Industry Groups Launch Initiative to Advance Use of Smart Cards in Securing Networked Economy

Industry Groups Launch Initiative to Advance Use of Smart Cards in Securing Networked Economy

Smart Card Industry Association and Smart Card Forum Will Also Track Growth of Industry via New Market Research Effort

Washington, DC, September 19, 2000–The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA) and the Smart Card Forum (SCF) announced today that they have launched two joint efforts designed to stimulate the rapid adoption of smart card technology in North America.

The initial effort, known as the Smart Card Security Initiative will promote the critical role of smart card technology in securing e-business, enterprise systems and consumer Internet applications. “We want to make sure that everyone understands that smart cards are synonymous with security in the networked world,” said Paul Beverly, SCIA Chairman and VP at Schlumberger. “They serve as a secure portable token providing digital identity, hardware-based authentication, cryptographic key storage and much, much, more.”

SCIA and SCF have committed initial funding of $500,000 to the Smart Card Security Initiative effort in its first two years. A full time executive director will guide the day-to-day activities of the initiative, augmented by internal staff, volunteers from member companies and outside experts, where appropriate.


The Smart Card Security Initiative is an outgrowth of a six-month strategic planning process at SCIA. Its pivotal importance demanded that the industry make a united front leading to the joint effort with SCF.

The initiative will have three major areas of activity.

  • the establishment of a panel of experts charged with addressing any technical issues standing in the way of user organization’s adopting smart cards for digital security.
  • a promotional and educational program to ensure that user organizations are fully aware of the reliability and cost-effectiveness of smart card security solutions, and
  • a multi-pronged industry lobbying effort to insure that smart card reader/writers become standard equipment on new PCs, workstations, and network devices.

“Suppliers of computer and network devices have a tremendous opportunity to provide products that are equipped to combat the growing security threat in the cybereconomy”, said Allen Gilstrap, Chairman of the Smart Card Forum and VP, American Express Services Europe Ltd. The few dollars that it costs to incorporate industry standard card reader/writers will save millions for their customers over time.”


In recent months many leading electronics companies have expounded the virtues of hardware authentication and portable PKI key storage devices. Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have made major commitments to the technology. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, a long time advocate, has said, “Smart card technology will be a key enabler for companies to create more secure and innovative end-to-end solutions, allowing people to access their information any time, anywhere, and from any device,”

“There simply is not a more important role for smart card technology then helping to secure the digital future”, according to Gilles Lisimaque, Chief Technology Officer of Gemplus and board officer of both SCIA and SCF. “We feel like we have a pretty strong business case going since our “killer application” is helping to keep network insecurity from being an application killer.”

Several US government agencies, including the Department of Defense, have indicated that they will soon require smart card readers to be included on all newly acquired PCs. Others are expected to follow suit as the General Services Administration rolls out its new $1.5 billion Government-wide Smart Access Card program. Numerous financial institutions are also looking for PC suppliers to provide “smart card ready” equipment. Today, financial institutions that have begun smart card rollouts, such as American Express, Fleet and Providian, have found themselves in the business of distributing reader/writers to customers. The Smart Card Security Initiative effort will marshal the cooperation of government agencies, financial institutions, health care service providers and others to help accelerate their efforts in deploying smart card infrastructure.


Worldwide over 1.7 billion smart cards were put into service for a wide range of applications last year, mostly in Europe. They are standard equipment for digital frontier applications such as GSM mobile phones and direct broadcast satellite TV. But, it has been very difficult to accurately track use of the technology in North America.

Both the SCF and SCIA realized that the time has come to unbundle North American data from worldwide totals. As a result, the groups will employ the services of an independent research organization to establish a reliable source of market research about the North American smart card market. Aggregated industry data will be released semi-annually in 2001 and quarterly starting in 2002.

“Challenges in tracking smart card use and shipments in the US have resulted in a distorted view of the market”, said Patrick Gauthier, Vice President Smart Card Applications and Market Development at Visa USA. “Having the two largest and influential industry associations sponsor this research effort will guarantee its accuracy and help business leaders understand the opportunities offered by this high growth industry.”


Industry leaders and association representatives will conduct a press briefing on the joint projects at the SCF Annual Meeting on September 27 at 10:00 am PST in the Empire Room of the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. Press may register by visiting the SCF web site at


The Smart Card Industry Association is a global trade association representing the needs of manufacturers, integrators, resellers, issuers and others throughout the industry. Established in 1989 and co-founders of the CardTech/SecurTech conference, the Smart Card Industry Association has been actively promoting the adoption and use of smart card technology on behalf of it members since the inception of the North American Smart Card market. For more information, call the SCIA office at 1-800-848-SCIA or visit its web-site at


The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multi-application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. Established in 1993, the Forum includes representatives from leading companies in the banking, financial services, telecommunications, computer, technology, healthcare, retail and entertainment industries as well as government agencies and prominent universities. The Smart Card Forum also operates the Smart Card Educational Institute, the industry leading course dedicated to providing smart card education that has set the standard in the industry. The curriculum is based on leading edge education models and methodologies utilizing experienced instructors who are experts in the smart card industry. The Smart Card Forum is the leading organization for education and awareness in the development of the smart card. For more information about The Smart Card Forum, log on to the organization’s Web site at

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