The University Record, February 15, 1999

Partnership will focus on data security uses of smart card technology

From the Information Technology Division

Schlumberger and the Center for Information Technology Integration (CITI) last week announced a joint partnership Program in Smart Card Technology. The program emphasizes research and development of new and existing smart card technologies, including the investigation of using this technology for remote Internet services, electronic commerce and access authorization. The main focus of the research will be on enhanced data security using smart cards.

Smart cards are wallet-sized cards that look like credit cards in size and material. They may have raised letters or numbers, photos or logos, much like credit cards, with one key difference—the smart cards actually have tiny computers embedded in them.

Each smart card contains a microprocessor with electrical contacts, making it one of the world’s smallest portable computers. Smart cards are used worldwide for personal phone calls, credit/debit card transactions, satellite and cable TV, purchasing food or other items from vending machines, and retrieving personal information. The University currently issues a smart card manufactured by Schlumberger, called the “M-Card,” to each student, faculty and staff member for identification purposes. While it is primarily used as a photo ID, the M-Card also may be used for banking purposes, making small purchases from participating merchants, library services, and entry to secured buildings. There are more than 94,000 M-Cards active today. Cards can be used at 56 merchants and 340 cashpoints, and at 23 reload devices.

According to Peter Honeyman, CITI director, there are many more possibilities for use of the smart card. “For the University community, smart cards hold the potential to simplify our environment by eliminating cash-handling and paperwork problems while at the same time improving security,” Honeyman said. “Because there are many more potential uses that require enhanced security, such as home banking, we are looking closely at authentication and authorization that ensures the owner of the smart card is actually the owner. One of our most important goals is to find ways to use smart cards to improve information security in enterprise-scale computing environments, and the University is a living laboratory for that kind of work.”

The Program in Smart Card Technology partnership combines the strengths of Schlumberger’s experience and knowledge in providing smart card-based solutions worldwide with CITI’s expertise in researching and developing the areas of security and smart card technologies. Both organizations have considerable hands-on experience with smart cards.

“We expect the partnership to combine practical experience and technical knowledge to create enhancements to smart card technologies that will result in better products for our customers,” said Paul Beverly, vice president, marketing, Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals, North America. “It’s exciting to recognize that the research being done in this program can potentially change the way that business is done in the future.”

“We are delighted that we have begun this relationship with Schlumberger,” said Jose-Marie Griffiths, university chief information officer. “I’m certain that it will develop into a long-term mutually beneficial alliance.”

The program awards an unspecified dollar amount to CITI for the project period, and sponsors specific projects that promote the joint goals of the University and Schlumberger.