So, What's Happening with Smart Cards?
These not-yet-ready-for-prime-time card products may be the next American idol.
From Software developers to plastic card printers and a variety of specialists and consultants in between, smart cards are beginning to attract a lot of attention here in the United States. As expected, costs are coming down, yet they remain prohibitive for most. Still, it is only a matter of time before customers dependent upon a secure, efficient and intelligent approach to operations management are clamoring for this solution.
Proactive distributors and manufacturers who begin learning now will be earning later as a result of a smart card education.
Slowly but Surely
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Alegra Technologies is a smart card manufacturer that has relationships with the world's leading silicon manufacturers, smart card integrators and hardware manufacturers. According to CTO Jim Canfield, the company currently specializes in the GSM (Global Subscription Mobile Communications) market, which is the type of mobile phone used in most of the world—the United States typically employs CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) digital cellular technology. However, Canfield expects the United States to go the way of the rest of the world and adopt GSM. "Then, we will really be seeing our work take off here at home," he said.
Canfield explained that mobile phone smart cards utilize an SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card with a chip in it. "For instance, behind the battery in my phone, there is a little ID card with a 19-digit number on it that holds subscriber information. When the card is inserted, it allows the phone to authenticate through a network and identify the user. The card can be used in any enabled phone, allowing it to receive my calls and contain my phone book and all of the other applications I have on my phone. Technology that provides authentication onto a network not only simplifies billing, but it is also more convenient for users."