Smart Cards – Government ID

Major value propositions in a 100 mill unit potential market


Value propositions

Driven by terrorism, illegal immigration, identity theft and other forms of serious crime, countries around the world are actively seeking new solutions. Providing citizens with secure and convenient ways to authenticate constitutes an important tool fighting the ongoing wars on these serious issues.

The governments must develop solutions using form factors they fully control themselves. The only known realistic formats are smart cards and tokens. Introduction of secure, sensor based smart cards will not only be an important contributor fighting crime, it will also add convenience in several forms of public services context.

The value propositions of such sensorbased ID-Cards are very strong, creating a highly attractive value for all parties involved including governments, the smart card industry and the id-card end users.

Key requirements

This application is highly security focused and the solutions must be able to serve very close to 100% of the targeted populations. Furthermore a significant percentage of the cards will be used in challenging environments both in terms of average finger quality and environmental conditions.  In order to be relevant, testing  for such markets need to be at Class 3 level (ref e.g. the Aadhaar testing regimes in India).

The application demands one-touch-enrollment organised with large sized sensors in dedicated manned enrollment centres storing prints in databases making sure that each person can only register once. This both to ensure very high quality of the enrolled prints and also to avoid fraudulent duplicate id-cards.  Multiple placements of fingers with subsequent stitching back to a full sized enrollments will not be feasible in this quality critical application (see stitching).

Enrolled prints (or print templates) will be stored according to national legislation and iso-standards allowing storage in centralized databases, minimizing the risk of fraud and allowing prints to be used by multiple sensor suppliers (see interoperability). Major governmental customers will not allow the financial or logistical risks of having a single source, proprietary system suppliers. Today all known small and medium sized sensor systems are based on proprietary (non-standard solutions. A large quality area sensor, adhering to industry standards enables interoperability (use by multiple sensor suppliers) at system level.

Being security focused, the application will not be allowed to offer any convenient pin-code or password fallback. The number of false rejections will thus need to be very low as the fallback solution at malfunction will typically be a visit to a public office.

A significant part of the requirements of this application demands a  large (minimum 169 mm2) sized sensor.

Fundamental requirements

These features are all critically important to customer project success.Comment:
– Ability to serve close to 100% of the targeted usersSensor size dependent
– Uncompromised security (FAR 1 in 10-100 k)Sensor size dependent
– Time-constant convenience (FRR <1% – 2%)Sensor size dependent
– Full physical flexibilityCard standards compliance
– Power consumption compatible with Class A, B contact readers


Important features

These features may be subject to some compromises, but are still all important to project success.Comment:
– Full ISO-complianceSensor size dependent
– Interoperability enrolled prints (non-proprietary solution)Sensor size dependent
– Credible testing documentation (Class 3 )Sensor size dependent
– Ability to serve India – CertificationSensor size dependent
– System level speed under 2 seconds
– Logistical capability to serve 50 mill + yearly market
– Realistic system level pricing


Related products:

SolutionActive sensing areaInterfaceSoftware/drivers
NB-0610-S Chipset11.9 x 17.9mmSPISelect embedded microprocessors


Biometric ID-Cards
A significant contributor fighting high level crime
National ID-Cards
Quality Critical application demanding large sized sensors.
Segment complexity
Typically False Rejections grow 2-3 timers going from indoor/clean to outdoor/harsh environments
Class 3
Required test regime in most major government ID applications
This segment can only be served by sensors meeting the ISO requirement of 169 mm² minimum sensor area