For many of us, smart cards are now part of our daily lives. We rely on the technology to catch a bus, enter our office buildings, access our computers at work and grab a snack from the vending machine.
And as smart card technology continues to evolve, new and imaginative ideas for smart card applications are swiftly becoming a reality.
A case in point: A local city government in South Africa was faced with security and efficiency challenges around its public parking spaces. Through an HID Global pilot program, motorists can now purchase a pre-loaded city parking card from retail outlets and after parking, the driver presents his/her city parking card to parking attendant who carries a GPS-enabled mobile reader. The reader sends an electronic message to the central station confirming that a vehicle will be parked on a particular street for a set period of time. When that time is up, a message is sent from the central station back to the parking attendant’s mobile reader indicating that the vehicle has outstayed its allotted time slot. The parking attendant can then return to ticket the car if necessary.
Another new and interesting use of smart card technology is in hospitals to make dispensing medicine to patients more secure. For example, a medicine cabinet would be fitted with reader technology and then wirelessly connected to software that links to personal dosage information stored on an RFID wristband. So if a patient needs to take one tablet at six o’clock in the morning, the software will communicate with the cabinet to indicate that the patient needs to access their medicine. The patient then presents their wristband to the cabinet reader, allowing them to open it and take their prescribed medication at the correct time.
Smart card technology is also getting attention from the fleet management sector, where RFID is already being installed in rental cars. The idea is that a rental car could be parked on the street corner and is accessed simply by presenting an RFID-enabled card to a reader installed in the window screen. With HID technology, HID Global’s partners are working with some major car rental companies interested in leveraging the benefits of this technology to streamline the management of their fleets.
The scope for smart card technology to improve access control and increase efficiencies and convenience is virtually unbounded. As we continue to search for ways to run our busy lives more safely and smoothly, it seems likely that the potential for smart cards to help us do just that will be limited only by our imagination.
This means staying close to customer requirements, mastering the art of listening and synthesizing customer input into innovations.
This was one the many interesting points made on the topic of innovation during the recent ISC West panel discussion, moderated by Holly Sacks, HID Global's Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Strategy. To learn more about how HID Global is "Driving Innovation in Secure Identity" please read my previous blog post. The panel comprised the following key security industry players, including consultants, integrators and manufacturers, who discussed the meaning of innovation to their business today and in the future.
Dick Clark, Director of Smart Media Innovations Ltd.
Rob Hile, Director of Integrated Security Systems at Siemens Building Technologies
Martin Huddart, Vice President of Electronic Technologies of ASSA ABLOY Americas
Chad Parris, Senior Consultant of Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc.
Selva Selvaratnam, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of HID Global
Gary B. Smith, President and Owner of ColorID
Now to set the stage, here's one of the questions posed that many could see as a fairly basic one:
"Does 'new' necessarily equal innovation?"
But the answer is not quite what you might think.
Though many agreed that innovation has been traditionally associated with technology breakthroughs, it was clear that in the panelists' opinions, innovation means more that in today's market. "Innovation for the sake of being innovative just doesn't cut it anymore", said an integrator/manufacturer panelist. "I think the companies that are innovative in their approach to solve customer challenges are the companies that are demonstrating innovation."
So what did the panelist see as the active areas of customer- and technology-driven innovation moving forward?
A few panelists talked about the excitement they are seeing around configuring credentials and multiple applications on different form factors, such mobile phones, where this shift can completely change the industry's perspective on innovations down the road.
And Dr. Selvaratnam honed-in on the fact that we are now in the decade of interconnectivity, where all of the different technologies in the field must seamlessly talk to each other, and where interconnectivity implies interoperability and open standards in order to meet evolving customer requirements.
"We are right at the tipping point where working together as a group, all of us - consultants, integrators, and manufacturers - will bring relevance and innovation to the industry as we move forward", said Selvaratnam.
This need for increased interconnectivity was shared by the consultant and integrator panelists as well. Some discussed the evolution and continued investment in IP technology that is pushing intelligence to the edge with multiple applications on a single credential. This level of interconnectivity across a unified platform and the evolution of interoperable standards, panelists stated, will also facilitate the ease of integration and lower cost of ownership for customers.
Interconnectivity and collaborative self configuration - where collaborating so the transfer of relevant information between technologies IS the new technology -- is also part of new paradigm as we move forward, Dr. Selvaratnam summed up.
Stay tuned for more blogging on recently-released market trends research that further investigates innovation in the security industry and what customers are saying about it.
To quote Aneesh Chopra, who last year was appointed the nation’s first Federal Chief Technology Officer, “You can’t innovate without taking a gamble every now and then.”
These were apt words for the many security professionals who converged in Las Vegas this month at HID Global’s annual strategy briefing, where president and CEO Denis Hébert presented HID Global's innovative strategies that provide significant advances in secure-access and identity-management technology, products, solutions and programs.
During the briefing, Denis discussed the company’s strategy as the industry looks forward to business recovery and an improved economic climate in 2010. By most accounts, a recovery is underway, and Denis said that HID and other companies can speed up recovery by accelerating innovation. The security industry might not be as broadly known for driving innovation as other industries, but HID and its Advantage HID Channel Partners are going to change that!
For HID, it all starts with a core group of key technology tenets, including making sure that there is a comprehensive ecosystem of interoperable solutions, as enabling virtualization through things such as near field communication (NFC), which lets a mobile phone to be used as a credential. “Our world is changing, and these types of solutions are becoming a reality,” Denis explained. “It's not just somebody's pipedream. The whole concept of end-to-end secure transactions should apply to the security industry.”
What is the future of secure identity? One of the new initiatives and platforms that HID Global will be launching later this year is its new Trusted Identity Platform™, or TIP, which is an innovative framework for the future delivery of secure products and services. In short, it’s a secure identity system that is based on a chain of custody, in which all end points in a system or network are validated so that identity transactions between them can be trusted at anytime, on demand. “We believe this is the future of the physical security world,” Denis said.
Stay tuned for Part 2 that will share the perspectives from six distinguished panelists during ISC West, hosted by Holly Sacks.
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