Magazine article American Banker

Smart Cards: Global Distribution Deal A Major Step for Smarty

Magazine article American Banker

Smart Cards: Global Distribution Deal A Major Step for Smarty

Article excerpt

By MIRIAM KREININ SOUCCAR

Smarty, the diskette-like device that enables personal computers to read smart cards, has gotten a boost from a worldwide distribution agreement with Gemplus.

SmartDisk Corp., the Japanese-American joint venture that promotes Smarty, sees its 3.5-inch, floppy-shaped vehicle as a step toward the full- scale integration of card readers with PCs and keyboards.

"We're relying on Gemplus to take us into the marketplace," said Quresh Sachee, vice president of marketing for SmartDisk, of Naples, Fla. "Gemplus will represent us worldwide, but our goal was to tap into smart card markets in Europe, and Gemplus is right in the middle of that."

Gemplus, of France, is the leading chip card manufacturer, and analysts say its endorsement of Smarty is significant.

"A big name like Gemplus wholeheartedly agreeing to distribute (Smarty) through the channels in which it takes great pride in a sense legitimizes the product," said Erik Bowman an analyst at Cardtech/Securtech in Bethesda, Md.

SmartDisk was formed nearly a year ago by Smarty owner Fischer International Systems Corp. and Toshiba Corp. of Japan. Additional investors are expected in a few months.

SmartDisk officials said Gemplus, which calls itself a "complete solutions" company, can use Smarty to round out its hardware line. It could help to jump-start the electronic commerce and information security markets that Gemplus is approaching through Gemsafe, which International Business Machines Corp. …

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