Dear members and friends of the Alliance,

If activity across its diverse vertical markets is an indicator of the strength of the smart card economy, the North American market for smart cards is very healthy and getting healthier. In recent weeks and in the weeks ahead, I will have traversed the country making presentations in support of smart card adoption efforts in unique markets. These include mass transit at the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Fare Collection Conference; access control and security at the ISC West Conference; independent service providers and payment processors at next week's Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) annual conference; and finishing with the largest card industry show in North America at CardTech SecurTech where we will present the Alliance's Fundamentals of Card Technology educational program.

The common thread that ties smart cards to all of these diverse markets is the technology's convenience, transaction speed, security, expandability and portability. It is exciting to talk to individuals in small companies, private contractors, resellers, and lower level managers in organizations and government agencies who attend these conferences and are asking questions about smart cards for the first time. It's like being a traveling preacher moving from town to town talking "religion" to a whole new audience of potential "believers." The story is basically the same even though each audience is very different. I am thinking about passing a collection basket around after each public appearance in the future.

However, something comes to mind that my father used to tell me when I was made to do yard work against my will: "never confuse activity with work." Are these markets really making progress or is it all just "activity?" At least in the case of the transit industry and the security industry, I can see real work happening. I will find out about retail payments next week after I return from the ETA annual conference. In transit, APTA is committed to developing a universal fare card payments specification, called the Universal Transit Fare Standards (UTFS) to promote interoperability and move the industry to a secure, stable payments platform. This, in turn, should help to attract the mainstream financial industry to align itself with this captive market for contactless payments. A good standard will go along way to building the bridges between transit and banking.

The work happening in the security industry is even more self-evident with scores of real products and working solutions available to customers. At the huge ISC West show earlier this month in Las Vegas, of the more than 700 exhibitors at this security mega-show, 44 companies listed smart cards as one of their product offerings. HID, clearly at the head of the table from a brand awareness standpoint in this industry and the leading card supplier to this market, was not alone in preaching the value of smart cards. Big security integrators like Johnson Controls, Lenel Systems, GE Security, Honeywell Access Systems, Northrop Grumman, and AMAG were all demonstrating smart card security solutions. In addition there were scores of companies offering card readers, door and gate controllers, card printers, biometrics readers, and software supporting smart cards. In addition, four separate educational sessions, including our Smart Card Alliance member panel, focused on smart cards and implementations. The Alliance has begun discussions with the Security Industry Association (SIA) and ISC West management about developing training programs on smart cards for the security industry and a possible Smart Card Pavilion at future shows.

Another sign of our industry's progress is the rise of new collaborative organizations and standardization groups. Previously, it has been only the government groups, such as the PEIWG group on physical security, FICC on logical security, and DCIS/FiXS on cross credentialing that have been making headlines. In recent months, however, two additional industry-led organizations have emerged.  The first, the Electronic Authentication Partnership ( which held an organizational meeting earlier this month in Washington, DC, has taken on the task of developing a framework to promote authentication across boundaries of trust authorities.  Recognizing that operating rules and assurance levels need to be defined before one entity can trust the credentials issued by another entity, EAP hopes to use working groups to define industry specifications and rules that will enable e-authentication between disparate parties.  About 130 attendees came to this meeting, including 16 Smart Card Alliance member organizations.

The second industry group, OATH ( is a collaborative industry initiative working to develop an open reference architecture for the universal adoption of strong authentication. The group wants to remove barriers to adoption of strong authentication technology by recommending open standards to standardization bodies. OATH partners include Alliance members VeriSign, IBM, Axalto, Gemplus, and ActivCard in addition to HP, Sun Microsystems, ARM, Aladdin, Rainbow, Authenex, BEA, Phoenix, and Aventail. OATH will have its opening meeting on April 21 in Palo Alto, CA. Information about OATH and an OATH white paper can be found at The Smart Card Alliance plans to have an active role in both of these industry groups and we will provide links to important information through our web site.

With CardTech SecurTech just weeks away, I want to again highlight the Alliance activities happening in conjunction with this premier event. Besides our usual presence in the exhibit hall to talk with existing members and distribute information and industry white papers to attendees, the Educational Institute (EI) team will be part of this year's pre-conference workshop program. The Fundamentals of Card Technology workshop presented by the Alliance's EI staff will be held on Monday, April 26.  This program combines the introductory and advanced EI courses into one full day program covering smart card technology and the application of the technology in physical and logical access, payments, and a host of other verticals. Registration for the workshop is still open at The Alliance is also hosting a new member networking luncheon on Wednesday, April 28. This year's new Alliance members and prospective members are invited to network with each other and representatives from the Alliance staff and the Alliance board of directors. Mary Dixon, director of the Access Card Office, Department of Defense will be on hand as the VIP guest. Invited members and guests must register in advance by contacting the Alliance office at 800-556-6828 or via email at [email protected] .

I hope all individuals who are members of Alliance organizations are receiving and enjoying the new weekly Smart Card Industry News Summary that is emailed every Wednesday. It contains a brief description and link to news stories involving smart card technology collected each day by the Alliance office. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, send an email to [email protected] . Your email address must have a member company domain name to receive this report.

In conclusion, I wish to congratulate in advance, Cathy Medich and the Terminal and eTransaction Task Force on the release of the latest report, Contactless Payments: Delivering Merchant and Consumer Benefits. The new report looks at the benefits of contactless payments for merchants and consumers in certain retail segments and highlights the efforts and results of testing by MasterCard, American Express, Visa, and JCB. The report will be released on April 20 in time for the ETA Annual Conference taking place in Las Vegas, NV that week. Members can download the report from the web site and non-members can order the report through the online web store at a cost of $149.


Randy Vanderhoof
Executive Director
Smart Card Alliance
[email protected]


Each week the latest news, press releases, and articles are made available at your Alliance web site. To include your company's articles, news, and releases in this great industry resource, send electronic submissions to [email protected]. Click on the headline to read the full text of these articles–currently "showing" at the Alliance site.


  Faster, More Secure ‘Contactless’ Transactions for Merchants, Consumers with OTI and Hypercom Technologies
  Smart Card Alliance Conducts Education Program at CTST 2004, Hosts Networking Luncheon
  ActivCard Named Finalist for 'Best Smart Card and Token Solution' by SC Magazine Global Awards 2004
  Datastrip's DSVII-SC Handheld Biometric Smart Card Reader Wins New Biometric Product of the Year at ISC West
  Drexler Technology Finalizes Acquisition of Two German Card Companies
  HID Expands iCLASS™ OEM Product Line with Low-Power, 13.56 MHz Contactless Smart Card Read/Write Module
  Indala Introduces Flexible, Contactless SmartCard MIFARE® Reader Family
  Nokia, Philips and Sony establish the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum


Each month, the international smart card associations who are members of the ISCAN network share smart card industry news with the Smart Card Alliance. Below are some of the highlights from recent ISCAN member newsletters.


On Track Innovations, a supplier of contactless microprocessor-based smart card systems, has been awarded a contract to provide MediSmart contactless smart cards, readers, support and maintenance to South Africa's healthcare provider, CareCross. Based on Government estimates, there is an emerging market of 13 million managed care patients in the private sector in South Africa.

................ Source: Smart Card Society of Southern Africa, April 2004

HID announced that their combination Prox and iCLASS 13.56 MHz multi-technology contactless smart cards will be deployed at major airports in Canada as part of an overall security program for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and their Restricted Area Identification Card (RAIC) program. The role of CATSA in the deployment of the RAIC is to enable Airport Authorities to enhance the security of the restricted areas of the airport. The deployment of HID's 200,000 multi-technology contactless smart cards will begin in March.
................ Source: ACTion News from ACT Canada, March 2004

JCB plans to start offering a new service that will use a credit card account to automatically replenish a transportation smart card once the available balance falls below a specified level. The user will receive a receipt in the mail for the new funds on his/her smart card, just as for beverages or other shopping items that can be charged to the card. The number of cards issued has been rising sharply as users discover their convenience, but until now, users have had to manually add funds to the cards.
................ Source: ACTion News from ACT Canada, March 2004

SCM Microsystems announced myEMV, a sleek, two-factor authenticator designed for use with EMV smart bankcards and the MasterCard Chip Authentication Program (CAP). SCM will market the terminals to banks and their systems integrators in countries migrating to EMV.
................ Source: ACTion News from ACT Canada, March 2004

The conference promises to once again be China's leading conference in smart card, RFID, and smart label technologies. Over 500 delegates from 10 countries will gather in Shanghai in May to share their knowledge and views on the business of smart technologies.  Visit for registration details and the conference agenda.
................ Source: Smart Card Forum of China , April 2004





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The Terminal and eTransaction Infrastructure Task Force is finishing its new report, Contactless Payments: Delivering Merchant and Consumer Benefits. This new Alliance report describes both the qualitative and quantitative benefits of contactless payments for merchants and consumers in the United States. Also included in the report is a sample merchant business case for a quick-service restaurant implementing contactless payment.  Lead Task Force contributors included representatives from American Express, Atmel Corporation, Axalto, Bank of America, First Data Corporation, IBM, Infineon Technologies, JCB International Credit Card Co., MasterCard International, VeriFone, Visa USA, ViVOtech, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The report will be available from the Smart Card Alliance web site on April 20. The Task Force will be holding an in-person meeting on April 28 at CTST to discuss possible next projects.  If you are interested in participating in the Task Force, please email Cathy Medich, Task Force Chair.

The Secure Personal ID Task Force is currently selecting its next project from a list of possible projects identified by Alliance members. The Task Force will have a conference call on April 23 and an in-person meeting on April 28 at CTST to discuss the next project. If you are interested in participating in the Task Force, please email Cathy Medich or Bill Holcombe, Task Force Co-Chairs.

The Alliance continues to have coverage in a variety of vertical market and technology publications. Coverage in March included:

  • Bank Technology News
  • Business Record
  • Card Technology
  • CardLine
  • Contactless News
  • Credit Card Management
  • EE Times
  • Federal Computer Week
  • ID Newswire
  • Lebensmittel Zeitung LZ
  • SecureIDNews
  • Security Management
  • Washington Technology
  • Yahoo Finance





Smart Card Talk is the monthly electronic newsletter of the world's largest smart card industry organization, providing members with the latest news and information about what's happening within The Smart Card Alliance. If you have news you would like to share, please send it to [email protected].

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