TSA Plans New TWIC-Related Award for Aware

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to award Aware, Inc. [AWRE] a single source contract for biometric software in support of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, the agency says.

Under the contract Aware's software will be used to "generate, view, edit and print ANSI/NIST and FBI compliant fingerprint, mug shot and demographic data files and electronic transactions," TSA says in the Aug. 28 FedBizOpps. The work is nothing new for Massachusetts-based Aware, which has been supporting TWIC since the program's inception as a pilot project several years ago, Dave Benini, director of product marketing for Aware, tells TR2.

TSA says that its requirement for the software is urgent and that Aware is the only company that has this type of software that is operable with TWIC.

For Aware its work on TWIC is just another example of its presence on a slew of biometrics related programs at the federal, state and local levels. The company's software is typically used to enable fast fingerprint capture and then to create the proper data format so that files can be received by the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Aware began applying its biometric support software in 1992 when fingerprints files were first digitized, Benini says.

Aware's software is also used in the scanning and printing of cards and is used for automatic capture of facial images used in international e-Passports.

"Aware is under the hood in every [biometric-related] system," Benini says.

The company's primary customers are equipment vendors such as Cross Match Technologies and L-1 Identity Solutions [ID], large systems integrators such as EDS [EDS] and Lockheed Martin [LMT], and government agencies, Benini says.

Last year Aware posted $24.1 million in sales, a 54 percent increase over 2005. In the first six months of this year sales are up 12 percent to $12.2 million.

In addition to supporting the biometrics industry, Aware supports the telecommunications industry.

Benini believes the biometrics market is poised for long-term, sustainable growth, driven by both the government and emerging commercial applications, particularly for access and logical control. He doesn't expect a "hockey stick" like pattern to define growth in biometrics market but rather a more gradual but still steady upward trend in demand for products and systems.

Aware is also supplying its software to NASA under the HSPD-12 Personal Identification Verification (PIV) smart card program for enrollment and data management. Benini says the requirements that were developed for biometrics type firms under HSPD-12 will help drive the growth in both the government and commercial markets.

"The PIV model will repeat itself," Benini says. This will manifest itself in additional access control programs and projects, including efforts like the First Responder Authentication Cards, he says.