'India is emerging as a formidable market'

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

What do you think is the rationale behind holding technology expos such as

the Smart card Expo?

Because of the globalization that has happened in India in the last ten

years, the economy is on the rise which means that lifestyles of Indian

consumers is also on the rise. Their ability and appetite for more sophisticated

and expensive services and products has increased, hence, India has made the

transition from being just a provider of products and services to the western

market to emerge as a formidable market. Just like any developing economy our

market place is more willing to pay for efficiency and convenience and that's

what is driving this trend.


What is the difference between a Smart Card and a credit card?

A smart card is a chip, which can store business rules and information, and

you can program the card to behave differently in different conditions. That is

the fundamental difference. A simple card, such as a credit card, can behave

only in one way but a smart card can be programmed to integrate into many

different applications.

What is the current trend, and which countries are driving adoption of the

smart card technology?

The current trend is towards contact-less smart card, which uses GPRS

identification system. The European countries, followed by south East Asia or

the Asia Pacific region, lead the adoption; I believe that US is still behind.

The smart card is increasingly being used in retail, and transit where you have

one card for any public transport. The public sector is also looking at

e-payments through smart card. E-passport is another application, which will be

accepted very quickly in India because it doesn't want to slow down its

interaction with the world.

What are your views on combining this technology with mobiles in India?

Will there be a change in handset costs?

Mobile adoption in India has been very good. It has also proliferated to the

lower segments of the country. So there is no need to create another channel to

take new solutions to these people. Cost is the function of how you model the

structure. If we put a chip in the cell phone it costs money, but who pays for

it? There are many business models that can take care of the fact that

incremental cost is not put on to the consumer, and if we can do that, adoption

will be really fast.

What will drive its success in India?

Technology doesn't get accepted only because it's cool. It gets accepted

only when it makes sense to the consumers and the stakeholders. You can push a

technology to the society but the society needs to pull it. So, I think as a

society and as an industry, we have to figure out incentive mechanisms for

people to switch to the system. I don't have a ready answer but every society

and economy has to figure that out before the technology becomes mainstream.

Sonia Sharma