Giesecke & Devrient wins Austrian e-card contract


International technology group Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has been awarded the contract for Austria's planned social insurance card, known as the e-card. This major order comprises supply of a total of 11 million chip cards plus operation of an electronic card system, and is worth around 48 million euros. Client is the Central Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions.

The e-card will enable Austria's social insurance institutions to migrate to a technically advanced electronic administration system. "Opting for an online concept, the Central Association has made the pioneering decision to install a state-of-the-art telematics platform. This will allow misuse to be curbed and make processes substantially more efficient. Austria is setting the pace for Europe with this future-oriented system, and we are happy to be playing a significant part in its implementation", commented Michael Nitz, head of the Industry and Government division in the Cards segment at G&D.

The e-card will start by replacing Austria's current paper-based health care voucher by the end of 2005. The new electronic process will eliminate the need to issue and process an annual volume of more than 40 million health care vouchers. The chip card will contain administrative data such as the holder's name, title, date of birth and social insurance number.

The e-card's trial run is scheduled to start at the end of this year in Burgenland in eastern Austria. As an additional feature, the e-card is prepared for a digital signature function, so that authorized holders will be able to use the card for electronic transactions with government authorities.

The Munich-based smart card specialist G&D can draw on long-standing experience and comprehensive expertise in planning and implementing complex card-based systems. In Taiwan, for instance, the world's largest smart card project in the health sector was implemented last year, benefiting around 24 million insured citizens. G&D played a major role in introducing the system - from defining the data structures and data security through producing the health card to installing the card issuing and administration processes.

In another important project set up in November 2003, the Munich company was the first smart card vendor to launch an electronic health professional card within the German health care system, when the radiological departments of five separate hospitals in Saxony joined a pilot program styled "SaxTeleMed". The aim here is to use the health professional card as a secure medium that provides a defined legal and administrative framework for electronic generation, storage and transfer of medical information. G&D is also currently contributing to definition of the future German electronic health care card, and as principal contractor will play a major part in conducting the planned trials in Saxony and Bavaria.

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