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Plexus Partnering with AuthenTec

NEENAH, WI. – Fingerprint security sensors seem like something from a futuristic movie. But Plexus, an electronic manufacturing service (EMS) company headquartered in Neenah, Wis., is making those futuristic dreams a reality through a partnership with AuthenTec, a leading manufacturer of fingerprint sensors.

Plexus announced the deal Monday, which includes complete engineering, design and integration services for AuthenTec's TruePrint technology-based fingerprint sensors. Plexus customers concerned with user-authentication problems with PCs, wireless products, and access controls will now be able to incorporate biometric fingerprint sensors into their products with the newly acquired TruePrint technology. The deal with AuthenTec is one of Plexus’ many strategic partnerships that help set Plexus apart from other EMS companies because they provide unrivaled product development services with cutting edge technology.

The deal came about through normal business development activities. Plexus discovered AuthenTec was searching for a company they could refer their customers to for EMS services. Plexus is known as a world leader in the industry. “I think that matched up really well because AuthenTec realized that they can pick one top-notch company like Plexus to cover the whole gamut of what they were looking for,” said Oliver Mihm, director of project management at Plexus.

“I have put a lot of time into this and it’s because I think it really has the potential to bear a lot of fruit. I think that it’s a good match,” said Mihm. “AuthenTec has an excellent technology and Plexus is a world-leading design services provider. I think it’s going to be a great win-win situation.”

Kristian Talvitie, director of strategic marketing for Plexus, said the partnership allows Plexus to embed cutting edge technologies like fingerprint sensors into updated versions of current products they manufacture for their customers.
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Remaining on the cutting edge of technology is crucial for Plexus to maintain a leading position in the industry. “It is essential for Plexus to be able to remain on the cutting edge of technology and to continue to build these kinds of relationships with new technologies that come out so we can provide our customer base with the latest and greatest in various technologies, be they medical or industrial design products,” said Talvitie.

Mihm thinks hospitals will be a prime candidate for the fingerprint technology. They have a need to control access to equipment to keep medical records safe. Mihm said badge access is inconvenient and it is easy to bypass security. He thinks fingerprint identification is a probable means to solve hospital security issues.

Mihm said computers are another feasible application for fingerprint identification. “You are entering your password constantly and then because you forget them, you are sticking them on a post-it note underneath your computer,” he said. “Why not have that be a fingerprint authentication. It is more secure and actually more convenient.”

Plexus offers product design, test, manufacturing, fulfillment and aftermarket solutions to branded product vendors in the medical, networking/data communications, industrial, commercial, defense and computer electronics industries. Plexus has more than 150 branded product customers in North America, Europe and Asia, including GE Medical and Lucent.

Plexus has locations all over the world, but Wisconsin is clearly the flagship engineering center, according to Talvitie. About half of Plexus’ total product design engineers are based in Wisconsin and most of the company’s engineering designs come out of Wisconsin.
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Alexis Johnson is a Madison, Wisconsin based writer and regular contributor to the Wisconsin Technology Network. Alexis can be reached at alexis@wistechnology.com.

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