has created the Open Biometrics Initiative (OBI) for the advancement of biometrics technologies in the open source community.
The OBI is an open source project and forum managed by ImageWare, but available for inclusion by anyone participating in the open source community.
The first library to be released into the OBI is OpenEBTS, an application programming interface for the management of Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification (EBTS) data. EBTS is an open specification used by government agencies for the management of biometric data. The EBTS standard was created and is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and has been adopted globally as the way biometric data is managed between software applications. OpenEBTS allows developers to quickly and easily add EBTS functionality in their applications.
“The goal of the OBI sponsored by Imageware is to advance the current state of the art and product by releasing certain elements of ImageWare's technology as open source for closer collaboration with the public, private and academic sectors while still maintaining all of our other proprietary technology,” said Jim Miller, IWS Chairman and CEO. “ImageWare will gain access to the open source communities contributions to advance our technology faster and cheaper than we could achieve through internal resources. In addition, as our open source user community expands, the size of the potential market which can benefit from proprietary extensions to our open source technology also expands.”
“Open source is a logical choice for us to work with other research groups, vendors and government agencies using biometrics,” said David Harding, IWS CTO.” We want to facilitate the design and creation of new biometric technologies that currently are or will become industry standards.”
“There are a number of defined standards in the industry and the technologies required to support those standards are becoming commoditized. However, access to and implementation of such technologies can be cost prohibitive, which limits interoperability between products,” Harding said. “This is a serious problem facing not only the software development industry, but the biometrics community as a whole. Open source technologies that provide specific capabilities have been proven to advance standards and interoperability as well as give software developers the ability to create powerful products and solutions that are competitively priced.”
“With OpenEBTS, adding biometrics interoperability in software has never been easier or more cost effective,” Harding said. “The more software applications that incorporate the EBTS standard, the more options customers have in choosing the right technologies. It also helps vendors to create meaningful partnerships and product integrations. It is a win-win for everyone.”