In August this year, Hitachi established the Finger Vein Global Business Center within the Smart Identification Solutions Division in the Information & Telecommunication Systems Group. The center will coordinate global expansion efforts. In a subsequent step on November 1, Hitachi will establish a dedicated Finger Vein Authentication Business Center (tentative name) within four subsidiaries that function as regional headquarters in North America, Europe, China and Asia. Hitachi will provide finger vein authentication systems tailored to the social conditions and customer needs of these four regions, including Japan, by using optimum authentication equipment for each area.
Presently, Hitachi's finger vein authentication system business generates sales of several billions of yen, including related systems. However, through the global development of this business, Hitachi aspires for sales of 100 billion yen over the three-year period from fiscal 2006 (beginning April 1, 2006) through fiscal 2008.
There is now an increasing need for more sophisticated security systems in light of these circumstances. In domains as diverse as financial transaction using ATMs, cash cards and credit cards, IDs using passports and drivers' licenses, access control for important facilities and condominiums, and PCs and other information equipment requiring security, demand is rising rapidly for personal identification. Biometric authentication systems have attracted attention as a means of satisfying this demand, and more and more of these systems are being installed.
Fingerprints and iris patterns have been used for biometric authentication. However, with fingerprint certification, there is a high probability that fingerprints can be duplicated, while iris-based authentication requires bulky equipment. In contrast, personal authentication using finger vein patterns can be built into more compact systems and achieve a high degree of certification precision. For these reasons, finger vein authentication is attracting worldwide interest as a highly secure, cutting-edge security system.
Hitachi began researching and developing finger vein authentication technology in 1997, with its Central Research Laboratory at the forefront of these efforts. Hitachi now has a far larger number of patents than any other companies in the field of vein pattern biometric certification systems. Hitachi is actively promoting the application of this technology as a Japan-originated platform technology for safeguarding the ubiquitous information society.
Hitachi has launched products based on these state-of-the-art technologies, including personal authentication systems for ATMs (Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions, Corp.), door-access-control systems (Hitachi Engineering Co., Ltd.), and PC log on systems (Hitachi Engineering Co., Ltd., Hitachi Software Engineering Co., Ltd.). These products and systems have been adopted in a host of fields in Japan and overseas.