The 18-month-old ImagineCard alliance has produced its first smart- card-based security products.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is unveiling the products, ImagineCard Corporate and ImagineCard Web, at the Internet World conference this week in Los Angeles.

The approach combines Hewlett-Packard computer, networking, and security technologies with cards manufactured by France's Gemplus and data base systems from Informix Inc. All are leaders in their respective fields.

ImagineCard Corporate is designed to provide strong authentication, privacy, and security of internal and business-to-business communications.

ImagineCard Web delivers a high degree of security with personalization, typically for consumers who pre-register for an Internet service. The Web product relies on Gemplus' GPK2000 card, the only one in mass production that accommodates RSA Data Security Inc.'s 512-bit digital signature.

"Smart cards are inherently portable and create a convenient user- certification solution that can be used anywhere, anytime," said Marc Lassus, chairman and chief executive officer of Gemplus. The "seamless integration" in the ImagineCard architecture will mean "faster, easier, and cost-effective deployment of large-scale applications."

As part of its Praesidium enterprise security framework, Hewlett-Packard is offering ImagineCard as a turnkey system, with developer and deployment kits.

Prices range from $100 to $250 per user, depending on the number of installations. Shipments are scheduled to begin April 1.

"ImagineCard can provide enough security to automate corporate cash- management services for banks, including large deposits and withdrawals and cash transfers," said Marie Giangrande, director of marketing for Hewlett- Packard's financial services business unit.

For example, merchants who need to make large cash deposits or withdrawals could be reliably identified with the smart card at an automated kiosk.

Ms. Giangrande added that the system can be applied to investment banking for the secure transfer of highly sensitive business information such as stock issues.

Among those testing the system, she said, are British Telecom in its employee expense reporting and Gries & Heissel Bankiers, a German financial institution, as a way to improve corporate customers' access to account information.

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