PC/SC Workgroup to Develop Open Technology For Integrating Smart Cards and Personal Computers

REDMOND, Wash. —
, Sept. 10, 1996 — An international group of leading personal computer and
“smart card”
companies, including Bull CP8, Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp., Schlumberger Electronic Transactions and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, today announced they are working together to develop open standards that integrate smart cards with personal computers. The new technology will allow application developers to take advantage of the smart card’s portability and hardware-based security, which are critical to enabling new smart-card-based PC applications for health care, banking, corporate security and electronic commerce.

The PC/SC Workgroup will facilitate the development of smart-card-based applications for the PC by developing open specifications that ensure interoperability among smart cards, smart-card readers, and computers made by different manufacturers. The group, whose members have been working together since May 1996, said the technology is scheduled to be available to the industry during the fourth quarter of 1996.

Built on existing industry standards, these specifications will be open, platform-independent and application-neutral, providing a comprehensive solution to OEMs, software developers and end users. The specifications will be made available at no charge.

“Smart cards provide corporate, small-business and home PC users alike with a highly secure and cost-effective means of carrying out electronic commerce and communication,”
said Jacques Clay, general manager of the extended desktop business unit at Hewlett-Packard.
“Standards will drive the development of the smart-card market and help make them as pervasive a PC component as the CD-ROM drive.”

New Technology Provides Opportunity for Wide Range of New Applications

Smart cards are used today for a variety of applications that range from portable, digital cash storage to proof of identity at universities. The new specifications announced by the PC/SC Workgroup will promote the development of new applications that tie the security and portability of smart cards with the worldwide installed base of personal computers.

With such standards in place, developers will finally have the technical infrastructure to create new classes of exciting applications:

  • End users could purchase items on the Internet using payment information stored securely on their smart cards.

  • Businesses could have a single identification card that controls access to buildings as well as computer network resources.

  • People could carry their computer-based medical and insurance records on a smart card, giving immediate access to critical patient information in emergencies.

“The smart card is uniquely positioned to invigorate the PC industry through data- and network-access security and innovative new networking applications,”
said Jean-Paul Bize, vice president of the electronic transactions business unit at Schlumberger, the world’s leading smart-card and systems supplier.
“In creating open standards, we are supporting the growth of the industry while bringing the security and privacy offered by smart cards to the world of personal computers for all sorts of innovative applications.”

Cooperative Effort

Working together, members of the PC/SC Workgroup will develop the hardware and software technology necessary to implement the group’s specifications. Microsoft plans to incorporate support for smart cards and readers into its Microsoft® Windows® operating system-based and Internet products. Microsoft expects to provide preliminary releases of key Windows-based components and tools to developers in the fourth quarter of 1996. Hewlett-Packard will provide smart-card readers and applications for its standard Windows-based PC product line in 1997. Bull CP8 and Schlumberger will offer smart cards supporting cryptographic and secure storage services and smart-card readers for PCs adhering to the specifications starting in the fourth quarter of 1996. Siemens Nixdorf will integrate smart-card readers and applications into its Windows-based PC product line and offer smart cards for delivery by the 1997 CeBIT Fair. Products from participating companies will be available through normal PC direct sales and retail channels.

“With the creation of standard smart-card interfaces to the PC, applications will be able to interoperate with readers and smart cards from multiple vendors. This interoperability will speed the adoption of this critical technology,”
said Brad Silverberg, vice president of Microsoft’s Internet platform and tools division.
“The combination of PC and smart-card technologies will accelerate the deployment of Internet applications such as online banking and secure electronic commerce.”

“Interoperability among smart cards, readers and PCs is a key factor in the growth of the smart-card market and enables a whole new range of electronic-commerce applications,”
said Geraldine Capdeboscq, president of Bull CP8, a pioneer in highly secure smart-card technology.
“We are committed to bringing even greater security and convenience to smart-card applications for developers and users by working with other industry leaders.”

Supporting Standards

The technology being developed by the PC/SC Workgroup includes the following:

  • Specifications for cryptographic functionality and secure storage

  • Programming interfaces for communicating with smart-card reading devices connected to a PC

  • A high-level application interface to make it easier to build and maintain smart-card applications

Specifications developed by the PC/SC Workgroup will be proposed to independent standards bodies with participation open to interested parties. The integrated smart-card-PC technology will build on the industry’s current ISO 7816 standard and will support current business-specific application standards such as VME (Visa, MasterCard, Europay) and GSM (Global Standard for Mobile Communications).

“The development of standards will significantly increase the use of smart cards and provide a foundation for industry competition that will lead to ever-greater advances in smart-card technologies,”
said Walter Rossler, member of the board for Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme. Rossler, who is responsible for Siemens Nixdorf’s PC business, a leading developer of smart-card products, continued,
“By solving the issue of interoperability, the industry can now focus on bringing the advantages of smart cards to the installed base of personal computers.”

Background on Workgroup Members

Bull CP8, a unit of Groupe Bull, Louveciennes, France, is the world leader in secure smart-card solutions, with a 60 percent market share in microprocessor-based, high-security smart cards. Bull CP8 develops and offers a range of products, including contact and contactless smart cards, secure card operating systems (including the only smart card to receive the ITSEC’s
“E3 strong”
security classification), turnkey payment cards and electronic purse systems, WAN and LAN security systems, automated teller machines (ATMs), electronic cash dispensers, statement printers, POS terminals and software. Services include full technical and applications consulting, training and customer service and support. Micro Card Technologies Inc., Billerica, Mass., is the marketing arm in North America for Bull CP8.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is a leading global manufacturer of computing, communications and measurement products and services recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 110,800 employees and had revenue of $31.5 billion in its 1995 fiscal year.

Schlumberger Electronic Transactions is a unit of Schlumberger Ltd. and supplies cards, terminals and management systems across the entire range of magnetic and chip card applications. As the industry’s leading single-source supplier, the company’s transaction solutions include telecommunications, retail and banking, retail petroleum, parking and mass transit ticketing systems, health-care records and payment management systems, and cards and systems for college campuses. The company produces hundreds of millions of cards annually as both private and government sectors move toward cashless, paperless transactions. Drawing upon Schlumberger’s presence in more than 100 countries, and with design and manufacturing in Europe, North America and Asia, Electronic Transactions has products and services for secure, convenient financial and data transactions for its clients and their customers.

Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, Paderborn, the largest European IT supplier, was formed in 1990 by the merger of the Data and Information Systems Group of Siemens AG, Munich, and Nixdorf Computer AG, Paderborn. Siemens Nixdorf is a separate company within the Siemens organization. Information technology (IT) is a core activity of Siemens AG. During its fifth fiscal year (1994/95) SNI booked new orders totaling DM 13.0 billion and recorded sales of DM 12.8 billion. Siemens Nixdorf is present in 58 countries. In fiscal 1994/95 about
DM 1.1 billion was spent on research and development.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ:
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Related Posts