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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Smart Cards seminar

It has been said that smart cards will one day be as important as computers are today. This statement contains a bit of an error because it implies that smart cards are not computers, when in fact, they are. Because smart cards are indeed tiny computers, it’s difficult to predict the variety of applications that will be possible with them in the future. It’s quite possible that smart cards will follow the same trend of rapid increases in processing power that computers have, following "Moore’s Law" and doubling in performance while halving in cost every eighteen months.

Smart cards have proven to be quite useful as a transaction/authorization/identification medium in European countries. As their capabilities grow, they could become the ultimate thin client, eventually replacing all of the things we carry around in our wallets, including credit cards, licenses, cash, and even family photographs. By containing various identification certificates, smart cards could be used to voluntarily identify attributes of ourselves no matter where we are or to which computer network we are attached. According to Dataquest, the worldwide smart card market has grown 4.7 Billion units and $6.8 Billion by 2002.

We live in a world of fast-moving technical change. This is perhaps particularly relevant and challenging when related to smart cards, where hundreds of thousands of card-reading terminals need to be available, and tens of millions of smart cards need to be deployed, all with a potential life of several years. Forwards compatibility, and cross border and cross scheme interoperability is increasingly difficult to maintain against the background of rapid chip technology development. EEPROM may give way to faster and longer-lived Flash memory. Voltages for powering smart cards are reducing almost annually. Security technologies demand ever-faster processing power.

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