Microsoft Corp. is collaborating with security software provider Saflink Corp. to target the U.S. travel industry with a secure traveller program, Saflink announced Thursday.

The companies have been working together over the past 10 months to develop capabilities for the program and are almost ready to approach government bodies with their proposal, the security firm said.

The initiative, which is intended to be a privatized version of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Registered Traveller program, aims to use enterprise software from Microsoft and biometric security tools to screen and verify the identity of travellers.

The government’s Registered Traveller program asks travellers to voluntarily provide basic personal identification and biometric information such as a fingerprint or an eye scan. Travellers registered in this way can then go through special airport checkpoints. The program is aimed at expediting the security check process.

Microsoft said that it hopes to offer improved security by privatizing this program. While the software maker did not elaborate on the exact technologies it plans to use, its participation in the travel security area appears to be yet another example of how the company is increasing its focus on vertical markets.

On Tuesday, the Redmond, Washington, company began shipping a version of its Windows XP Embedded operating system catered to the retail and hospitality industry while it launched an initiative to deliver technologies specifically tailored to the oil and gas industry on Wednesday.

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