S. government's use of identity management through the U.S. VISIT program. The company is also on the Raytheon [RTN] team competing for the U.K. e-Borders program and is a partner with one of the three teams that has been down selected by the U.S. General Services Administration for HSPD-12.

Whether Accenture goes for a prime or subcontracting role just depends on the opportunity, Nix says.

Despite the falling costs of identity management solutions, government spending is still an issue because large programs remain expensive, Nix says.

(Terror Response Technology Report -- 04/19/07)