Upgrade International announced that UltraCard, Inc., a subsidiary of Upgrade, has signed a letter of intent with Giesecke & Devrient to form a strategic alliance for global manufacturing, marketing, and the development of new application and operating system software based upon the UltraCard technology platform.
The companies expect to complete a definitive agreement within the next 45 days.
Under this relationship, G&D will be the exclusive provider to UltraCard for card body design, assembly, production, embedding, initialization and personalization for the UltraCard. The pact also outlines joint efforts in product development and marketing for both companies’ products. G&D’s North American Headquarters is situated in Dulles, Virginia and UltraCard’s facility is in Los Gatos, California.
Over the last six months the global demand for high capacity, high security, and portable data storage has increased dramatically. Many organizations such as government, airline security, customs and immigration, transportation, health care, and industrial firms are searching for solutions that will enable them to conveniently store multiple levels of secure data in a credit card sized format. They are looking for technology that will also allow them to incorporate a variety of biometrics and other identification options, including complete fingerprints, iris scans, voice prints, photographs, digital signatures, and encryption keys. The new strategic alliance between G&D and UltraCard will provide the solution for the growing demand for card storage capacity and functionality. UltraCard’s patented method combines 20 megabytes of hard disk storage technology with an inexpensive read/write device in a highly durable credit card format. This combination will become the next generation in personal portable data storage with high levels of security and a vastly greater amount of storage at the lowest cost in the industry. When integrated with existing chip card and magnetic stripe card technology it opens up dramatic new application possibilities. According to Dan Kehoe, president and CEO of UltraCard, “Having an established global company of the magnitude of G&D as a partner will rapidly advance commercialization of the UltraCard. Furthermore, we consider G&D to be the premier company in the world in terms of quality card manufacturing and implementation of card solutions. We are thrilled and honored to be working with G&D and expect to have a long and fruitful relationship.” The UltraCard will enhance and augment G&D’s already extensive global offering of cards and card solutions currently used in over 80 countries worldwide. G&D is consistently ranked among the top three chip card manufacturers in the world, and was ranked as the number one provider of microprocessor cards worldwide by the Nilson Consumer Payment Report. Jim Frye, President, G&D Card Systems, United States and Canada, remarks, “G&D is dedicated to developing leading card innovations and solutions for the global marketplace. We are delighted to form this alliance with UltraCard, a recognized leading edge developer of portable data storage platforms. The extraordinary 20-megabyte storage capacity of the UltraCard technology will allow for many new and exciting end-to-end solutions, and delivers a new value-added software capability in the card industry.”
About Giesecke & Devrient:
Giesecke & Devrient is an internationally operating technology group. The organization is a leading supplier of banknotes and security documents, banknote and security paper and currency automation systems as well as cards, components and complete multi-functional smart card systems for electronic payments and telecommunications. The group also offers end-to-end solutions for security in eBusiness. Giesecke & Devrient employs over 7,100 people worldwide, and generates an annual revenue in excess of 1 Billion U.S. dollars. The North American headquarters of Giesecke & Devrient, located in Dulles, Virginia, houses the R&D technology center, sales, marketing and production facilities for both smart cards and currency automation systems. In addition, G&D operates full service card manufacturing facilities in Twinsburg, Ohio, Markham, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico that are certified by both VISA and MasterCard. These four facilities employ over 900 staff and the combined production capacity makes G&D one of the largest of any North American cards and card systems manufacturers.
For further information contact: John Atkinson, VP & General Manager of Smart Cards, United States and Canada Giesecke & Devrient America, Inc. 45925 Horseshoe Drive, Dulles, VA 20166 USA Phone 703/480-2000, Fax 703/480-2067[http://www.gdai.com]
About Upgrade International
Upgrade International Corp. through its ownership interest in UltraCard Inc., Efornet Corp., and cQue Corporation is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented ultra high capacity portable data storage technology. UltraCard’s patented method for using existing hard disk storage technology provides both highly durable media in a credit card format and an inexpensive read/write device that together will become the next generation in personal portable data storage for a broad range of existing and new markets. Management believes that the UltraCard technology will potentially provide numerous industrial users with a combination of high levels of security and a vastly greater amount of personal transportable data storage at the lowest cost in the industry. In addition the acquisition and development of existing SmartCard solution providers represents a strategic market strategy designed to accelerate the integration of the vastly superior technology inherent in the UltraCard into existing and newly developing markets.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Daniel S. Bland
President and Chief Executive Officer