PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ - Membership of the Smart Card Alliance, the not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding and widespread application of smart card technology, has grown by over 45 percent in the last year, with 54 new organizations becoming members.
The Alliance's rapid growth highlights the strong growth that is predicted for the smart card industry in the Americas. The Frost & Sullivan Americas Smart Card Market Analysis report published in September predicts that the smart card industry will grow rapidly in North America, at a 27.7 percent compound annual rate over the next five years, from the 132.2 million cards shipped in 2004. The report predicts even greater growth in Latin America, a 59 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, from 136.4 million cards shipped in 2004.
"As the smart card industry grows, we are growing with it," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "What is particularly exciting about this growth is that we are pulling members from new industries and technologies. This really demonstrates how widespread the adoption of smart cards is becoming."
Fast growing categories of new members include organizations involved in computer hardware and software, card technology, security products and services, healthcare, financial services and transportation.
In mainstream computer products and services, large blue-chip organizations that have joined the Alliance this year include Adobe Systems, Cisco Systems Inc, Sony Electronics and Sun Microsystems. They join existing computer products and systems integration members that include VeriSign, Lockheed Martin, IBM, RSA Security, Northrop Grumman and Unisys.
Card technology companies that provide secure chips, cards, operating software and devices such as Texas Instruments, Sharp, Inside Contactless and MULTOS have found value in the Alliance as the number of applications for smart cards in the Americas has increased.
Security and identity solutions providers, such as Viisage, LEGIC Identsystems, Digimarc Corporation, Identification Technology Partners, Inc., HIRSCH Electronics, Tyco Software House, GE Security, CoreStreet, and Lenel Systems, have joined with other security market leaders to work together in Smart Card Alliance industry councils. Likewise in healthcare, solutions providers Healthmeans, EMIDASI and Competech Smart Card Solutions have joined.
Smart cards for payment is another growth sector in the Americas. The United States is quickly becoming a leader in the adoption of contactless smart chip technology for fast and secure retail payments. New members in this sector include American Express, Chase Card Services, SMART System Technologies, PayZy Corporation and Visa Canada, who join existing members Visa USA, MasterCard International, Bank of America, First Data Corporation and JCB. POS terminal manufacturers Ingenico and Keycorp are new members, joining existing Alliance members VeriFone, Hypercom, ViVOtech and OTI.
Contactless payment is growing for transit as well. Major cities around the United States are moving to contactless smart card-based fare collection systems as they upgrade their payment infrastructure. New members in transportation and parking include ACS Government Solutions, Parcxmart Technologies, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, TriMet, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Utah Transit Authority.