Integrated Card Technologies (ICT), the smartcard sister company of NamITech, part of the JSE Securities Exchange listed Nampak group, has announced it is the first company in SA to manufacture Mifare contactless smartcards. Mifare is the new, internationally recognised, standard for secure contactless smartcards.
Clive Handley, security specialist at NamITech, said the company has also developed its own Mifare contactless smartcard reader range, due to the lack of functionality of the current range of readers available internationally. The new readers are also manufactured locally.
"Although contactless smartcards are a new trend, it is already clear that contactless and traditional contact smartcards - which are currently still in wider use - will eventually converge and be incorporated into one dual interface smartcard," said Handley.
He said one of the problems with the traditional contactless cards is that they did not possess the same levels of security as contact-based smartcards.
"The new contactless smartcards are now able to provide the power and security to be used effectively and safely in a contactless environment." Contactless smartcards, which do not require a firm swipe, are suitable for a number of high volume/low value applications, including public transport and access control. Handley said contactless smartcards are being used for the public transport system in Seoul, Korea, "with a great degree of success". Over 14 million cards have already been issued.
"There are definitely opportunities for this new technology in South Africa," he said, "and this is one of the reasons why we are pioneering this new smartcard technology."
Continuing, Handley said NamITech intends to provide a one-stop solution to the marketplace: "You will be able to get the card from us, be assured that you will have the in-built security - thanks to a smartcard chip - and we will also be able to personalise the chip and card to exact client specifications. Our locally developed reader," he continued, "also has the ability to support the dual interface of the emerging contact/contactless smartcards. In fact, we are already using both technologies for access control at our secure VISA and MasterCard accredited facility in Linbro Park."