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LONDON, 11 SEPTEMBER 2000 -- GlobalPlatform, the cross industry smart card group, today announced significant achievements in its first year of operation at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium. Formed to facilitate the swift implementation of multiple application smart card services, by advancing the development of international standards for technology infrastructure, GlobalPlatform has made significant in-roads in achieving its goal of interoperability and standardisation.

Steve Brown, Chairman of GlobalPlatform explained how in the first year of operation GlobalPlatform has succeeded in forming a solid organisation spanning different industries and geographies. He said, “In the first ten months of operation our membership has grown to forty-four organisations, exceeding even the most aggressive membership estimates. GlobalPlatform members encompass a wide range of organisations and businesses – all of which firmly believe in the potential of smart cards, and are fostering cross-industry co-operation to ensure this potential is realised. Our first year has certainly seen more than one firm step towards global interoperability. A significant development has been the transfer of the Open Platform specifications to GlobalPlatform. Providing a core architecture on which to build, the Open Platform card and terminal specifications collectively define a smart card platform upon which applications from various industries can be dynamically and securely added, deleted and altered.”

To enable widespread adoption and use of the Open Platform, specifications are available on-line at A free of charge licence entitles interested parties to evaluate the specifications, as well as to develop compliant products. Furthermore, GlobalPlatform expect to release for comment the next version of Open Platform Card Specifications later this year.

In order to validate appropriate implementation of the GlobalPlatform specifications the organisation is working on a validation process that may allow a licensee to display a logo indicating compliance with the standards. This incremental due diligence will provide issuing organisations with a high level of assurance that a product meets the published specifications. The benefits and costs of a validation programme are currently being explored.

GlobalPlatform also announced its intent to broaden its portfolio of specifications to complement Open Platform. A key step towards this is the formation of working groups that consider a need for specifications. One such group is considering definition of a layer between the chip operating system and the hardware itself. This “abstraction layer” would enable greater interoperability between an operating system and the chip. The working group, comprised of leading hardware and silicon suppliers and system integrators (Bull, Gemplus, Infineon, Motorola, Oberthur and STMicroelectronics), has approved the concept of the interface specifications and is now working on developing specifications referred to as the Open Kernel.

A number of GlobalPlatform members also made announcements at the event, which demonstrated that Open Platform is already being utilised in a number of smart card implementations. Three of the world’s major smart card leaders – Gemplus, Sun Microsystems and Visa International – announced the availability of a three-dollar Open Platform smart card – the most cost-effective card product of its kind in the marketplace. The new card is available to Visa member banks that wish to introduce a multi-application smart card program and will significantly lower the cost of smart card implementations for Visa member banks worldwide.

Citibank outlined a number of implementations utilising the Open Platform and Java Card specifications. They launched America’s first Open Platform smart card programme with the US Government (General Services Administration) to issue employees with official identification and corporate campus features such as access to buildings and IT resources, secure e-mail, property management and credit details. Citibank is also rolling out corporate campus cards, again based on the Open Platform specification, for Sun Microsystems Global Employee Badge Program.

Proton World introduced Proton Release 4, a multi-application system designed for applications in mass transit, secure identification, data and finance management. Once again utilising the Open Platform set of standards and Proton World’s CALC (Card and Application Life Cycle) software at the heart of the project, the first pilot is expected to begin in early 2001.

Carte Bleue outlined the Vocable project; a pilot scheme intended to test Open Platform and the multi-application concept. Based on the Open Platform and JavaCard layer, this test will give strategic orientation for the next French banking card generation rollout. It is anticipated that Open Platform will be a facilitator for banks to establish partnerships with service operators and enhance services for customers.

“Global Platform has made significant progress as it approaches its first year anniversary”, concluded Steve Brown. “Over the next few months, we intend to continue to take a focused, results-based approach to growth and development. We will continue to understand and meet the changing needs of issuers from various industries, further define and promote cross industry interoperability, promote open standards and infrastructure and remain relevant by constantly improving technologies. This, in addition to working with other important regulatory and industry bodies and taking an active and holistic approach will assist GlobalPlatform in reaching its destination - to establish an open smart card technology infrastructure that enables issuers from many industries to deploy and manage multiple applications through a variety of devices for their customers.”


For further information, please contact:

Deborah Lightfoot at Sinclair Mason
Tel: +44 113 237 0777 Fax: +44 113 237 0888

Laura White at Sinclair Mason
Tel: +44 207 7470 8737 Fax: +44 207 470 8738

Notes to editors:

GlobalPlatform is the only cross-industry forum focused on the development, management and promotion of specifications for multiple application smart cards, smart card applications, and enabling devices. With support from its global member organizations, GlobalPlatform promotes a standard framework facilitating the implementation of smart card programs in any industry around the world. GlobalPlatform allows flexibility in the choice of technologies and vendors through an emphasis on open standards for cards, terminals and support infrastructure. The Open Platform card and terminal specifications are the first open standards adopted by GlobalPlatform and will provide a solid foundation from which the organization will define the future of multiple application smart cards.

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