Smartcard briefs

June 2004 Access Control & Identity Management, Information Security

Excerpts from the newsletter of The Smart Card Society of southern Africa

OTI and Atmel assist MasterCard smartly

Atmel Corporation and On Track Innovations (OTI) have been selected for their contactless secure microcontroller solution by MasterCard International for use in its MasterCard PayPass deployments in the US. MasterCard PayPass is a new 'contactless' payment program that provides consumers with 'a simpler way to pay'. Using MasterCard 'PayPass' and SmartCard, consumers simply tap or wave their smartcard on a specially equipped merchant terminal, eliminating the need to swipe a card through a reader. The new solution is ideal for quick payment environments where speed is essential, such as quick serve restaurants, service stations, chemists, supermarkets and movie theatres.

Gijima does it again

Minima Technologies has formed a strategic partnership with Gemplus. The agreement, which involves the transfer of technology, skills, development and transfer from Gemplus to Gijima, will enable the local company to produce and supply Gemplus-quality smartcards into the financial services and government sectors in South Africa and into sub-Saharan Africa. Gijima smartcards is currently in the process of ISO Certification. Gemplus will assist Gijima in implementing the upgrades required for its Johannesburg world-class smartcard manufacturing plant - which currently has the capacity to produce over 30-million smartcards annually - to obtain Visa and MasterCard certification. This will allow Gijima to supply financial institutions with locally produced cards that comply with the global EMV (Europay, Visa and Mastercard) smartcard standard. Alain Faburel, Director sales: Gemplus Financial and Security Services for South & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, says the partnership is a win-win arrangement for both companies. "Gijima is the only 100% black-owned smartcard manufacturer in Africa and will therefore play a key role in enabling Gemplus to enhance its position in the market place. Gemplus has been established in the SA market for many years. This arrangement is a new milestone in strengthening our position in the financial services and government sectors," Faburel says.

What do soccer clubs PSV Eindhoven, Real Madrid and the 2008 Olympics have in common?

PSV started looking into smartcards for access control in 1999 as a way to improve customer relations. Now electronic cards are being mandated by the Dutch football association - Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB) - as a way to keep hooligans out of the stadia. So at the end of last year, PSV issued smartcards to its 28 000 season ticket holders to control access to the stadium. Spain's Real Madrid has issued some 80 000 contactless smartcards to its season ticket holders for this season. While these cards currently only provide access control, Real Madrid is closely watching the progress at PSV and is getting lots of ideas on how to expand its system in the future. The 2008 Olympics in China will be the first games to use a smartcard electronic ticketing system. One of the key attractions of smartcards for events like the Olympics is the range of applications that can be stored on a single card. In addition to basic access control, the cards can act as public transport tickets to get to the events or provide access to parking at the event. They can also include an e-purse or tokens for buying food and drink at the stadium or affiliated merchants.

Smart public transport in China and Korea

In China, over 60 cities including Beijing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan are already running on MIFARE-based public transport infrastructures. These major cities located mainly along China's eastern seaboard have been the first to adopt contactless smartcard technology. China is rapidly modernising its infrastructure in order to increase the efficiency and attractiveness of public transportation services and to reduce the growing traffic congestion problems within its major cities. As part of this process, the Chinese Ministry of Construction has introduced a plan to have 120 cities within China using smartcard public transport infrastructure by 2005. There is also the fact that China will be hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, so the government is keen to modernise the country's transportation system. In Korea, the Seoul metropolitan area has the world's largest contactless ticketing installation with over 10 million smartcards in circulation and over 50 000 reader terminals. And in other countries throughout Asia, smartcards are being used on buses and underground trains, at parking areas, in taxis, in customer loyalty schemes and in access control applications for buildings and computer networks.

CareCross and OTI develop smartly

On Track Innovations, a supplier of contactless microprocessor-based smartcard systems, has been awarded a contract to provide MediSmart contactless smartcards, readers, support and maintenance to South Africa's healthcare provider, CareCross. The initial hardware installations in healthcare facilities commenced in April and card distribution will begin thereafter. The first MediSmart cards will be issued to chronic care patients or patients that utilise long-term treatments and medications. During MediSmart's eight-month pilot program, use of the MediSmart solution reduced CareCross call centre calls by 95% resulting in tremendous savings in both treatment time and call centre costs. CareCross Health is the leading primary healthcare provider in South Africa contracting the first 150 000 members and a network of over 1000 contracted healthcare or service providers in this emerging market. Through its network of healthcare professionals, CareCross provides affordable and quality services to members of health care plans that serve individuals and families who cannot afford traditional private insurance coverage. Based on government estimates, there is an emerging market of 13 million managed care patients in the private sector in South Africa.

China ID going contactless

China has commenced issuing 900 million smartcard identity cards to replace its current plastic ID cards. One reason for changing is to eliminate rampant counterfeiting. Unlike many countries the citizens will pay $3 for each card except low-income earners. All cards will be manufactured in China.

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