Smart Card Talk : August 2011 : Feature of the Month

The Alliance Industry Councils–Mid-Year Update

Members continue to be highly active in the Smart Card Alliance industry councils in 2011. Since January, councils have completed more than 14 projects, including eight white papers, two industry comments submissions, one webinar, and three workshops, and have issued eight news releases on Council activities or industry positions. Projects have focused on the hottest topics in the smart card industry–the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), FIPS 201 and the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card, EMV migration, Near Field Communication (NFC), healthcare identity management, and open payments in transit. And the councils continue with a strong set of activities into the second half of 2011, with 18 active projects.

This month’s feature article reviews highlights of each Council’s activities this year and previews what’s still to come in the second half.

Healthcare Council

The Healthcare Council leads Smart Card Alliance efforts to educate the healthcare market on why smart card technology is the appropriate solution for healthcare identity management applications.

2011 Healthcare Council activities included:

While the smallest council by participation, Healthcare Council members are active and focused on developing high-impact deliverables to showcase the benefits that smart card technology bring to addressing the healthcare industry’s needs to authenticate patient and provider identities, secure personal health information, reduce fraud, and meet new government regulations for use of electronic health records.

Identity Council

The Identity Council is focused on promoting the need for technologies and usage solutions regarding human identity information to address the challenges of securing identity information and reducing identity fraud. The Council is leading the Alliance efforts on cybersecurity and on providing input on the NSTIC.

Identity Council activities in 2011 included:

The Council is currently developing the statements of work for two projects: a series of briefs on the role of smart card technology in NSTIC and a white paper documenting enterprise use cases for PIV-interoperable (PIV-I) credentials.

Payments Council

The Payments Council 2011 activities are focused on the EMV roadmap for the U.S. and on NFC contactless mobile payments and payment-related applications. With almost daily announcements of new NFC developments or EMV activities, the Council’s high-profile educational outreach efforts have placed the Alliance in the center of the industry discussion.

Council activities in 2011 have included:

  • Publishing the comprehensive white paper, Card Payments Roadmap in the U.S.: How Will EMV Impact the Future Payments Infrastructure?, to educate stakeholders across the payments value chain (issuers, acquirers/processors, merchants and ATM owners) about the critical aspects of deploying an EMV solution in their business environments in the U.S.
  • Developing and holding the full-day workshop, EMV Roadmap Implementation Options for the U.S. [members-only access], at the Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference in May.
  • Publishing EMV and NFC “facts at a glance” to answer frequently-asked questions.
  • Publishing an updated Contactless Payments Security Q&A to address media reports about the security of contactless payment transactions and the risk of fraud to consumers, and to highlight the improved security that contactless smart card technology brings to payment transactions.

For the second half of 2011, the Council will be publishing a new white paper describing the current state of the mobile payments market and the positioning of NFC mobile contactless payments vs. other approaches. The Council will also be holding two webinars on EMV to assist merchants, merchant acquirers, issuers and issuer processors with EMV migration.

Physical Access Council

The Physical Access Council continues to lead the Smart Card Alliance efforts in providing guidance on the implementation of FIPS 201 and the PIV card.

The Council completed the following projects in 2011:

During 2011, the Council has also launched projects focused on enterprise credentialing. The Council is currently working on a white paper defining benefits of and best practices for enterprises moving to credentials that meet the PIV technical specifications, with publication planned in late October.

Transportation Council

The Transportation Council has focused its efforts in 2011 on providing guidance on transit use of open payments for fare collection–accepting open bank cards directly at the point of entry.

2011 Transportation Council activities have included:

  • Publishing an update to the white paper, A Guide to Prepaid Cards for Transit Agencies, providing guidance on what transit agencies should look for when evaluating the feasibility and benefits of using prepaid cards as one element of an open fare collection system.
  • Developing and holding two successful workshops, Open Bank Card Payments for Transit [members-only access], at the Smart Card Alliance Payments Summit in Salt Lake City, UT, in February, and at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Fare Collection Workshop in Miami, FL, in March.
  • Developing an updated white paper on open payments in transit, with publication planned for late 2011.

The Council has several new projects being defined including: a white paper on NFC and transit; a white paper on the impact of the financial regulatory environment on transit; and outreach and educational programs for small- and medium-sized transit agencies. The Council will also be collaborating with the Payments Council to develop the agenda and content for the 2012 Payments Summit.

Accessing Council Deliverables

All council publications are promoted through Alliance press releases and events and are available at no charge on the Alliance web site, providing the councils with a broad audience for their educational material. Alliance publications have extensive visibility and are typically in the top Google search listings for topics related to smart cards.

In the first half of 2011, there were over 168,000 accesses and downloads of council publications! The figure below shows the distribution of downloads by topic area.

Who Participates in Industry Councils?

Over 470 individuals from more than 100 organizations (76% of member organizations) participated in at least one council in the past year. Each council is managed by elected officers and steering committee, with members volunteering to lead and/or participate in the many council projects.

Councils couldn’t accomplish their goals without the commitment of individual members. Each year we recognize the top individual contributors in each of the industry councils. Our 2011 honor roll included over 150 individuals who contributed their time and expertise to develop the authoritative educational resources that the Alliance is known for.

For More Information or to Participate in the Councils

If you are interested in following Council activities, the monthly Smart Card Talk newsletter features Council news in the “From the Alliance Office” section. Council publications and member information can be found at /activities-councils.

Alliance members can also review the council quarterly and annual reports on the Smart Card Alliance members-only web site.

All Alliance members are encouraged to join an industry council. You can participate in projects, help to set direction for Alliance activities, or simply “listen in” and use the councils to learn more about the industry and smart card applications. If you are an Alliance member and would like to participate in an industry council, contact Cathy Medich ([email protected]).