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3.5.4 The future

Smart cards are just one particular way of using these special integrated circuits. Historically it came about because credit cards already existed, and the first smart card developments were for banking.

What is important about smart cards is that they are everyday objects that people can carry in their wallets, purses or pockets, and that they have the capacity to retain and protect information stored in electronic form.

There are already other smart objects in use. Smart keys are being used for pay-TV subscriptions. The smartness of smart cards comes from the integrated circuit embedded in the plastic card. The same electronic function could be performed by similar circuits embedded in other everyday objects, key rings, watches, glasses, rings, or earrings.

The way that people give a password with a PIN is not yet ideal. Biometric techniques will soon mean that a person can be reliably identified by his hand, finger print, the color of his eyes or the sound of his voice.

Soon it will be possible to hide electronic information in smart cards and give authorization for this information to be used with a spoken word or the touch of a hand.

The computer revolution has generated many advantages, but also introduced much form filling, errors and impersonal service. Smart cards along with other technologies such as biometrics, radio telephones and home computing, will give us the advantages without the disadvantages.

Smart cards are a relatively new technology that already effects the everyday lives of millions of people. All the signs are that this is just the beginning of something much larger that will influence the way that we shop, see the doctor, use the telephone and enjoy leisure.

Modern society needs an enormous amount of information. Computers give us the means to process this information. Smart cards give us a way of humanizing the way we handle this information. Smart cards give every individual the possibility to control how his personal information is used.

Society will have to create laws which limit the uses of smart card technology to those which benefit the individual, and increase the quality of life.

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Next: 4 Payment and Transaction Up: 3.5 What a Smart Previous: 3.5.3 How can your
Denis Arnaud