Smartcard technology gains importance in access control

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2005 Access Control & Identity Management

The advent of contactless personal computer/smartcard (PC/SC) reader technology marks a significant development for the smartcard market in general and the access control segment in particular. Manufacturers are increasingly launching PC readers with contactless functionality.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, World Smart Card Readers & Terminals Markets, reveals that the total smartcard reader market totalled 9,4 million units in 2003 and projects to reach 35,5 million units in 2008. The total smartcard terminals market totalled 4,8 million units in 2003 and projects to reach 14,3 million units in 2008.

Bureaucratic delays that are often associated with large government projects such as national ID, driving licence or health cards are likely to adversely affect the market for smartcard readers.

"Lack of government proactiveness is delaying potential roll-outs of national ID project," notes Frost & Sullivan research analyst Karthik Nagarajan. "In spite of successful pilots in many Asian and European countries, governments are delaying their decision for actual roll-outs, mainly due to bureaucracy and cost apprehension."

Potential changes in government also bring in the added threat of delaying proposed projects for political reasons. This trend is particularly evident in some of the developing Asian nations.

Card issuers are also challenged by the need for a standardised technology for government projects. Following the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) recommendations to move toward smartcard-enabled e-passports, several countries, including the United States, are testing various technologies for compatibility with ICAO's specifications.

When launched, this is likely to be the largest smartcard project in the United States and will involve embedding contactless chips into passports that reader terminals will access at the airport.

The tests being conducted are not without their share of difficulties. Recent tests faced problems due to government regulations on encryption.

Since the project is currently in a phase where interoperability is being evaluated, these problems are likely to be overcome. However, the standardisation requirement - owing to the critical nature of such projects - will continue to pose a strong challenge to manufacturers and government agencies alike.

In the banking segment, terminal manufacturers face the task of creating a convincing business case for smartcard payments. Especially the case of North America where the advantages of chip cards are not as attractive as they are in Europe and Asia.

"Though contactless payment has gained popularity in North America, it is far from being a significant driver for large-scale migration of banking cards," remarks Nagarajan. "Hence, finding an alternative and more compelling value proposition for consumers continues to be an important challenge for the terminals market."

Despite these challenges, the smartcard readers and terminals market is expected to benefit from Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) migrations in the banking sector across the world. Looming EMV deadlines ranging from early 2005 up to 2006 for various countries will present significant opportunities for the readers/terminals market and help it achieve strong growth.

Reference: Frost & Sullivan,

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Facial access control for ministry
Issue 1 2020, ZKTeco , Access Control & Identity Management
The Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia has adopted ZKTeco’s facial recognition technology and fingerprint biometrics to manage access control into its building.

New Door Pilot app from dormakaba
Issue 1 2020, dormakaba South Africa , Access Control & Identity Management
With new dormakaba Door Pilot, automated doors can also now be operated on the basis of remote control technologies. The system, comprising the Door Pilot app for smartphones and a Wi-Fi interface for ...

Identity lifestyle
Issue 1 2020, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management
Once the technology of the future, biometrics has quietly snuck into our daily lives through smartphones and access controls into our places of work.

Securing BP’s new head office
Issue 1 2020, ISF SFP , Access Control & Identity Management
ISF SFP was awarded the contract to secure the first development phase for Oxford Parks, the new head office for BP South Africa.

Combining aesthetics and access control
Issue 1 2020, Turnstar Systems , Access Control & Identity Management
Prestigious law firm Bowman Gilfillan recently upgraded its physical security with the addition of four Turnstar Speedgate Express access control lanes.

Video doorbells from Ring
Issue 1 2020 , Access Control & Identity Management
Ring has a number of video doorbells available in South Africa that run off batteries or power and enable users to answer their doors from anywhere.

Centurion to unveil new product
Issue 1 2020, Centurion Systems , Access Control & Identity Management
Centurion Systems will be hosting its third Access Automation Expo this year, with dates confirmed for Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Looking ahead with mobile access technologies
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020, Technews Publishing, HID Global, dormakaba South Africa, Salto Systems Africa, Suprema, Gallagher , Access Control & Identity Management, Integrated Solutions
Given the broad use of smartphones around the world and the numerous technologies packed into these devices, it was only a matter of time before the access control industry developed technology that would ...

Mobile access is more secure than card systems
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020 , Access Control & Identity Management
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new technology.

This is the future. This is what we do.
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020, ZKTeco , Access Control & Identity Management
ZKTeco has created a unique range of visible light facial recognition products combined with a flexible Android platform.