Monday, November 9, 2009

Philippines needs Smart Card Technology to catch up with regional neighbours, say ALLCARD

The world is slowly migrating from close contact technology to the super convenient contactless smart technology. And the Philippines stands to lose in the ever-increasing connectivity game should it continues to use old mode technology, says a leading local card producer.

In an interview, Allcard Philippines marketing manager Franz Reyes says that countries around the world are adopting to the contactless smart card solutions to enhance services and transactions. Contactless card technology, which has been in existence for over two decades now, is being used by banks and relied upon by governments in enhancing their services. According to Reyes, most transactions around the world use secured smart card solutions technology, created for convenience and faster transactions. The technology has its own IT system, which, says Reyes, the Philippines has but is under-utilising.

“ The danger” says Reyes, who has been pioneering smart card technology for a decade now, “ the possibility of our system not being recognized by other countries which use contactless card technology. Asia is modernizing. With the possibility of ASEAN developing as a Regional economy, how can we Filipinos transact in, say Taiwan, Japan, Singapore or even Thailand if we don’t know have or we don’t know how to use contactless smart card technology?”

Contactless smart card technology, says Reyes, empowers the user to avail of the tremendous benefits of a fully interactive world. With just a swipe of the smart card, users instantaneously connect themselves to a system which allows them to do transactions. Users can modify or add information stored in a smart card’s 32 kb memory. Using a reader, the card can be read by a system and given user-privileges.

Credit card companies and banks first began using contactless smart card technology a decade ago. The potentials of the technology are enormous that governments are beginning to use it to enhance and improve public services.

The Kuwaiti government, for example, has issued 3 million electronic multi-application ID cards to its citizens as part of its efforts to comply with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regulation designed to allow citizens of all Gulf countries to travel between member states. The card serves as the official ID of a Kuwaiti citizen. The smart card is embedded with a 32kb memory chip secured and encrypted with the card users’ information. A plan to make the card a microprocessor is underway.

China is on the verge of completing its US$ 3.5 billion national ID smart card program. The program aims to provide 900 million smart cards to be used by Chinese citizens in their government transactions. Recently, China Expert Technology has received a US$57 million order for e-government systems in Fuzhou City in the Fujian province. China wants a contactless card security system.

Ninety six percent of Taiwanese are enjoying the benefits of a healthcare program using smart card technology. Since its implementation in 2005, Taiwan’s National Health Care Program has saved close to US$ 2.8 billion in health-related expenditures alone. Twenty two million Taiwanese enjoy free medical services with just a swipe of their contactless smart cards, connecting them to 17,000 medical facilities throughout the island state.

In Korea, construction is underway for the building of New Songdo City, a fully contactless card facility. Korea is spending US$ 25 billion to equip the city with a universal contactless smart card system. The system will enable Koreans to use smart cards to pay their bills, access medical records and even, open doors.

Asia, says Reyes, is fast modernizing and the Philippines has no choice but to catch up with super-high tech, convenience technology.

'If we don’t catch up with the rest of Asia, we might be totally left behind to our disadvantage. We need to start accepting smart card technology as a way to improve our quality of life, “adds Reyes.

All Card Plastic Philippines Incorporated is the leading Filipino card production company. Established in 2001, it is the fastest growing full card printing and production facility in the Philippines. Backed by state-of-the-art equipment powered by highly skilled and experienced production team, All Card Plastic Philippines services 9 out of 10 top banks and 2 out of 3 telecommunication companies in the country.