The market for smart cards in health care and government will reach $72 billion in value by 2016, according to a report by ABI Research.
Smart cards, which are used
for everything from health insurance to national identification cards, are
poised for big growth, according to a new report by ABI Research.
The March 22 report, "Smart Cards in Government
and Healthcare Citizen ID
," concludes that the smart card market will
peak in 2014 and then level off at close to $15 billion.
Smart cards are common in
Europe and could appear in the United States by 2014, ABI analyst Phil Sealy
. Countries in which smart
cards are used include France, Brazil and Poland.
In addition to health care
and government, the contactless smart cards are also used in the transportation
and banking industries for access control, Sealy said.
The small chips in the cards
have a read/write capacity to allow doctors to store information on patient
treatment, he said.
Smart cards in health care
are used to combat forgery, including identity theft.
Electronic health records raise fears
of identity theft
among patients, according to a Sept. 20 "Market
Pulse Survey" by Harris Interactive. In the survey, 80 percent of
Americans, 81 percent of Britons and 83 percent of Australians expressed
concerns about the digitization of medical data.
Identification cards are
moving from legacytraditional paper cards without a built-in chipto
dual-interface national ID cards.
"We expect to see strong
and continued adoption of dual-interface ICs primarily utilized in national ID
cards," said Sealy.
Meanwhile, China has an
upgrade pending on national IDs with built-in microcontrollers.
The cards are increasingly
contactless, according to Sealy. "Contactless is the new 'must-have'
technology in the ID space," he said, noting that Germany, Egypt and China
have deployed national ID projects using contactless cards.
Despite the growth forecast
for smart cards, a barrier to use is making them all compatible, said Sealy.
With governments controlling
the health care system in some countries, sometimes budgets are cut or new
political parties come into power and cards stop working, he noted.
Russia is having difficulty
getting national ID cards to function correctly and "talk" to each
other, said Sealy.
According to ABI, the top
smart card vendors include Genalto, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), Morpho
and Oberther Technologies.
Morpho's cards use biometric
algorithms to search health care providers' databases for duplicate records.
They also incorporate facial biometrics to check identities. The cards are used
in countries such as the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Sweden and South
In addition to providing
access to health care facilities and holding health insurance data, the Morpho
cards can store information on allergies, blood type, organ donor status and
chronic diseases. In addition, they can store electronic prescriptions as well
as encrypt patients' medical data.
The Morpho card conforms to
the Electronic European Health Insurance Card (e-EHIC) standard for smart
Like Morpho, Genalto's cards
also store electronic prescriptions as well as patient data on allergies.
Meanwhile, Oberther's ID-One
cards feature embedded cryptography and support the Advanced Encryption
Standard (AES) and RSA public-key encryption algorithm.
Based in Germany, G&D
also offers embedded cryptography on its smart cards and allows patients to
store their medication logs.