March 3, 1997 10:00 AM ET
HP lines up new intranet partners
Division to unite imaging, smart cards, workflow systems

By Michael Moeller and Scott Berinato

  Hewlett-Packard Co. next week will launch a three-pronged effort--built around imaging, smart cards and intranet technology--to simplify the secure integration of Internet information into day-to-day business practices.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company is forming a new imaging division and is partnering with Informix Software Inc., GemPlus Corp., Netscape Communications Corp., Marimba Inc. and Lotus Development Corp. to tailor systems with new and existing technologies, sources close to HP said.

The new division and partners for the as-yet-unnamed initiative will be announced at Internet World in Los Angeles next week.

HP's new Internet Imaging Operation division will introduce OpenPix, an imaging architecture based on FlashPix, an image format that produces fast, low-resolution image viewing and high-resolution output to photo-quality ink-jet and laser printers.

HP makes new friends

Hewlett-Packard's new enterprise partners

  • Intranet: Marimba, Netscape, Lotus, Informix

  • Imaging: Informix, Netscape

  • Smart cards: Informix, GemPlus

One goal for HP's OpenPix imaging effort is enabling magazine pages or other published material to be stored on Informix's Universal Server databases at Web sites for easy retrieval.

Users could subscribe to the magazine site and customize the news they wished to receive and have it delivered to their site. Publishers may even supply the high-quality printers to users at a nominal fee while charging for subscription, sources said.

HP will push OpenPix as a standard to the World Wide Web Consortium this year, sources said.

More fundamental to HP's intranet effort are the security and infrastructure services that will link business partners and customers over the Internet by creating a seamless environment that integrates collaborative computing, legacy data, automated workflow and the pushing of information throughout an enterprise.

The systems, which will implement Notes and Domino software on HP's Domain HP 9000 Unix servers, will include new smart-card-based and existing security technology.

As part of the announcement next week, HP will debut a new smart card system called the ImagineCard user authentication system. Due next quarter and created with Informix and GemPlus, ImagineCard uses smart cards and GemPlus card readers to identify users and their prescribed level of network access.

Some users are interested in, but skeptical of, single-sign-on systems living up to their promise.

"We are interested in using smart cards. A single-sign-on system would make the physicians here very, very happy. Many of them are having to remember eight to 10 passwords," said Scott Coard, manager of information security and disaster recovery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Baltimore, which runs mainframes and midrange systems mixed with several flavors of Unix and Windows desktops.

"A system that gets me 75 percent of the way there is not what I want, since I will be left wondering what to do with the remaining 25 percent," said Coard.

HP officials declined to comment on the announcements.

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