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Irvine Outfit Syncs Smart Phones to Access Readers

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Irvine-based HID Global Corp. recently concluded pilot projects with Netflix Inc. and Good Technology Inc. that tested its near-field communication technology using smartphones.

It’s a potential new line of business for HID, which counts smart cards and readers for government agencies, logistics companies and others as its core business.

More than two dozen employees from the two Northern California companies were given Samsung Galaxy S III phones that allowed them to enter buildings and other secure areas by swiping the smart phone over an HID Global reader installed next to locked doors.

The phones were equipped with near-field technology chips and digital keys, which stored credential data for access.

The technology previously has been used by financial companies and retailers to allow customer payments via mobile devices.

Los Gatos-based Netflix traditionally has used coded keyfobs for security access and wanted to evaluate the benefits of digital keys. The pilot program used the HID system to provide security access for some recent hires there.

Some staffers at Sunnyvale-based mobile security provider Good Technology continue to use their smartphones and HID readers for access even after the wrap-up of the pilot program.

The adoption of near-field communications technology for security access is still in its infancy but the pilot efforts highlighted opportunities to improve mobile access control as the industry moves closer to adoption, according to Debra Spitler, HID’s vice president of mobile-access solutions.

“These pilots with Netflix and Good Technology clearly demonstrated how a highly mobile work force can receive digital keys over-the-air and to their phones and use them to open doors, just like they had previously been doing with their existing photo ID cards, keyfobs or tags,” Spitler said. 

HID, a unit of Stockholm, Sweden-based security services provider Assa Abloy Group AB, doesn’t disclose revenue. Its parent Assa Abloy sees about $6 billion in annual revenue and employs some 34,000 people. 

Kofax Update

Irvine-based software maker Kofax PLC spent about $1 million in the last year preparing for a public listing on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange.

The company is publicly traded in London but its executives are based here. It’s been contemplating a move to a U.S. exchange for the last few years, viewing the shift as likely to help raise capital, brand awareness and market value. About 40% of Kofax shareholders are based in the U.S., with the balance in the U.K.

A lukewarm environment on Wall Street and global economic concerns have stymied a jump to a new exchange.

“We’d like to do it when there are no adverse macroeconomics unfolding,” Chief Executive Reynolds Bish said recently. “It’s something that could happen in the near future or the next year or so. We have no specific timetable.”

Kofax makes scanning software used by businesses to get rid of paper and speed up productivity. It is the county’s eighth-largest software maker with annual sales eclipsing $260 million, according to Business Journal research.

Sonic Partnerships

Sonic Emotion AG has inked partnerships with two of Japan’s leading consumer electronics companies.

Sonic, which maintains executive offices in Newport Beach and headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, will have its audio-enhancement technology imbedded in products from Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. and Onkyo Corp. in Osaka.

The deal calls for two new Toshiba sound bars—the Mini 3D Sound Bar with Subwoofer SBM1W and 3D Sound Bar SB1–SBK1—to be equipped with Sonic Emotion’s Absolute 3D sound technology. Onkyo is set to include the same technology in its RBX-500 iLunar Dock Music System geared for Apple products.

Sonic Emotion is relatively new in the consumer electronics market.

The company was established in 2002 but only moved into the consumer segment about two years ago.

Sonic Emotion took three years to develop its chip technology, which creates sound waves around the user to produce an effect similar to surround-sound without numerous speakers.

It landed its first deal earlier this year to embed its chips in soundbars—thinner, lightweight speakers—made by Portland, Ore.-based AudioSource.

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