COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: October 2001 (es)

AST enters the smartcard arena

1 October 2001

The JSE-listed AST Group has acquired Nemotech, a leading smartcard solutions provider. The acquisition will spearhead AST's entry into the smartcard solutions business. Nemotech will in the future trade as AST Smart Card Solutions and will form part of AST's Identification and Security Solutions.
"Interest in smartcards from the banking and financial sectors has picked up following chip-card announcements by American Express and Visa International," says Kobus Duvenhage, MD of AST Smart Card Solutions. "We see a growth in smartcards as online security requirements are expected to boost card demand, and improved technology are rewriting the cost-benefit arguments that have traditionally weighed against smartcards."
Nemotech is the exclusive licence holder of Touch Technology International's CardTouch and PocketServer platforms for Sub-Sahara Africa. CardTouch is the industry's only second-generation smartcard/electronic purse and back-end processing platform, which can be leveraged across multiple vertical markets by incorporating the common functionality needed in all smartcard systems. However, AST Smart Card Solutions is card and hardware-independent.
Turning smart devices into smart personal databases
TTI's CardTouch integrates multiple card, device and payment types into a highly scalable back-end transaction processing system. On the front end, TTI's PocketServer provides a multi-application platform for smart cards, smart tokens and mobile devices. PocketServer turns smart devices into smart personal databases.
"Multi-application cards allow for a value-added approach by including such things as online authentication, including biometrics and access, and customer-loyalty programs," says Danie Bischoff, MD of AST Identification and Security Solutions. "This reduces the cost per application that the card is used for and provides merchants the incentive to invest in the terminals needed to read the cards."
One of the major potential uses for smart cards, apart from financial transactions, is in network security, particularly as companies build public key infrastructures. Cards are seen as the ideal vehicle for carrying the digital certificates and private keys that individuals will need to operate within a PKI. With regards to network security, AST Smart Card Solutions will work closely with AST Security Management, the enterprise security solutions and services unit of AST Identification and Security Solutions.
For details contact Denise Stanton of AST on tel: (012) 674 7650, fax: (012) 663 9388 or e-mail: denise.stanton@ast.co.za


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