As they operate on-line connected to a computer or terminal, transparent smart card readers from Gemplus are providing a convenient and flexible link to secure network access or electronic payment programmes. They are also proving ideal for such applications as multi-media, GSM and home banking.
The range of transparent readers offered by Gemplus, the world’s leading producer of magnetic stripe cards and smart cards, includes external readers, integrated readers and integrated couplers.
One of the external readers, the GCM336, is a smart card ready modem which is suitable for user authentication, digital signature or payment. Operating at 33,600bps, the reader is also ideal for Internet use. It is reckoned to be the first single unit device to combine network access via modem with security control using a smart card reader/writer.
By offering an effective interface between a computer and a smart card, the GCM336 can control access to databases and corporate computer networks. With the use of a smart card access key, the unit is ideal for electronic commerce and home banking.
Other products in the range include the GCR400 universal smart card reader. Designed to offer maximum autonomy and ergonomic operation, this unit includes a separate power supply and is capable of reading, writing and deleting data. It is particularly suited to such applications as testing and electrical card personalisation. In addition, the GCR400 can be hooked up to a desktop workstation, either as a fixed unit or placed horizontally or vertically on the desk.
The GCR400-FD is a smart card reader designed for integration into a PC- compatible microcomputer. Ready for installation into a 3 ” floppy disk drive bay, the device includes a smart card reader based on the GCR400 and an extension card which is installed in the PC. The unit can also be installed in 5″ drive bays using an adapter.
Especially suited to logical access control applications, the GCR400-FD can be augmented with a plug-in format security module which upgrades application security and makes the unit ideal for use as a dedicated reader for this function.
Another reader in the Gemplus transparent range, the GCR410 is designed for use linked to a PC by RS232 serial connection. Powered on the keyboard port, this external reader is reckoned to combine low cost with high capacity while minimising time to market. It communicates with the PC at up to 38,800 bauds and is capable of reading from and writing to all ISO7816- 1/2/3 microprocessor smart cards.
For users of information systems equipped with a PCMCIA port, the GPR400 compact smart card reader/writer is a lightweight device which offers high performance.
The first smart card reader in PCMCIA type II format, the GPR400 can tackle such applications as computer security, information highways, healthcare, banking and telecommunications. When used for access control for local and wide area networks, for example, including the Internet, the GPR400 enables the operator to control access to databases and corporate computer networks. It can also be used for payment systems on the information highways.
Other features of the GPR400 include the ability to identify the computer user when he inserts his smart card. Also, with a smart card access key, the unit offers protection against unauthorised software copying by limiting the use of a software package to one person.
At the heart of the Gemplus transparent readers product line is the GCI400 mini- coupler. This modular, upgradeable device allows users to implement and manage the interface between smart cards and computers.
Essentially, the GCI400 is an all-purpose coupler which can be used for integration into payphones or in payment terminals for all payment or electronic purse applications. It can also be used as the central component in dedicated access control environments. As well as card management, the coupler is ideal for controlling hardware peripherals, display, keyboard, buzzer, data memory, program memory and so on.
Common to all Gemplus readers is the GemCore operating system, which is designed to ensure efficient use of memory and high levels of security and reliability. GemCore is a component kit for manufacturers of electronic hardware which enables the smart card function to be integrated into any type of electronic equipment. This could include keyboards, public payphones and vending machines, or portable devices such as phones or computers.
All Gemplus smart card readers in the range are compatible with international current electro-magnetic standards. In particular, they comply with PC/SC standards which ensure that smart cards, readers and computers made by different manufacturers can work together. They readers are also supplied with a development kit which includes all the tools needed, eg C drivers and documentation, to develop software applications.
Gemplus Group is the world’s leading producer of magnetic stripe cards and smart cards. Gemplus manufactures and sells memory cards, microprocessor cards (both contact and contactless), and magnetic stripe cards, as well as electronic tags. It also designs and markets software, terminals and systems and provides personalisation, consultancy and training services to offer its customers comprehensive solutions.
In 1996, Gemplus’ total sales were GBP 288 million. In 1997, the company boasts a production capacity of 900 million plastic and smart cards. Gemplus sells its products worldwide for such applications as public and cellular telephony, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, gaming, identity, access control, pay TV, security for computer networks and electronic commerce.
Information about Gemplus’ products and services can be found on the World Wide Web at [http//www.gemplus.com]
Gemplus will be exhibiting it’s range of readers at Smart Card 98, 17-19 February, Olympia 2, stand B4