Network Computing Devices Inc. has added smart card connectivity to its network computers.

Smart card readers from any supplier can be attached to the company's Explora or HMX serial ports, allowing the network computer to read and transfer data encoded on smart cards.

Network Computing Devices' standard network computers and WinCenter Pro multiuser Windows NT server software will incorporate the technology.

The company demonstrated a user-authentication application, using Gemplus card readers, at the June 2-5 Comdex show in Atlanta.

"Network computers will be a significant desktop device," said Lorraine Hariton, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Network Computing Devices, "and we believe smart cards will be a key addition to desktop technology."

"One of the features of network computers is to have universal access from any location," she said. "NC technology will soon be as ubiquitous as the telephone at a kiosk device and at corporations. Smart cards will provide secure access into them."

For electronic commerce, Ms. Hariton added, network computers "give access to the Internet and are a natural fit for authentication."

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