Smart crowd assembles in HK

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2012, 12:00am

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One of the largest conferences and exhibitions to highlight the latest technologies and market trends in smart security, payment, identification and mobility will take place on Wednesday and Thursday next week at AsiaWorld-Expo.

Organised by Comexposium, CARTES in Asia will bring together developers and decision makers from government, banking, telecoms and transport under one roof to see new technology and share professional and technical views on a wide range of smart card and digital security topics.

The two-day, co-located regional and high-level conference provides a venue for more than 300 attendees to hear more than 70 keynote speakers present their views and trends that are shaping today's mobile-payment, near-field communication (NFC) applications, ID management, e-transaction/e-banking, prepaid and loyalty programmes, IT security and internet-of-things in Asia-Pacific.

Last year, over 3,000 visitors from more than 60 countries attended the second CARTES in Asia, 8 per cent more than the previous year.

This year's event will see influential speakers from China Telecom, China Union Pay and Sony Japan, and analysts from Frost & Sullivan, KPMG, Smart Card Forum of China and NFC Forum, present their views on business and technology factors affecting smart-card applications and government identity technology.

With the convergence of biometrics, global standards and the integration of public and private services, Asia-Pacific economies have started embracing technologies such as e-passports, e-IDs and e-visas in a bid to efficiently communicate with their citizens and protect their identities.

This trend will be thoroughly discussed during the second day of the conference, when international and regional speakers present their views on ID management and e-government topics related to privacy and security issues.

'Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world have embraced a new era of government biometric technology,' says Isabelle Alfano, director of CARTES events. 'It has been constantly changing with new functions being introduced, including social-security information, driving licences, health care, banking and transportation applications.'

Alfano notes that international standards are being added to the technology to make it more secure.

Executives from Datacard, Gemalto, Global Platform, HID Global, JDSU, Keynetics, Komsco, Natural Security and Oberthur Technologies have been invited as speakers for the all-day ID management and e-government session.

Another technology trend up for discussion during the event's opening Asian Card Summit is the exponential growth of mobile payment and multi-application cards in the region.

China is seen to be the next biggest market for mobile payment with more than 900 million mobile phones. Global mobile payment revenue is projected to reach US$8 billion by 2014.

The growth of mobile payment is predicted to boost e-commerce and jump-start the beginning of an era dedicated to the internet-of-things. The wide proliferation of smart card and RFID technologies as more mobile service providers offer the service will further contribute to its development.

'Never before has there been such interest in mobile payments and multi-application cards in the region, where an enormous tech-savvy population and governments, and private organisations, are committed to making payments easier and more convenient,' Alfano says.

Among the companies invited to speak at the Card Summit are executives from Gemalto, Oberthur Technologies, China Union Pay, Eurosmart, Ingenico and Watchdata.

Mobile payment's growth in the region is expected to get a boost with advances in NFC technology and support from Asian governments in adopting the technology to manage transport.

Multi-application cards, such as Hong Kong's Octopus, are also contributing to the era of a cashless society. Today, there are about 100 million RFID travel smart cards in Asia-Pacific and they are expected to increase in number as the technology expands outside the main cities and more retailers take on cash-free technology.

Hong Kong leads the adoption of RFID smart card systems with its Octopus card being used by 95 per cent of the population in the MTR, buses, ferries and more than 10,000 retail outlets.

Japan is also using various transport cards, while Beijing and Shanghai commuters use the Yikatong, Singapore citizens use the EZ-link smart card, Taiwan has the EasyCard, and most recently India has launched its Common Mobility Card.

Industry analysts believe the region's tech-savvy characteristics will propel the aggressive adoption of NFC technologies for mobile payment, and may replace smart cards across major cities in the region.

'As RFID technology expands across the region into the smaller towns and cities, it will bring many opportunities for technology suppliers,' Alfano says.

CARTES in Asia exhibition gathers 112 exhibitors from 23 countries presenting their latest innovative technologies for card manufacturing, authentication solutions, payment solutions, mobile security and other innovative technical solutions.

One of the highlights of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Asian SESAMES Award, a competition recognising the best innovative technological applications developed for the Asia-Pacific market in the field of smart cards, digital security, identification, secure transactions and contactless technology.