NW_20001108_en_InfoWorld - October 20, 2000_ "Smart cards_ Multifunction could spell success"

November 8, 2000

UNFAZED BY THE slow commercial adoption of smart cards, makers of the authentication technology are stepping up efforts to deliver development tools and improved ease-of-use features to assuage users' skepticism and help convince smart-card manufacturers to lower their prices. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express regularly snare headlines in their attempts to capture and translate the success of smart cards in Europe as
multipurpose identification and personal monetary devices for introduction to the North American audience. The task has not gone all that smoothly,
however, due to cultural, privacy, and practicality barriers.

....Some smart-card vendors, such as Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Vasco, have narrowed their focus to combining multiple network-access functions with transaction-processing capabilities. Last week, the company released DigiPass 800, a portable smart-card reader that when presented with a PIN number from a user's existing smart card "regardless of its preprogrammed function" can operate from any platform without the need for any other smart-card reader or client software, according to Jan Valcke, vice president and general manager at Vasco. "It eliminates the need to provide users with both a personalized smart card and a separately personalized authentication device," Valcke says.