Organizations struggling with the contactless conundrum
Conundrum: Why switch when prox just works?
Contactless smart cards and the ISO 14443 technology are far from new technologies as electronic passports that use the same technology have been in circulation for almost six years and the technology had deployment even prior to that.
The existing, entrenched prox infrastructure is the main reason the technology has been slow to spread in the U.S., says Paul Everett senior manager for the security team at IMS Research. Prox technology accounts for about 40% of revenue for physical access control technologies and represents 45% of the unique shipments.
Contactless smart card shipments will overtake prox by 2016, Everett predicts. Most enterprises aren’t making the switch now because the systems they have work. Until those systems reach end-of-life there’s not a lot of need to upgrade a system that is still functional. “New installations will use smart cards but those with a large installed base of prox are not going to swap out unless there’s another reason to do so,” he adds.
Physical access control provider, Quantum Secure, sees U.S. interest in contactless smart card mainly within the federal government and its contractors, says Vic Ghai, vice president and chief technology officer for products at the company. In other sectors, it has been more pilots than installs. “Historically we have seen many pilots for contactless smart cards but it doesn’t go beyond that,” he adds.
Quantum Secure has more than 80 customers in the U.S., 10% of which use contactless smart cards, Ghai says. Those customers are either federal agencies or enterprises that have contracts with the government.
Outside of federal agencies and contractors, interest has been primarily from health care and airport sectors, says Ghai.