Diebold agreed yesterday to add multimedia playback to the company’s latest ATMs utilizing Sigma Designs’ ‘REALmagic MPEG-1’ technology. The ‘REALmagic MPEG-1’ card plays MPEG-1 video at full screen and guarantees 30 frames per second with CD-quality audio. The card is widely used for video kiosk applications and network video-on-demand services.Details
Hong Kong is well positioned to become the worldwide model for payment technologies said MasterCard President and CEO Robert W. Selander. With its early adoption of new technology, Hong Kong is currently the only market in the world testing both MasterCard electronic commerce and chip card programs with consumers.
During this trip, Selander will meet with government officials and senior executives of some of the world’s largest financial institutions to discuss MasterCard’s strategy for helping move the payment industry to the next stage of development. On the immediate horizon is the integration of chip cards and Mondex electronic cash into the mainstream cards business and maximizing the potential of electronic commerce.
“Hong Kong has long been the financial window of China and its role in the payments industry has been as a driver and test-bed of new technology,” Selander said. “Hong Kong is the leading example of a market taking the initiative to bring new technologies to market to improve the payments infrastructure and consumer choice.”
Selander went on to say that knowledge transfer from Hong Kong to Greater China and the rest of the globe will be a critical driver in how the world evolves in the adoption of new payment methods.
Selander cited several recent initiatives will help set the stage for rapid movement:
· With a 51% stake in Mondex International, MasterCard has the most advanced and secure electronic cash product in the world. In addition, a core part of MasterCard’s chip strategy is MULTOSâan open, multi-application operating system that will make multi-function lifestyle cards a reality.
· Mondex Asia has been formed as a subsidiary company set up to bring Mondex electronic cash to market in 13 countries/territories in Asia. The Mondex pilot in Hong Kong is set to expand very shortly to a Hong Kong-wide initiative.
· MasterCard has more electronic commerce pilots going on in Asia than anywhere else in the world, so the region is poised for explosive growth. Recently, MasterCard launched its sixth electronic commerce pilot in the Asia/Pacific region in Hong Kong.
· Maestro, MasterCard’s on-line debit program, has experienced tremendous growth in the five years since its launch. Today, there are more than 100 million Maestro cards around the world, 32 million of those in Asia/Pacific.
“Just as markets such as Hong Kong have evolved over the years, so too has MasterCard,” said Selander. “Fifteen years ago, MasterCard was perceived as a US-based credit card company. Today, clearly, we are a global payments company, and no where is that more evident than in Hong Kong,” he added.Details
William H. Higgins has been named president of Retriever Payment Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha. Mr. Higgins, who has been with First National Bank for over 10 years, was promoted from his current position as Sr. Vice President.
“Under Bill Higgins’ leadership, Retriever Payment Systems will strengthen our #6 position in the bank card acquiring marketplace,” comments Elias Eliopoulos, executive vice president of First National Bank of Omaha. “With his excellent background and tenure in the credit card industry, we are confident that Bill will surpass our expectations.”
Retriever’s corporate office, located in Houston, Texas, provides full customer service and support for 100 plus sales organizations representing over 1,000 salespeople.
“Our vision is to become a world class direct sales and marketing transaction acquisition company by focusing on our people, customers, service and quality, and by exceeding industry standards in all areas of performance,” stated Higgins.
Retriever Payment Systems was founded in 1986 and is a leader in the merchant credit card processing industry. Retriever provides service, support, and proprietary terminal software applications for a diverse range of industries including traditional retail, start-up, Internet, mail and telephone order. In 1993, Retriever became a wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha.
Founded in 1863, First National Bank of Omaha is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence. First National has more than 6.5 million customers, more than $7.9 billion in assets, is a top 25 Visa and MasterCard issuer and ranks 6th as a Visa and MasterCard processor.
First National Bank of Omaha is an active creator and marketer of traditional and innovative banking services, serving the financial needs of both Fortune 500 companies, as well as local, mom-and-pop corner stores.
First of Omaha Merchant Processing, a wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha, contracts with merchants to process credit, debit and other forms of payment. First of Omaha authorizes and settles transactions and pays merchants for these sales.
Ranking 6th as a national credit card processor, First of Omaha is the 2nd largest in-house bank processor in the country with over 92,000 locations in all fifty states. First of 0maha has experienced an average yearly increase in credit card sales volume of 28% since 1987. Credit card sales volume in 1996 was $15.7 billion representing 224 million credit card transactions.
First of Omaha Merchant Processing operates out of six major cities in addition to the national headquarters in Omaha: Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Houston.Details
Sen. Leonard J. Bodack (D-Allegheny) has renewed his call for action on legislation (SB 21) to ban automated teller machine (ATM) surcharge fees in Pennsylvania.
Bodack, in a letter to Sen. Edwin G. Holl (R-Montgomery), the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, said it was “long past time” for Holl’s committee to “release” the anti-surcharge, pro- consumer legislation to the full Senate for debate and action.
Noting that it’s been “well over a year” since he and Sen. Albert V. Belan first introduced a bill to stop financial institutions from “double charging” consumers for ATM services, Bodack, the Senate Democratic Whip, said the facts remain the same.
“About the only thing that has changed over the course of the past year is that the price-gouging practice of ATM surcharging has spread like wildfire, and many, many more consumers, small banks and credit unions are getting burned,” Bodack wrote Holl.
He cited a federal General Accounting Office (GAO) report that found ATM surcharges nationwide had more than tripled in a 14-month study that ended in February. The GAO report also discovered a 320 percent increase in the number of ATMs that surcharge, from 15,400 to 64,400 machines, with big banks more likely to impose the surcharge than smaller banks.
Meanwhile, Bodack said the number of surcharging ATMs operated through the MAC network, the predominant regional ATM network serving Pennsylvania, has nearly doubled from only 31 percent in October, 1996, to approximately 60 percent of all MAC machines today (Source: PA Credit Union League).
And Bodack reiterated that the “excuses” espoused by the larger financial institutions that launched the ATM surcharge “steamroller” don’t hold up against the facts.
He said institutions that impose the ATM surcharge already get, and are continuing to receive, a “network interchange payment” to cover the cost of ATM service to customers whose ATM cards and accounts are with other institutions.
Further, Bodack added, the ATM surcharge continues to pose a serious competitive threat to small community-based banks, savings institutions and credit unions.
“After buying into a shared network ATM strategy over the past 20 years,” Bodack said, hundreds of smaller financial institutions “are now being hurt badly by a change in the rules in the middle of the game.”
Bodack and others, including the Pennsylvania Credit Union League, numerous individual community banks and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, contend that the large banks — which own most of the ATMs — are using the extra charge on non-customers of their institutions as part of an unfair scheme to entice small bank consumers to become big bank customers.
“ATM surcharging not only penalizes consumers if they don’t have accounts with the largest ATM-owner banks, but it has brought about a perverse form of competition, driving rival institutions out of business by increasing consumer costs. Under a fair and free market for competitive banking services, consumers should be enjoying reduced costs; certainly not ever- increasing and higher fees,” Bodack said.
In his letter to Holl, Bodack said consumer “outrage” over ATM surcharging, “contrary to what some surcharging institutions had hoped”, has “not subsided” but, in fact, has increased throughout Pennsylvania and the nation.
He cited the recent introduction in the state House of nearly identical legislation to ban ATM surcharge fees by state Rep. Eugene McGill, a Republican from Sen. Holl’s own Montgomery County. And Bodack said similar anti-ATM surcharge efforts are gaining momentum in at least 12 other states and in Washington, D.C.
Connecticut and Iowa already outlaw the ATM surcharge; state bans, Bodack noted, that apply to both state and federally-chartered financial institutions.
“It’s time for Pennsylvania to stand on the side of its consumers, and to stand up for a fair, free and competitive market for banking services within our borders.
“It’s time to act affirmatively on legislation to outlaw the anti- competitive and profit-padding ATM surcharge,” Bodack said.Details
iCat Europe Ltd, the leading electronic commerce software developer, together with Internet strategist Commerce Direct Ltd and specialist e-commerce solutions developer Citygate, unveils a unique, no risk, multi-currency business initiative. The Commerce Direct initiative is designed to help UK businesses sell their products to North America using the best available marketing methods and secure automated transaction processing services.
“There are huge opportunities now for the right type of company to sell into the US. Our studies show there are at least twice as many households online in the States as in the UK,” says David Aldridge, vice president and general manager of iCat Europe. “Traditional, handmade British products are in great demand because they are difficult to obtain locally and thus very expensive. Our proposition to these types of businesses is to try it out first to see if their products sell and then invest in a well designed online store or catalogue.”
“This initiative involves a ‘proof of concept’ phase, a period of up to three months, during which time the company can assess free of charge how well its products or services are selling,” says Donald Bent, managing director of Commerce Direct Ltd. “A transaction charge is made, but as this only applies to any sales during this phase, the company minimises its exposure. We are the first company in the UK to offer such a low cost ‘proof of concept’ solution.”
Commerce Direct Ltd provides its clients with full marketing support, including the sourcing of locally based distributors to ensure overheads are kept to a minimum. Once clients are satisfied with the sales made during the ‘proof of concept’ stage, a custom-built store or catalogue is built using iCat’s Electronic Commerce Suite.
“Prior to teaming up with iCat, Commerce Direct was actively looking for a suitable software developer to work in partnership with. iCat was selected because we felt it was the best industrial strength tool on the market and would be very easy for our clients to maintain pricing. For example, merchants can change their prices and give special offers world-wide in minutes. Try doing that with a traditional catalogue,” says Bent.
Commerce Direct has now formed a business partnership with iCat development partner Citygate, to develop and host the webstores and catalogues participating in this initiative. Citygate has designed successful e-commerce sites for a wide range of companies. These include Toys R Us, Reed Elsevier, GB Posters and Touchstone Exhibitions.
About Commerce Direct Ltd
Specialising in Internet marketing and secure electronic commerce solutions, Commerce Direct helps companies take their first steps towards selling their products on the Internet. Its customers are selected for Proof of Concept trials only when both parties are happy that most if not all criteria for success are in place. It discovered early on, that the companies with the best products for Internet sales almost invariably lacked the resources or inclination to provide the specialist marketing, computer systems or transaction processing services to ensure success: hence the initiative. Commerce Direct also advises on the growing number of DTI schemes to assist UK businesses to capitalise on e- commerce opportunities.
Citygate is a systems integrator with extensive experience in providing digital prepress and publishing solutions. This expertise is extended to encompass Internet publishing solutions through the company’s specialist knowledge of integrating cross platform Internet/intranet technologies and web commerce. Citygate is a “full service” Internet provider and an approved hosting distributor and developer for the iCat Electronic Commerce Software suite, which was used to create the Apple on-line catalogue site.
Citygate is a member of the Apple Publishing Alliance, a UK wide, focussed team of Apple-accredited resellers who are experts in the publishing and creative communications marketplace. Each member sustains a high level of skill, knowledge and experience to facilitate comprehensive and tailored solutions in addition to expert pre and post-sales support services.
iCat Corporation, founded in 1993 and based in Seattle, Washington, delivers the most complete, powerful, and flexible electronic commerce solution for creating the best retail environments and catalogues on the Web. Privately held, the company has technology and marketing relationships with Open Market Inc., Checkfree Corporation, First Virtual, EDS, CyberCash and others. Internationally, iCat Europe, Ltd. has established sales and marketing operations in UK, France, and Germany; the products are also distributed in Japan by Trans Cosmos International. iCat Corporation is at the forefront of creating industry standards for electronic commerce and is currently a member of a number of professional Internet organisations, including the World Wide Web Consortium, CommerceNet and the Association for Retailing Standards.Details
INTERSHOP Communications and Open Market Inc., two leading providers of electronic commerce software, today announced the signing of a worldwide joint marketing agreement to market their products to telecommunication companies and commerce service providers.
The partnership is expected to combine the strengths of two industry leaders to provide more Internet commerce options to customers.
The cooperation between INTERSHOP and Open Market is designed to deliver the best possible tools for developing customized eCommerce applications. As an ISV, INTERSHOP will develop software to integrate the unique point-of-sales features of INTERSHOP Mall, the first and only packaged multi-store eCommerce solution, with Open Market’s award-winning Transact(TM) software providing the functionality for secure online business transactions.
Furthermore, the agreement covers mutual customer referral, participation in joint marketing
activities and sales calls, product branding and trainings for sales and support staff. INTERSHOP will also market its electronic commerce products to Open Market’s Web developer channel.
“The alliance between Open Market and INTERSHOP strategically targets service providers,” stated Petra Vorsteher, INTERSHOP’s VP of Strategic Alliances and Business Development. “The integration of our products offers them an infinitely scalable solution to serve small merchants as well as Fortune 500 corporations.”
“We are very pleased INTERSHOP has agreed to integrate its powerful catalog capabilities with our award-winning Transact(TM) Internet commerce software,” stated Gary Eichhorn, president and CEO of Open Market Inc. “These strengths are important to the success of many of our worldwide customers.”
Open Market Inc.
Founded in 1994, Open Market Inc., (NASDAQ:OMKT – news) develops, markets, licenses, and supports high-performance software products that allow its customers to engage in business-to-consumer and business-to-business Internet commerce. Open Market’s innovative technology enables the separation of the management of business transactions from the management of content, thereby allowing companies to securely, centrally, and efficiently manage business transactions over the Web. The company, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., can be reached at 617/949-7000 and on the World Wide Web at .
INTERSHOP Communications Inc.
INTERSHOP Communications Inc. is the world’s paramount provider of electronic commerce software is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Germany, France and the U.K. Founded in Germany in 1992, INTERSHOP develops, publishes and distributes standard and custom software, offering a full spectrum of electronic commerce solutions. INTERSHOP Communications markets to Fortune 500 enterprises such as Hewlett-Packard and Siemens Nixdorf.
Value Added Resellers, and large Internet Service Providers such as Deutsche Telekom select INTERSHOP as their core-technology to build thousands of online stores for small and mid-size merchants. INTERSHOP’s standard products, single-store INTERSHOP Online and multi-store INTERSHOP Mall, include all components to design and operate complete front-to-back electronic commerce solutions. INTERSHOP applications are proven in key markets including business-to-business, business-to-consumer, supply-intranets, or extranets.Details
TresCom International Communications announced today that its new “Win-Win Affinity Program” with non-profit organizations has been so successful that the company is rapidly expanding the program both domestically and offshore.
TresCom’s WIN-WIN Affinity programs are each custom designed to meet particular organization’s specific needs. For example, Swedish American Chamber of Commerce members consolidate buying power and achieve incredibly low rates on long distance service to Europe. According to Chamber Executive Coordinator, Peter Persson, “While the chamber is pleased to earn the commission, the important thing is that we provide a valuable service to members. The rates TresCom provides members to Sweden are extremely competitive”.
“The beauty of our Win-Win programs is that non-profit organizations win by raising funds and getting great telephone rates while TresCom signs more subscribers for its long distance and prepaid phone card services”, said TresCom’s Community Development Manager Kathy Haines. A percentage of revenues from participant’s long distance service is returned directly to the non-profit organization. Meanwhile, other non-profits ranging from elementary schools to community associations can keep up to 50% of the proceeds from prepaid calling cards sold as fund-raisers.
The latest non-profit organization to participate in The WIN-WIN Affinity Program is “Amigos Together for Kids”, a charitable organization whose mission is to bring joy and assistance to South Florida’s most disadvantaged children. Other “WIN-WIN” Programs are being designed and launched all over the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to help church organizations, chambers of commerce and other associations.
TresCom is one of America’s fastest growing facilities-based international communications companies with service to more than 230 countries. While building its network worldwide, TresCom specializes in the dynamic and profitable Caribbean and Latin American markets and strategically has secured an equity position in every major submarine fiber optic cable serving the region. The company offers a broad array of competitively-priced services, including international and domestic long distance, travel and prepaid calling cards, operator services, call centers, and frame relay service.Details
CyberGold, Inc., the first “pay-for-performance” Internet marketing company, now offers AT&T WorldNet(R) Service on its Web site (), enabling new subscribers to the nation’s largest direct Internet service provider to receive $10 cash upon signing up.
Consumers who sign up with AT&T WorldNet Service through the CyberGold Web site receive the first month of Internet service free* and earn ten dollars from CyberGold after their first paid month.
After receiving their reward, AT&T WorldNet Service subscribers can spend the $10 in a variety of ways. For example, they can transfer their money to a real-world bank account, deposit it into a personal Visa account, spend it online, or donate the money to one of several nonprofit organizations that appear on the CyberGold site. Alternatively, they can leave it in their CyberGold account until they’ve accumulated a larger amount of money by responding to other CyberGold offers.
“CyberGold is an innovative company that has tapped into the Web’s great potential for marketing to and rewarding consumers,” said Dean Colantino, director, Alliance Marketing, AT&T WorldNet Service. “Now, AT&T WorldNet Service subscribers can directly benefit from what CyberGold is offering.”
“Our offer to WorldNet Service subscribers is one of CyberGold’s largest and most exciting,” said Nat Goldhaber, president of CyberGold. “By sharing program dollars with consumers, CyberGold is not only affirming that their attention is valuable; it is acting as a consumer advocate on the Web.”
About CyberGold, Inc.
CyberGold launched its innovative “pay for performance” marketing product in April 1997. Recently profiled in TIME Magazine (10/20/97), CyberGold offers a “win-win” situation to both consumers and marketers. Consumers receive real cash for paying attention to marketing messages; advertisers receive a measured response to their Internet advertisements.
CyberGold is a privately held company in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1995 by Nat Goldhaber with backing from Jay Chiat, Regis McKenna and Peter Sealey. For more information, visit
About AT&T WorldNet(R) Service
Since its debut in March 1996, AT&T WorldNet Service has become the largest Internet service provider in the US focused on Internet access, serving nearly one million subscribers. It has been recognized as an industry benchmark for reliable Internet access, and as a service to its customers, provides measurements of its performance on its Web site. AT&T WorldNet Service has designed a unique service that enables customers to get to and use material from leading content providers in a way best suited to each individual’s needs. Also featured are newsgroups, search engines, navigational tools, e-mail and resources to create personal Web pages. AT&T WorldNet Service was selected as the top Internet service provider by Smart Money (5/97) magazine and PCWorld (7/97), with both publications citing its outstanding reliability.
AT&T WorldNet Service software for Windows 95, Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups and Macintosh is available by download free of charge from the public AT&T WorldNet Web site () and from the AT&T Corporate Web site () or by calling 800-WORLDNET.
Internet users can also download the CyberGold-enriched offer from http://www.CyberGold.com, or from CyberGold display partner Web sites including BigBook () and Digital Music Network ().Details
From quilters to cigar makers to big-time retailers, almost every merchant can find new customers on the Internet. PC Magazine, the nation’s largest computer magazine, includes a special e-shopping feature in their upcoming November 18th issue that evaluates all the tools cyber-shopkeepers need as well as the magazine’s top 30 retail web sites for both good examples and good bargains.
In order to test the major packages for creating Web stores, PC Magazine testers created a dozen clothing stores to see how easy it was to create, as well as how robust they are for supporting and maintaining the site.
“For small and mid-sized businesses, setting up an electronic storefront has been an expensive proposition,” said Michael Miller, editor-in-chief. “Now though, there are a number of software solutions for every sized business and we put each to the PC Labs’ test,” he added.
In “Open for Business,” PC Magazine reviews twelve web storefront creation software packages from those designed for small businesses to packages designed for larger retailers with more inventory. Some of the newest storefront creation packages are geared for small to mid-sized retail businesses and many are hosted by the vendor or an Internet service provider (ISP) for easy management.
“Most of the major retail sites on the Web today cost $100,000 or more to create,” said Diane Jecker, project editor for the feature. “With these packages, small businesses can build sophisticated sites for a fraction of that cost,” she added.
For small businesses thinking about reaching cyber-shoppers this holiday season — its not too late, noted Miller. PC Magazine gave its coveted Editors’ Choice Award to Viaweb Store 3.0 which lets users build a Web store in less than 10 minutes. Because Viaweb is solely vendor-hosted, merchants need only an Internet connection and a browser to develop their store. The editors also cite Viaweb’s strong editing, publishing and reporting features as well as affordable pricing as important factors in making it an Editors’ Choice.
For larger stores, PC Magazine recommends Electronic Commerce 3.0, Professional Edition from iCat and gave it the Editors’ Choice. The editors cited the programs great selection of storefront templates as well as strong database support and the ability to administer the site remotely via a browser. More full-scale packages like Electronic Commerce offer transaction and security features that let users take all types of payments as well as calculate charges; and administration and sales management features, allowing users to analyze data such as visitor tracking and generate sales reports.
PC Magazine’s Tips For Would-be Cyber Merchants
— Look for Web storefront creation software that integrate the various components of a storefront together: web server, store administrator, database server, shopping carts, order processing, site analysis/reporting and links to old legacy systems if needed.
— Visit the thirty top retail Web sites chosen by PC Magazine for ideas on design and implementation
— Creating a customized store takes some work, regardless of the tools. Don’t try to do it from scratch — start with the sample stores provided.
— Don’t overlook the entry-level storefront packages even if you are a bigger operation. Many are capable of producing pretty slick sites with far less aggravation.
— Small shop owners should look at the offerings of online services such as America Online. They host your site so you don’t need your own servers, and provide templates to help you build your store. They also provide grocery cart and credit card transaction processing features.
— Larger businesses should also look to the major ISPs that provide shared server services as well as secure transaction processing and good site development tools.Details
iPass Inc. today announced G. Bradford Solso as its new chief financial officer.
Solso, the former senior vice president of Visa International, is responsible for all finance and administration functions for iPass and its worldwide Internet-based transaction settlement services. The iPass third-party settlement service enables global Internet roaming for ISPs and global remote intranet access for enterprises. Solso is also responsible for developing the company’s investor relations program.
“We have been diligently and patiently searching for a candidate with Brad’s expertise for quite some time,” said Chris Moore, iPass president and CEO. “Brad’s experience in managing organizational growth and high-volume transaction settlement services and his broad knowledge-base in finance, operations and marketing will play a critical role in the strategic and business planning for the entire company.”
While at Visa International, Solso’s primary responsibilities included managing high-volume financial settlement operations, capital market activities and investor relations. In his previous position at Visa, Solso managed settlement volume growth of over 20 percent compounded annually reaching in excess of $2 billion per day and supported a market of 173 currencies.
“I am excited to join the iPass team and support the rapid growth of its global service,” Solso said. “iPass, like Visa, was established on a secure, scaleable authorization and settlement architecture and a foundation of relationships with service providers worldwide to enable them to provide seamless global access services for their customers. Settlement management is really all about bringing these participants together to facilitate their ability to immediately become global access providers without complex relationships with hundreds of other providers.”
The iPass service, a third-party authorization and settlement utility, helps ISPs fill their natural gaps in service coverage by leveraging the network infrastructure of hundreds of other ISP participants around the world. ISPs must only maintain one relationship with iPass and they gain access to the Internet through the world’s largest network.
The service includes user authorization, settlement, accounting and usage reporting between these participants and creates a simple, economical, highly secure and scaleable solution for ISPs to avoid otherwise complex and expensive multilateral service relationships.
The iPass service is made possible through the ISP participants worldwide and the iPass authentication and accounting technology, which works with central transaction centers to securely route authentication requests between participants and track Internet usage of each subscriber.
Solso’s expertise expands beyond settlement management to his experience as Vice President and General Manager of Field Operations at C-ats Software in Palo Alto, Calif., where he was responsible for all sales and customer support functions for the multi-national, public software company.
iPass is the worldwide leader of secure third-party settlement for Internet-based services including global Internet roaming, remote access to corporate networks and emerging applications. iPass enables ACCESS ANYWHERE with a local call through the world’s largest network of 1,850 access points in 150 countries. iPass is headquartered in Silicon Valley with financial backing from Accel Partners, Crosspoint Ventures and Asia Pacific Ventures. Additional information can be found about iPass at .Details
VISA is implementing a fully electronic, end-to-end purchasing system at it corporate offices by combining the VISA ‘Purchasing Card’ with Ariba Technologies’ ‘Operating Resource Management System. VISA says it spends more than $500 million per year on operating expenses and its move to an automated procurement cycle will enable VISA to be its own best critic.Details
The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) today announced at its annual meeting its intentions to institute a service mark plan which, when completed, will allow consumers to recognize “GCA approved” smart cards and terminals as products which fulfill a strict global interoperability requirement set out by the GCA to ensure service and protection levels worldwide. A certification process to review and validate products using the service mark and to then administer adherence to global interoperability specifications is under evaluation.
“The international telephone network infrastructure and the ubiquitous ‘dialtone’ is a good model to think of for the transport of data across borders, oceans, businesses and industries. The key will be the GCA service mark. It will be our version of ‘smart card dialtone’ and it will not be owned by any one industry, company, or for profit organization,” according to David Anastasi, president and a member of the board of the GCA as well as vice president and general manager at U S WEST Public Services.
“Our vision is quite simple, within the next five years smart/chipcard consumers will be able to access their personalized applications anytime, anywhere and for many functions,” added Anastasi. “The Global Chipcard Alliance’s mission is to provide to consumers worldwide an easy way to identify the devices where their cards are accepted, serviced and protected. The GCA wants to ensure that a customer’s needs are met whether he/she is just around the block or in another part of the world,” he continued.
“Consumers are looking to consolidate many cards and many applications into fewer cards. Interoperability will allow the use of different cards on different terminals for different applications — that is the industry’s biggest challenge today,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman Bidin, general manager, Telekom Malaysia Multimedia and a GCA board member. “Standards and operating guidelines are needed to link multiple operating environments beginning with single card/single application and moving through open and closed multiple application systems until we reach a global open interoperable multi- application environment,” he added.
Acceptance of the standards and guidelines outlined for worldwide use by the GCA’s service mark will mean that more and more applications from e- commerce, data communications, mass transit, travel & entertainment and security will become available as manufacturers and vendors see market growth. Interoperability standards also mean less risk in R&D and less of a chance of obsolescence in smart card investments. Other sectors, not yet using smart/chipcard technology, will be encouraged by the open standards to enter this market area. Momentum for global interoperable, multi-application cards and services is expected to quicken as consumer acceptance grows.
“This service mark provides us with a simple, easy to understand tool to communicate not only the benefits of memory card interoperability today; but also it will provide us with a tool to move toward our ultimate vision of worldwide open interoperability for multi-application cards,” added Matt Scheuing, vice president, Marketing & Business Development, U S WEST Public Services and chairperson of the GCA’s Interoperability Committee. “Consumers will quickly see the value of this service mark as we launch it in conjunction with our cross member agreements,” he added.
Progress toward global interoperability from GCA members is reflected in the first wide scale agreement between PTT Telecom/Netherlands and Deutsche Telekom announced earlier this year. U S WEST is also working with GTE in a similar agreement, and one in which Bell Canada has recently been added, to ‘begin to blanket North America with working smart/chipcards.’
To commemorate the significance of this announcement, the six founding members of the GCA (U S WEST, PTT Telecom/Netherlands, GTE, Deutsche Telekom, Malaysia Telekom and Bell Canada) created the ‘GCA Smart Card Collector’s Set complete with a sample of each member’s smart card printed with the new service mark printed on them. A framed set was presented by David Anastasi to Datuk Leo Moggie, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts of Malaysia. Mr. Moggie officially opened Smart Cards Malaysia ’97 which was hosted by Telekom Malaysia and coordinated and presented by the GCA.
“No one industry or company owns smart/chipcards. The cards are not really a separate product nor an industry on their own; but rather an enabler connected to many already existing industries, businesses and applications,” said Gerard Ketelaar, manager of the Interactive Services Group at PTT Telecom/Netherlands and vice president of the GCA.
“If the market continues to have issues in interoperability it may not develop as fast or develop to it’s full potential and consumers will rebel if the issues of security and privacy are not addressed,” he continued.
“Today only minimal aspects of the standard are covered and that is a problem. The GCA will work with businesses to obtain interoperability agreements which will help define standards and put these problems to rest, ” he added. “Public Advocacy is critical to the GCA. We intend to work towards self regulated consumer protection, a pro-competitive stance and a level playing field in the advancement of multi-application smart/chipcards,” concluded Ketelaar.
Established in 1996, the Global Chipcard Alliance’s members include: PTT Telecom Netherlands, U S WEST Communications, GTE Telephone Operations, Bell Canada, Telekom Malaysia, Deutsche Telekom, American Express, Microsoft, IBM, Telstra, Northern Telecom, Landis & Gyr, Oracle, GemPlus, SPT Telecom, and Elcotel.
For more information on the Global Chipcard Alliance see:Details