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Cartes North America...Recap from Day One in Las Vegas

Greetings from Cartes North America here in warm and sunny Las Vegas! The VDC AutoID team is here at the conference to learn about the latest and greatest in the smartcard solutions market and will be blogging regularly during our visit to keep you abreast of what we have been seeing and hearing at the show. Today was a busy first day of vendor meetings and panel discussions. Not surprisingly, many vendors were talking about solutions and services related to NFC and EMV migration, two of the hottest topics in the US (and in the case of NFC, worldwide) payment ecosystem. Here are several of the interesting solutions we saw on the show floor today:

  • Datacard, a leading provider of payment card printers debuted two new printer models today. Its CR500f and CE870 printers are intended for non-centralized printer card creation (i.e., in a local bank branch as opposed to a card printing center). Both solutions accommodate both magnetic stripe card printing as well as EMV/smartcard printing and encoding. Each model sports relatively compact footprints for deployment in branch locations with limited space availability.

  • Device Fidelity, a provider of NFC bridge solutions that bring “smart” NFC payment capability to Android and iOS smartphones lacking native NFC capability, demonstrated its SD card and sled-based products. We were impressed by how seamlessly the company’s product incorporated a host of e-commerce related NFC applications into phones such as the iPhone 4 and 4s which lack embedded NFC chips. At present, Device Fidelity only offers applications related to commerce, including payment, loyalty and promotions, however, the company is looking to other use-cases such as transportation as potential points of expansion. Furthermore, the company recently announced a partnership with Datacard, whereby Device Fidelity will leverage Datacard’s significant installed base of financial institutions to cultivate new clients.

  • 3M is leveraging its expertise in materials engineering and development for smartcard applications. Specifically, the company showed off a new range of non-metallic foils that enable smartcard manufacturers to offer the same eye-catching design their magnetic stripe counterparts have offered for years. Historically, smartcard manufacturers have by necessity had to avoid incorporating flashy foil-based graphics into their card designs as this material interferes with RF signals. Using materials technology borrowed from a TV-screen image enhancement product the company already offered, 3M developed this material with all of the shiny, eye-catching benefits of foil but with none of the RF interference-related downsides. It’s certainly a basic product, but one we think has tremendous market potential considering the majority of the world is using EMV—and the US seems to be drifting (albeit slowly) in that direction.

We have another big day tomorrow filled with panel presentations and vendor meetings, so stay tuned for more from Cartes in Las Vegas.

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