Toronto firm’s authentication wearable sees first enterprise deployments

Toronto-based Nymi Inc. has closed a deal that will see its wearable devices deployed in an enterprise setting for the first time, it announced on Tuesday.

Paris-based Atos SE will be integrating Nymi Bands into its Bull brand as part of its Evidian Enterprise single sign-on (SSO) solution. Nymi’s wearable wristband is designed to provide authentication based on the wearer’s heart beat rhythm, or electrocardiogram signature.

The Internet of Things-driven startup founded in 2011 and has built an identity authentication platform based around its unique algorithm. It has been talking with Atos for more than a year and throughout its hardware development process, says Shawn Chance, chief strategy officer at Nymi. First it was working with Nymi’s developer kit, and then through its early-access program. Now it has customer pilots using the device in the field.

“This is the first deal that talks about our customers that are actually using the band in an enterprise context,” Chance explains. “It’s also our first foray into industrial IoT.”

Atos will be enabling Nymi’s trademarked Always On Authentication capability for its customers as part of its Evidian solution. This allows workers to conveniently and securely communicate with their workstations using either a Bluetooth connection of NFC. The wristband is an alternative to direct biometric identification at terminals, physical chips, or card readers.

It helps solve a problem that’s specific to industries such as pharmaceuticals or manufacturing where multiple people will be using a common work terminal, but tracking who is doing what is very important, Chance says. “Anywhere you need a high degree of certainty that a person who performed an action is the person that supposed to be performing it.”

If such a workplace requires a worker to sign in with a username and password, it creates a point of friction where someone is typing in the same information dozens of times during a shift. If they require a worker to use a biometric like a thumbprint to authenticate themselves, they have the added complication of managing a database of biometric information.

Nymi solves the privacy issue of protecting this personally identifiable information by keeping the heart rhythm signature local to the hardware. After a worker receives their Nymi Band, they enroll it with a biometric terminal and that pattern is stored on the band. That band becomes the personal device of the worker, and when worn, can authenticate their identity with other terminals.

“We don’t transmit the biometric template at time of authentication,” Chance says. “There’s no back-end database.”

This announcement with Atos is the first of many plans for collaboration, he adds. Nymi is also interested in working with third-party OEMs to create hardware that includes Nymi’s authentication platform.


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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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