SchlumbergerSema takes on U.K. passport pilot

SchlumbergerSema, the IT unit of Schlumberger Ltd., has been chosen by the U.K. Passport Service for a six-month trial of biometric technology, the company announced Monday.

The trial will run January through June and will enroll 10,000 people, who will receive smart cards with printed and electronic information. The value of the pilot was not disclosed.

The project will test iris pattern and fingerprint biometrics enrollment and verification. It also will evaluate collection and verification of a facial recognition biometrics.

The agency said that results from the trial will help shape its plans to introduce biometric passports and driving licenses, and build a base for a proposed national identity card program.

"The trial will help us understand how the enrollment of biometrics will work, what it will cost and how our customers will react," said Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the U.K. Passport Service.

SchlumbergerSema team includes NEC Corp. of Tokyo, Identix Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., Iridian Technologies Inc. of Moorestown, N.J., and Market & Opinion Research International, a market research firm based in the United Kingdom.

Based in New York, Schlumberger employs 78,000 people in 100 countries and had 2002 revenue of $13.2 billion. In September, the company announced that SchlumbergerSema would be sold to Atos Origin SA of Paris. The transaction, pending regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by next month.

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