Executive Director's Letter
Dear members and friends of the Alliance,
It has been a good past few weeks for me to get a reading on how people are feeling about the Smart Card Alliance and the smart card industry as a whole. Last month, I had the opportunity to see and talk with many of our members and other industry followers at the CTST 2008/Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference in Orlando. This month I closely read the member feedback from our online survey of members who attended CTST 2008/ Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference and our annual member survey that we conducted earlier in June.
If you read this newsletter last month, you saw my remarks on the just-completed CTST/Annual Conference and learned how people loved it or not depending on their expectations and their perspective of the event as a conference or as an exhibition. We followed up with a detailed online survey that went out to 550 individuals (about one-third of all attendees) who are associated with our member organizations. We received 124 responses (over 20%), which was an excellent response. One-third of the respondents had never attended a Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference before. I feel great that we were able to attract a larger group of first-time members to this combined CTST event than we had previously attracted to Alliance-only events. I suspect the broader program content, international flavor, and added attraction of an exhibition contributed to that.
The survey results quantified what many people had told me were their personal perceptions. 78% said the conference was good, very good, or excellent, and 82% rated the event as valuable or very valuable. The conference program was cited most often (58 times) when we looked at the list of positive comments, and the exhibit hall was cited most often (38) when we looked at the areas that needed improvement. Also, far more attendees identified themselves with the payments industry (46%) than the next two largest market categories, identity (19%) and security (10%). That did not translate to conference session track attendance, however, as the Payments Track (527) drew only slightly more people than the Mobile Track (443), Identity Track (396), and the Security Track (369) over the 3 full days. This result indicates that the interest was evenly distributed and many people moved from track to track during the conference. We will take this input and store it away for now, but be assured that the feedback will play an important part of our planning for the May 4-7, 2009 event in New Orleans.
Member Profile: GSA
This month, Smart Card Talk spoke with Stephen P. Duncan, Customer Project Manager, GSA USAccess Program.
1. The General Services Administration was the recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Smart Card Achievement (OSCA) issuing organization award for your role in implementing the Federal government's Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card program. Can you provide a brief overview of the program and the services that GSA is providing?
The USAccess program was established by GSA in response to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12). HSPD-12 requires U.S. federal agencies to adopt a standard process to establish and manage an individual’s identity through an interoperable credential to be used for physical and/or logical access to federal government facilities and information systems. When this directive was issued in 2004, federal agencies were faced with the challenge of meeting an aggressive deadline of beginning to issue cards in October 2007 without additional funding to support it. Agencies also lacked the technical expertise to select and manage the vendors and components required to build such a complicated identity management system. Seeing the need for a shared service to centralize much of the effort across government into a single, focused office, GSA established the USAccess program.
Feature of the Month
Serving Unbanked Consumers in the Transit Industry
This article is the second in a series looking at approaches to serve the unbanked consumers in the transit industry. This month's article reviews the traditional approach — establishing a retail channel to sell fare products. The third article in the series will look at how network-branded prepaid cards could be used to serve the unbanked transit customer.
Prior to the advent of smart card-based AFC systems, serving unbanked transit riders was simple: riders paid cash at a fare box or used cash to buy fare media at ticket vending machines and retail outlets. Ownership of a bank account was irrelevant as to whether or not a transit rider could pay a fare or otherwise have full access to the public transit system, since nearly every transit fare media sales channel accepted cash. (Exceptions included ticket-by-mail programs and, more recently, ticket vending machines that accept credit/debit cards only.) Transit agencies were concerned with providing access and availability, as required by Title VI, but they defined the requirement as guaranteeing access to persons of all races and persons of all incomes. Historically, meeting this requirement meant ensuring frequency and coverage of service throughout a region, establishing multiple retail outlets to sell prepaid fare media, and partnering with agencies serving low income persons to facilitate sales of subsidized fare media.