The Port of Halifax will use vascular biometrics to identify and authenticate employees.

So what do St. Anthony’s and the Port of Halifax have in common?

It’s the need to monitor and protect arrivals.

St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, Colo., opened in 2005, bringing full-service obstetrics to Summit County for the first time. The hospital’s new maternity unit (The Birth Place) provides a full range of care options in a setting designed to foster a pleasant and safe birthing experience. Summit leadership called on high-tech security to ensure The Birth Place provided a completely secure environment for growing families.

The Port of Halifax is the only one on the east coast deep enough to accommodate fully laden, post-Panamax vessels. This year, the port is expected to handle 1,800 vessels and generate more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and $670 million CDN in employment income. So the Halifax Port Authority commissioned the credentialing and access control database system in compliance with Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Act and corresponding regulations.


So it’s no surprise that both are focused on the business need to security, monitor and track arrivals.

With patient safety leading the hospital’s priorities, Summit’s chief objective was to meet the standards for infant abduction prevention and safety as required by accrediting agencies such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Additionally, Summit leadership wanted to maximize the lifespan of its existing security infrastructure and create efficiencies by integrating several disparate software systems into one, simple-to-use system. In order to successfully implement best practices, meet regulatory compliance standards, increase operational efficiencies and minimize additional capital expenses, Integral Technologies created a customized security solution for Summit’s new maternity unit.

Summit selected the technology to protect the safety of its smallest patients. “We chose it because of the flexible and adaptive security system designed specifically to fit our unique needs,” said Summit Facility Manager Jerry McFarland. “It was important for us to have a long-term solution for patient safety as well as a monitoring system that would streamline our internal operations.”

Several of Summit’s security challenges were overcome by the installation of the Intelli-M Electronic Access Control (EAC) and DigitalSENTRY video surveillance management systems. Fire egress paths and infant abduction protection would have pushed the limits of any traditional EAC system. However, the access system, with its hybrid design and Power over Ethernet capabilities, allowed the integrator to successfully assimilate several systems including: a state-of-the-art infant abduction prevention system; electronic delayed egress door hardware; a video surveillance system; nurse call system; remote door release hardware; and a wireless paging system.


The video surveillance management system was installed to monitor all critical areas of the facility allowing security personnel to access both live and recorded video from any authorized, networked computer. With access control and video surveillance fully integrated, security personnel are able to easily track, record and analyze access into any secure area of the maternity unit with both electronic and visual verification of all events.

“Our maternity unit is now equipped with unparalleled infant security and our staff has experienced increased productivity as a result of the unified system,” McFarland stated. Installers configured a total of 36 doors with new access readers integrated with 24 legacy units. In addition, two 32-channel network video recorders were installed to complete the solution.

The design incorporated one of the world’s fastest-selling infant protection systems that utilizes radio frequency technology to identify, locate and protect its patients. This integrated system created one visual and logical audit trail that tracks and records the movement of infants within the unit, and sends out alarms when necessary. With the Integral solution, Summit is now equipped with a single, user-friendly system resulting in increased security, improved efficiency and overall budgetary savings.

At the Port of Halifax, Unisys Corporation will use innovative vascular technology to identify port workers under a new contract with the port.

At its heart is a biometric credentialing and access control database system (CACDS) for approximately 4,000 of its port workers. Transport Canada and the port will fund the pilot project, scheduled for completion next month.

The Halifax Port Authority commissioned the credentialing and access control database system in compliance with Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Act and corresponding regulations.


The systems integrator will integrate vascular scanning technology to identify port workers as part of the CACDS system. An infrared scan of the back of the cardholder’s hand will be embedded in a smart card, which also will include the holder’s photograph. This vascular image, which is recognized by a non-invasive infrared sensor, will be used to identify the card holder when he or she presents the card and places the back of his/her hand in the scanner.

Verification is instantaneous and is achieved when the blood flow pattern of the holder’s hand matches the pattern of the scan stored on the card.

“This is in compliance with the Marine Transportation Security Regulation requirement to authenticate a card holder as being the card owner, which then grants access to restricted areas and facilities,” said Gord Helm, manager, port security and marine operations, Halifax Port Authority. “The port and the Canadian government support this particular biometric technology.”

Unisys will design and develop the secure database containing the names of participating port workers. The port’s access control system will manage multi-level access control to permit entry to various secure facilities only to those individuals with proper clearances and approved access. The system would deny access to those who do not have appropriate credentials. The biometric is stored only on the individual card, not in the database, eliminating the possibility of the file being stolen or corrupted.


Like St. Anthony’s infant abduction system, the Halifax system also controls exits. Workers must use the card and verify their identity when they leave an area into which the card granted them access. In an emergency situation, authorized individuals can override this requirement so as not to impede evacuation processes.

The CACDS, based on open architecture, and its accompanying smart card have the ability to incorporate and layer additional biometrics and/or integrate with other transportation security systems not currently supporting vascular imaging. Scalability provides for future integration of emerging technology requirements as well.

“Other Canadian ports have used biometrics for access control but none other than Halifax has deployed a system as scalable as the CACDS. Because of its adaptability, sturdiness and open framework, we see it as the perfect tool to drive security standards for Transport Canada,” said Bob Binns, president, Unisys Canada.

The access control solution enabled by CACDS is compliant with Transport Canada’s specifications/requirements. The scanner enclosures are environmentally sturdy, in that the scanner will work in 100 percent humidity and also at minus 50 degrees Centigrade. The system is not port-specific and can be tailored for use anywhere that access controls are necessary.

Partners on the Halifax CACDS project bring to bear specific expertise that enable the integration of the newest and most promising biometric technologies for a complete security solution:

  • Identica, a manufacturer and supplier of unique biometric identification solutions, will provide the hand vascular screening units;
  • ImmediaC, a Halifax-based developer of Web-enabled databases, will ensure that the new system is fully integrated with the port’s existing credentialing reservation system;
  • SimplexGrinnell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco International, is providing security installation and deployment expertise;
  • OnGuard software from Lenel Systems International forms the backbone of the credentialing system; and
  • xwave, one of Atlantic Canada’s largest information technology companies, will conduct software engineering and testing.

SIDEBAR: Infant Abductions

They are rare, but when they happen, the tragic event draws international coverage and long-term concern.

Within the United States annually, approximately 15 to 20 infants will be abducted by non-family members. Many of these abductions will occur at hospitals. To avoid such occurrences, many hospitals address the issue of infant safety in the obstetrics and pediatric wards of their facilities, installing alarm systems, security video and four-band identification systems. Although organizations are well prepared for abductions in these areas, other departments, such as the emergency department (ED), may not receive as much focused attention.

The average hospital ward is a bustling environment with patients and staff coming and going at all hours of the day.