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Contactless Smart Cards with New Features

Murton System Technologies has become the first South African company to adopt Mifare technology and will be developing and producing smart card products for the South African and international markets.  "Contactless cards are not a new phenomenon," said Brent Maurer, Murton System Technologies MD, "but Contactless Read/Write cards are."

The Philips Mifare technology is a global standard for Contactless smart card ICs to the world market.

With full DES encryption, anti-collision software, thousands of read/write cycles and no contacts, these cards are simply bought into the detection zone of the reader for the transaction to take place.

The products supplied by Murton will be targeted at applications where dynamic information can be stored and updated on the card, as well as environments where off-line operation is of the essence.

"Mifare is already well established as the de facto industry standard. It covers about 90% of today's Contactless smart card market with more than 300-million card ICs in use around the world and has proven its reliability with more than a billion transactions carried out over the last three year," Maurer.

"Contactless smart cards hold up to 15 different applications on the same card. This means that the same card can be used to do your shopping or as a bus ticket, phone card or even a season ticket to the cricket," he explained.

"Mifare has two major advantages over its competitors. Firstly all Mifare products have to be certified by an independent body, guaranteeing that they are compatible, and secondly, companies are working together to strengthen and extend Mifare as the standard for Contactless chip cards, while independently developing their own Mifare products, providing customers with a broad and competitive range of products," noted Maurer.

"The smart card has a full read/write functionality. Transactions take place in the form of a wireless RF communication, from a distance of up to 100mm from the reader and are completed in well under 0,25 seconds. This type of time-saving transaction is ideal for high traffic areas like bus terminals and airports. The smart card can also be put into watches, bracelets, cuff links or almost any medium," he said.

A portable RWD can be used to facilitate communication in an environment with no cabling between PC and the RWD. Such a portable device can communicate with both the PC and a RWD, one at a time, and is used to carry configuration data to the RWDs and transactions to the PC.  Communication is either by infrared or RS 232.

All Mifare compatible smart cards can be read by any Mifare reader, reducing infrastructure costs and eliminating wider compatibility issues.

Banks can exploit the high transaction volumes generated with Contactless smart card schemes in public transport, to achieve the critical mass. In turn, service providers in public transport can have their application loaded onto a bankcard, without having to issue there own cards.

The cards are available in a 8k bit or 64k bit and have a maximum possible 13 application sectors each with separate read and write keys.

The system is able to handle multiple cards thanks to an anti collision algorithm and the data transferred is encrypted according to DES3 standard and authenticated according to the ISO/IEC DIS 9798-2 standard. On each transmitted block of data there is a cyclic redundancy (CRC) and parity check to ensure security.

The readers manufactured by Murton System Technologies are targeted at applications where dynamic information can be stored and updated. Depending on the application, the read/write device (RWD) may include a LCD display, keypad, I/O ports and LED's.

Murton System Technologies, established in 1979, offer specialized electronic production services including, local and international component sourcing of all active, passive and electromechanical components as well as printed circuit cards, assembly of single sided, double sided, multi layer, surface mount, mixed technology PCB, and complete functional testing and burn-in testing to a number of international standards. Integration and testing of PCB and, sub-assemblies, sub racks and final assemblies. MSTech also offer third party sourcing and production capacity is geared for runs ranging from a few tens, to tens of thousands. Products cover complete turnkey applications as well as original equipment manufacture (OEM) components incorporating standard products or user specified firmware.

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