New name, new mission enables successful org to tackle expanding uses for embedded chip technologies
The Secure Technology Alliance is the official new name for the Smart Card Alliance, the long standing and highly regarded industry association founded to promote the adoption of smart card technology in the U.S. The group is expanding its mission and changing names, exchanging its somewhat limiting focus on smart cards for a broader view of chip-based secure technologies.
“As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and mobile, the technology used in smart cards is being used more widely in mobile devices, wearables and internet-connected devices,” says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Secure Technology Alliance and its predecessor organization. “The clear next step for this organization is to expand and engage in activities across the full spectrum of these new applications as the Secure Technology Alliance.”
The original mission of the Smart Card Alliance was to advance the use of smart cards for payment, identity, transit and security applications. Looking around, the group has essentially accomplished its original mission, something few organizations can ever truly say.
Key to the expansion is a focus on embedded chip technologies, defined by the Alliance as, “integrated circuit technology that is built into different form factors (e.g., smart cards, mobile devices, and wearables) or embedded in network-connected and other devices.” Think of it this way, the same microprocessor technologies that empowered smart cards are now driving all kinds of other devices — so a lot of new and emerging tech relies on smart cards, but without the plastic card.
But there is more to it than a simple expansion of technologies.
If you look back two-plus decades to the Smart Card Alliance’s formation, smart cards were virtually unknown in the U.S. The original mission was to advance the use of smart cards for payment, identity, transit and security applications. Looking around, the group has essentially accomplished its original mission, something few organizations can ever truly say.
Smart cards are now pervasive in the U.S. market. EMV has taken hold; our passports contain chips; the military, federal employees and contractors carry PIV cards; public transportation ticketing is handled largely through contactless cards; and physical security is now largely a contactless realm for modern issuances.
The new organization will not be abandoning its roots as smart card technology will remain a priority for the Secure Technology Alliance, but the scope of technologies is broadening to include other types of embedded chip technology and related hardware and software. The industries and applications will also expand as these new form factors — beyond just the chip-enabled ID card — will impact payments, identity, access and transportation but also more directly apply to cybersecurity, mobile, healthcare and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“The Alliance has members from all of these industries actively participating in the organization, making it uniquely equipped to provide education, actionable guidance and encourage adoption of secure technology,” Vanderhoof adds.
Existing industry council activities, conferences and training will continue and evolve. These programs will incorporate additional security technologies and applications, such as those used for IoT and mobility applications.
Secure Technology Alliance activities will include:
- Influencing standards and best practices
- Serving as an educational resource to its members and industry stakeholders
- Providing a forum for cutting-edge discussions and projects
- Maintaining a voice in public policy
- Supporting the adoption and implementation.
The Secure Technology Alliance is governed by an elected Board of Directors and is led by the Executive Committee: Brian Russell, Giesecke & Devrient, Jack Jania, Gemalto, Brian Stein, CH2M, Morgan Richard, XTec, Thomas Lockwood, NextGenID, and Kelly Urban, First Data Corporation.
Learn more about the Secure Technology Alliance online: www.securetechalliance.org.