Smart Card Alliance Releases New White Paper—Contactless Technology for Secure Physical Access

Smart Card Alliance Releases New White Paper—Contactless Technology for Secure Physical Access

Princeton Junction, NJ, October 1, 2002–Contactless smart cards can add higher security to everyday ID credentials that employees use to access buildings, airports and other secure facilities, according to a new Smart Card Alliance white paper released today. At the same time, the technology paves the way to add new applications like network access control.

“This report is timely because of the national focus on security. There is a lot of pent-up interest in this paper from public sector managers seeking to better understand contactless smart card options,” said Mary Dixon, director of the Department of Defense Access Card Office. “This paper provides an excellent description of the types of contactless technology that can be used and what should be considered in determining the appropriate card technology for new physical access control systems.”

“Contactless Technology for Secure Physical Access: Technology and Standards Choices” provides an in-depth tutorial on contactless technology in access control. Topics include a discussion of the different types of contactless technology, relevant standards and the advantages of contactless smart cards for physical access. The report, written for executives and managers, is available to both members and non-members at no charge at

“Smart cards are rapidly gaining acceptance in the U.S. and Canada, with more than 120 million cards shipped for use here since 1999,” said Randy Vanderhoof, president and CEO of the Smart Card Alliance. “Access control represents one of the sectors we see moving into smart cards.”

Contactless smart cards differ from traditional contact smart cards by not requiring physical connectivity to the card reader. The card works by bringing it close to a card reader and using radio frequencies to exchange information. The use of contactless technologies is particularly attractive for secure physical access, where the ID credential and reader must often work in harsh operating conditions, with a high volume of use or with a high degree of user convenience.

“New application possibilities, fast throughput and convenience of use are sparking interest in contactless smart card technology for access control and ID cards,” said Bob Donelson, senior property management specialist in the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management.

Alliance members from 16 organizations, both public and private, were involved in the development of this white paper. Lead contributors included representatives from ASSA ABLOY Identification Technology Group; Atmel; EDS; Gemplus; IBM; MasterCard International; NTRU Cryptosystems, Inc.; Philips Electronics; SC Solutions; SchlumbergerSema; SCM Microsystems, and Turtle Mountain Communications.

Contributors will be available to discuss the contactless white paper at the Alliance’s 10th Annual Conference starting October 7th in Scottsdale, Arizona. Hundreds of smart card industry leaders will gather to discuss the ‘Catalysts for Convergence’ such as policy decisions, standards and new infrastructure implementations that are changing how corporations and government agencies do business. More information is available at

Last week the Alliance was invited by the Biometrics Consortium to present at their annual conference–BC2002, in Washington, DC. The panel, moderated by Randy Vanderhoof, included executives from Atmel, Datacard Group, Gemplus, IBM, Northrop Grumman and SchlumbergerSema, who spoke on the contents of the Alliance’s white paper “Smart Cards and Biometrics in a Privacy-Sensitive Secure Personal Identification System.” This report and others are available at the Alliance Web site, including “Secure Personal Identification Systems: Policy, Process and Technology Choices for a Privacy-Sensitive Solution” and several case studies on the use of smart cards with digital network security.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. For more information please visit

Smart Card Alliance Member Quotes

“Contactless Technology for Secure Physical Access: Technology and Standards Choices”

“The Smart Card Alliance is supplying a crucial service to decision makers by providing thorough, objective information on critical considerations necessary to deploy secure contactless access control solutions.”
–Jeremy Wyant, RFID Product Manager NTRU Cryptosystems, Inc.

“The availability of contactless and dual interface smart cards will further increase both the deployment and the acceptance of smart card technology in North America. Besides physical access control, automatic fare collection in public transportation and micro payments in banking and retail applications will drive the smart card growth in North America over the next five years.”
–Manuel Albers, Market Segment Manager Identification, Americas, Philips Semiconductors.