Sell Something Smarter Than the Average Card
As this high-tech product gains popularity, distributors may be able to find a new profit stream.
Did you know that smart cards are experiencing a significant surge in popularity within the United States? In past issues, BFL&S has discussed how these cards have gained so much notoriety in Europe, but not so much in the U.S.
Because of differences in existing technology, these smarter-than-average products experienced a fairly slow start here in the states. But it seems the tables are turning in favor of smart cards as more companies are willing to invest in the intelligence, security and convenience they provide.
In fact, according to Card Technology Magazine, Chicago, 400,000 transit smart cards were ordered for the San Francisco Bay Area TransLink Project last month. The contract included a purchase of $8 million in card-reading equipment and $1.6 million in chip cards, which can be used by riders on buses, trains and ferries.
In addition, the magazine reported that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center plans to store personal and insurance data on smart cards for patient and doctor use. A recent test found that the cards will cut patient registration time from 10 minutes to six. They are also being touted as a cost-effective way to improve access to patient data while complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act.
Donald Davis, editor and associate publisher, explained that smart card use is becoming very popular, especially in the mass transit and government markets.
"The department of defense is issuing upwards of four million smart cards to civilian and military personnel," said Davis. "And the Treasury and State Departments are using smart cards embedded with chips carrying secret codes for computer and building log-ins."
While larger corporations like Microsoft and Boeing—companies very concerned with security—are using this advanced technology, Davis pointed out that mass transit companies are a hot spot for smart cards these days. "Huge growth in mass transit use is occurring in Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco," he said.