In its annual market review and forecast, Schlumberger predicts the smart card industry will experience a double-digit growth of over 20% in 2001.
The company forecasts mobile communications - which represents close to 70% of microprocessor-based card shipments - will remain the key focus for the larger players because it is such a strong driver of both technology and revenue.
The market for financial cards is also expected to grow strongly at around 25%, driven primarily by a number of national programmes to replace existing magnetic stripe bank cards with secure smart cards built on the EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) standard. The strong commercial success of the American Express Blue smart card programme in the US and Canada is viewed as likely to stimulate competition to release new chip-based cards.
Demand for corporate and IT security smart card applications is expected to more than double, stimulated by the general need for intranet and Internet network security, and the particular support for smart card security tokens which is built into the Windows 2000 operating system. By 2003, Schlumberger estimates that nearly half of online transactions will be secured by smart cards creating continued growth rates of over 40% in this market.
The Schlumberger report predicts the major technological event for 2001 is likely to be the widespread availability of USB-compatible smart cards, which allow PCs and similar devices to interface with smart cards without a conventional reader.