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

SCALA Associate Director’s Letter

Dear SCALA–Smart Card Alliance Latin America Member and Friends,

I hope all of you have had a wonderful month since our last newsletter. During this time, SCALA has been present in several industry events that have shown how smart card technology has gathered strength in the different vertical markets. Smart cards have taken the center stage in payments, identity, transportation, and mobile markets and have started to gain some traction in healthcare. This has caused me to reflect upon our messaging since the current market position shows a great deal of buy-in from the leadership of each vertical market that is influenced by the technology. So I ask, what should be the central industry message that we deliver as a united voice represented by SCALA?

Well, the fact is that we are now in the most important evolutionary stage of SCALA’s existence. We have industries adopting our technology to help solve real and significant problems, and they are using the SCALA knowledge base, information and training to help guide their processes and ensure success in their objectives. As an industry, we now need to communicate that the implementation of smart card technology provides an opportunity to use the embedded chip to introduce value-added services, applications, and other technologies associated with smart cards such as PKI and biometrics. The prospect of being able to deliver services and applications securely in a single card is finally a reality and we need to organize our members and related industries to communicate how we can address the challenges ahead.

The Smart Card Alliance Latin America–SCALA focuses on several areas that require community efforts:

  • Education–Our organization has developed several educational programs, workshops, seminars, and other resources. These have been at the heart of our efforts in Latin America. The ability to showcase industry best practices, provide technology education, and support industry innovations with expertise has contributed to our organization’s branding and recognition in the market.

  • Evangelization–This word is taken from missionaries and typically has a religious connotation. However, it is the only word that describes our efforts to engage industry vertical markets and to communicate the benefits and solutions smart cards offer. This has become our hardest task to accomplish since we are entering vertical markets that may not be driven by technology-oriented leaders and we need to provide information, demonstrate possible solutions, and gather new membership.

  • Socialization–We are creating our own industry community where members feel a sense of belonging and support, and where they can interact with others trying to accomplish the same goals. Our ability to create networking activities during and outside our events has helped to accomplish these tasks. These activities gain additional importance when they are combined with a focused strategy and organization, such as the member councils that develop our industry white papers.

  • Circulation of Ideas–Unfortunately SCALA has been limited in this objective since proposals and ideas are discussed in our Executive Committee. We are moving to improve in this area by expanding our circle of member contributors to get additional perspectives and evaluation of opportunities in the region.

  • Open Forums–Each year SCALA expands its capabilities to create more open forums to discuss issues affecting the implementation of smart cards in identity and government. Through collaborative efforts, our member organizations are able to demonstrate the industry best-in-class solutions that have been successfully implemented in different countries in Latin America and around the world.

In conclusion, these are some of the points that make SCALA our industry advocacy organization for Latin America, but our position and influence only exist through the contributions, support, and participation of member organizations. Otherwise, the Smart Card Alliance–or any organization for that matter–is only a sheet of paper, with no purpose, sense of existence, or unified objective. These sheets of papers–combined with mission, vision, and objectives–only gain value when people stand behind the words and ideas and work and dedicate time and expertise to accomplish the goals. This why we call our top membership level “Leadership Council,” in order to recognize that these are the organizations that help guide the industry, set our objectives, and create a sense of community that goes beyond their individual organizations to improve our industry as whole. They combine their initiatives with other member organizations whenever possible to reduce the cost and effort of achieving the Alliance goal of uniting the industry.

We are in the process of providing a Government Information Exchange in Costa Rica on June 29th. Further information of the success of the event will be covered in the next SCALA newsletter.

Have a wonderful month!

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