June 2007

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Tokyo's Ginza Area to be covered with RFID Tags

The Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Project seeks to install RFID, infrared and wireless transmitters throughout Tokyo's Ginza area, which is the most famous shopping area in the capital. The project is supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MILT). It is one of several such projects that are currently taking place in Japan.

The system has a 3.5-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED) touch-panel display and a host of networking interfaces. There is RFID, infrared and 429MHz wireless for interacting with the beacons in the trial, wireless LAN for connection to the Internet and a Bluetooth link. It works by matching a unique code sent out by each beacon with data stored on a server on the Internet. The data is obtained automatically by the terminal using wirless LAN and requests the server, data relevant to the beacon that is being picked up. According to Ken Sakamura, Professor, University of Tokyo and the leader of the project, “The tags and transmitters will provide location-related information  to people carrying prototype readers”. It is being developed by Tokyo's Ubiquitous Computing Technology Center, which is a joint venture between the Japanese government and some of the country's largest high-tech companies including Fujitsu, NEC, Hitachi and NTT East. 

Smart Card Alliance for Identity Management

With the increasing security breaches around the globe, private and government organisations are recognising the need to strengthen IT security through smart cards, tokens and new software solutions. A full-day educational session on trends in cybersecurity and identity management was organised by The Smart Card Alliance on May 16th 2007 at the SecurTech 2007 conference, part of CardTech/SecurTech (CTST) 2007. Vanderhoof, Executive Director, Smart Card Alliance, moderated the session, 'Advance ID management and cybersecurity', with speakers from top solution provider and user organisations.

Some of the key topics discussed included: Smart cards, tokens and software, identity management on desktops and servers, shared services for identity management, card management systems, department of defense Common Access Card (CAC) program etc. The session was attended by smart card alliance members and top IT professionals. CardTech/SecurTech  is America's largest advanced card and biometrics conference, covering secure transaction technology, contactless cards and IT/physical access security convergence. CardTech focuses on transaction technology used by the identification industry while SecurTech addresses every aspect of logical and physical access security.

Taiwan aims for More Private Sector Investment in RFID

Taiwan government aims to get 11.4 percent more private investment with more focus on radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies this year. According to the report released by the government, the major focus of the government in attracting private investment would be on RFID technologies, including chip modules and Gen2 Tags, or ultra-high-frequency chips developed around the EPCglobal standard for second-generation EPC technology. EPCglobal is a non-profit group set up to maintain barcode standards and commercialize related technologies.

Taiwan made New Taiwanese (NT) $ 814 million worth of RFID products last year which is up by 15.3 percent compared to the previous year. The report also predicts that the chip and liquid crystal display (LCD) industries are expected to boom in the high-tech sector in the coming years. Various major private high-tech companies of the island are planning to increase their investment on RFID and other latest technologies.

OTI Captures Kenyan Smart Card Market

The Fort Lee, U.S based On Track Innovations Ltd. (OTI) has entered smartly into the Kenyan smart cards market. OTI has received order for 100,000 smart cards and 200 smart card readers from Smart Applications International Ltd. of Kenya, a health-care solutions company. The card will contain the personal, portable database of medical information which will act as an alternative to the paper records.

“The cards are much like credit cards but contain a microprocessor instead of a magnetic strip that needs to be swiped. In the Kenya deal, OTI is paid a set amount per card delivered and a monthly license or user fee” said Oded Bashan, OTI Chairman. OTI entered into Africa six years ago when it started it's South African office to work on a project that used contactless technology to record gas sales to vehicle fleets, he added.

Royal Bank of Scotland goes for Xiring Smart Card Readers

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will distribute handheld authenti-cation solutions developed by French vendor Xiring to its online retail banking customers. Xiring will provide Xi-Sign 4000 for Apacs portable standalone EMV-enabled smart card readers to RBS's customers. It can be used to access web banking accounts. Whenever the smart card is inserted into the reader, it asks for the four digit PIN code for verification. After the verification, the reader displays a eight digit one-time-password valid for a single transaction when accessing web banking accounts.

Xiring will provide fulfilment services and distribution to RBS retail customers. According to Xiring, RBS contract is a key milstone in its development strategy. Earlier, Barclays bank announced that it was issuing handheld chip and PIN readers developed by Gemalto to its customers to enable  online banking.

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