Another Fresh Face In Biometric Mouse Market

20 September 2001
Of the nearly 200 companies that provide biometric solutions, few offer a one-to-many system to find matches for thumb prints or scans.

One of those select few has targeted online gaming as one industry that could benefit from its service.

IDynta Systems, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in biometric security systems ranging from door locks to computer services, said its newest device, the U-Match BioLink Mouse, could be the answer that a lot of online gaming operators have been searching for.

Company officials said the device provides operators with a cost-efficient way to add security to their systems as well as provide their customers with peace of mind.

Jerry Oreluk, chief executive of IDynta, said there has been some interest in the online gaming industry in the last couple of months since the firm started targeting it.

"Everybody that we have spoken to is pretty excited about the product," he said.

It's no secret that the slowing economy, even before the recent terrorist attacks on America, had a wide effect on e-commerce. Oreluk said a lot of people aren't familiar with IDynta, but that could change. The Chicago Housing Authority is testing the devices, as is General Electric. Tom Duffey, president of IDynta, predicts some major mainstream non-gaming companies will soon be on board.

"We believe that right now there is a huge need out there for this type of a product," he said. "It is one of those things that snowballs. We are very confident in the technology and once the name gets out there, which it will with some announcements in the next month or so, it will open a lot of doors for us."

Oreluk explained that the cost of the service for the gaming industry could be pared down if the entire system is implemented. The BioLink mouse retails for $119, and the cost of the server can be reduced depending on how many users are plugged into the system.

"If the gaming industry is to get involved with these, they could probably give them (the mice) away when people sign up with their casinos," he said.

Oreluk said the cost of the mice could be substantially lower if a large number of them are ordered at once by an online casino. IDynta can provide the server to accompany the mice, enabling casino operators to match a thumb scan with an unlimited number of stored prints.

"We can provide the online casinos with a server that will retain the customers' thumb print on file," Oreluk said. "In turn it will allow them access by pulling it each time they place a wager."

Even though Internet operators of all kinds are wading through tough times in the United States, Oreluk stresses that businesses can't afford to cut costs on security measures or they risk paying deeply in the long run.

"The applications that this can be used for are endless. They can have security for a single PC and use the server to have 10,000-plus users on one system," he said. "John Doe can log on to the system no matter where he is around the world with a biometric device and it will authorize him."

With nearly 200 companies offering various forms of biometric mice, Oreluk feels that his company offers a system that is more reliable than any other on the market.

"We have software that works and that is primary and differential," he said. "A lot of these guys have the software, but it is a crap shoot--sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. We have the technological staff that can come on and modify the system with each customer to make it work."

IDynta isn't worried about trying to make room for itself in what seems to be a crowded market. Oreluk said there are plenty of technology-related sectors where many companies can co-exist.

"When you look at the PC industry in general, how many computer manufactures are there?" he asked rhetorically. "How many floppy drive and CD drive manufactures are there? There are a lot of them. People will key in on certain features of a product and go for that product because of those features."

The one-to-many match provides more security for both players and customers, Duffey said. A common problem for online gaming operators is minors getting hold of their parents' credit card and racking up debts. The BioLink system aims to prevent that.

One of the cost-saving elements for the BioLink system, Duffey said, is the abolishment of passwords and their associated costs. Research groups such as Forrester speculate that the average cost associated with passwords is $250 per year.

Duffey said there is talk in many industry circles of infusing biometric devices into everyday life. Companies are developing devices that will be able to pick people out of a crowd at a sporting event, voting machines that can identify voters and even ATMs that can use thumbprints instead of debit cards.

"With the unfortunate problem we have with security right now, there is no doubt that this is the next big thing," he said. "Two years ago no one outside of the industry knew what biometrics even meant. Now it is almost part of the everyday vernacular, and anyone in the technology field knows what it means."

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