Smart Card Talk : January 2011 : SCALA Associate Director’s Letter

SCALA Associate Director’s Letter

Dear Smart Card Alliance Latin America (SCALA) members and friends,

First, I would like to wish all of you great professional and personal success for 2011.

One of the things that makes our industry so unique and exciting versus other industries is that the people of the smart card industry have a vocation and commitment to the technology. There are many other industries where people are working because it is their profession or because they receive a monthly check. I hope people in our industry don’t misunderstand my viewpoint. I am not saying that our colleagues are not professionals or that they should not be paid; my statement is that individuals in our industry have a passion that is the glue that joins all of us to smart card technology and the Smart Card Alliance.

In many industries and countries the recession/depression has not ended, and many are suffering because of the downturn in the global economy. I find myself questioning if one reason some industries lose their way is because their employees’ only motivation was to make money. The organization’s, or even its industry’s, objective, was lost. Cost reduction and sales growth were the only drivers being considered, without considering products and their impact on customers and the industry. This focus only on revenue and cost can make any individual lose passion and motivation for work. I admit that it may seem easy for me to make these observations and ask these questions while working for a non-profit organization.

My point is that our industry is very lucky. Most of us have a great passion for what we are doing, and that passion helps to keep us motivated even on the difficult days. This passion also helps us to be innovative and to collaborate to share our thoughts and opportunities with colleagues. We all have a role to play in the industry and we are all part of an industry where participants rely and depend on one another. This unique relationship that we have with our fellow citizens in society and in our industry is what allows us to develop our activities.

The relationship among industry participants is very important to understand when developing an objective and determining whether efforts to meet the objective will be successful. The objective unites us and makes all of us work together–leveraging strengths and compensating for weaknesses to achieve the objective. While in some cases we may compete with each other on bids, projects, and contracts, working together as a cohesive industry helps us to achieve our larger objectives. The goal of an industry association, such as the Smart Card Alliance Latin America (SCALA), is to help create the opportunities for the private and public sector to work together for a common objective. In the Alliance organization, we are motivated to accomplish this goal and develop opportunities for our industry to grow and for industry participants to work together for a common goal.

In 2011, the Smart Card Alliance Latin America (SCALA) will be focusing efforts primarily on EMV migration for payments and on government ID to help the industry move forward in using smart card technology. In government ID we are including N-ID, passports, driver’s licenses, Social Security, transportation, and access control system applications and projects. We plan to accomplish our goals of promoting the industry, our members, and best practices in the region while creating a sense of community through specific projects in: educational seminars, market research, advocacy, industry councils, networking, and events. We have an ambitious plan for the year and hope that you all can be part of it.

I know that 2011 will be a great year for the industry and the Smart Card Alliance. I encourage all of you to take part in our organization and work with your colleagues who share similar objectives. If you wish to join the SCALA organization, please feel free to contact me.

For those who have not heard the news, the SCALA office is now located in Panama.

Edgar Betts
Associate Director, Smart Card Alliance Latin America (SCALA)