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Fast, faster, fastest!

Week 48, 2009

As we need to exchange an increasing amount of data at each transaction, speed is becoming a central issue in our industry. Several technologies are announced to improve transaction speed. Gemalto, Raisonance and the LETI won a Sesame award for their demonstration of Contactless VHDR, a Very High Data Rate standard, including physical implementation, protocol & tools (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #09-47). Tiempo demonstrated its asynchronous design technology that improves processing speed for contactless applications: they demonstrate a complete PayPass transaction in less than 60 ms (cf. Smart Card Industry section below). Some other vendors are improving the transaction speed for specific applications: Sagem Orga announced its eTravel solution allows to read a typical ePassport EAC profile in less than 3 seconds (cf. Government ID section below).

When hearing these announcements, we can all foresee ourselves not having to queue in endless lines to pay at cash registers, to pay for mass transit systems or to go through immigration controls. But, these developments are, so far, nice lab demonstrators. More R&D, meaning more means and time, is necessary for these projects to become industrially available. And even more time and money will be necessary to develop the appropriate environment: how could we benefit from a fast card if the card reader, the software, the database access, and the whole infrastructure remains slow. So development or industrialization may be the easiest part compared to standardization, and implementation on a wide scale of new, fast, safe, efficient protocols.

Before this is completed, we will see more nice and impressive demonstrations!

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights