Smart Cards Canada
Smart Cards Canada is designed to be a resource for information on smart card development, smart card operating systems, hardware ( readers and programmers ) along with software for smart card applications. The site has been established for the beginner, or novice, smart card user, whether they are an end user, a business or institution seeking to implement the use of smart cards.
Smart cards look like credit cards, but they are embedded with microchips, or an integrated circuit, for storing information. They can be used as sophisticated identification cards to enter buildings, personal computers and networks, but they also can be used for more elaborate applications involving sensitive information, such as health records, financial information, even digital signatures.
Smart cards are being incorporated into soldier's dog-tags and used to store hospital patients' medical records. They are also used for secure banking, access control, transit fare payments, loyalty programs, cell phone enhancements and security among many other applications requiring user authentication.
The challenges and reasons for deploying PKI and smart cards are many. Of particular concern is the issue of standardization and interoperability of smart cards and smart card readers. A second issue is that smart cards utilize different types of microprocessors, operating systems, and card form factors.
A system taking full advantage of smart-card technology requires software and hardware in multiple locations, integration into back-office systems, planning, training and implementation. Smart cards themselves are the least expensive component and simplest to replace.
Card infrastructure requirements and costs also vary greatly depending on the type of application that is desired. However, as PKI and smart card capabilities increase and the costs decrease, this electronic foundation for trust will inevitably find more uses. The latest generation of smart cards with advanced operating systems already offers multiple applications, such as biometrics, within a single card.
There are currently hundreds of smart card equipment suppliers and smartcard technology resellers offering a multitude of solutions and products yet only six manufacturers account for about 96% of the chips and five smart card manufacturers supply most of the cards.
Determining which is most appropriate for your specific needs is a daunting task. Many sites appear to be designed for the technically gifted or seem suited to multi-million dollar budgets. This site is definitely not geared to systems analysts, computer chip designers or security system protocol engineers. Think of it more as a "Smartcards for Dummies" but with just a dash of technical know-how for the more adventurous.
The complexity of the topic may require that quite a bit of tech stuff gets mentioned initially, and perhaps without explanation, but as I find time to understand it, and explain it in layman's terms, I will do so.
Finding the right product and support structure for your needs will hopefully become a bit easier as more information is gathered.
Tutorials will be added, along with a forum where individuals may ask questions or provide insight for those less knowledgeable.
Suppliers of end-use products from around the world will be listed as well as local distributors for Canadian purchasers. Advertisers are welcome to contact me regarding promoting your products. I am also interested in becoming a reseller or distributor for international suppliers wishing to have a low-cost presence in Canada.
International smart card industry organizations dealing with smartcards will be listed as well.
This site is not for the illegal use of satellite cards but for understanding the many other applications in which smart cards may be used such as secure entry / exit, automatic payments and library or sales functions.
Primer on Smart Cards - overview of smart cards with diagrams.
U.S. Government Primer on Smart Cards - online multimedia presentation where you will learn how smart cards are being used by millions of people worldwide in more than 90 countries. Also, the latest smart card technologies and applications are reviewed.
Excellent Resources for Smart Card Info
opensc-project.org - Open Source Smart Card Solutions - open source projects devoted to smart cards.
The Smart Card Alliance Web site has information and news about smart card technology and its application for payments, identity management and eGovernment.
Smart Cards Canada