Bull introduced today the iSimplify! card -- the worlds first smart card designed to simplify and secure personal access to the Internet and Internet-based services. Because it uses Bulls new Oversoft technology, which integrates the world-standard Internet Protocol (IP), the iSimplify! card can act as a server or client when interacting with Internet-based services. Bull made the announcement here at Cartes 99 (stand #E40). With iSimplify!, users carry their personal Internet environment (ID, password, bookmarks, etc.) with them, securely stored in a smart card. The new iSimplify! card will be marketed to end users initially through authorized Internet-related companies beginning in the first half of 2000. Ironically, Internet users have access to the whole world for services like the Web and e-commerce transactions, but are tied to their personal PC, mobile phone or TV decoder for access to passwords, bookmarks and e-mail addresses required to fully benefit from these online services, said David Levy, president of Bulls Smart Cards & Terminals division. With iSimplify!, users are free to access their Internet services regardless of location and the terminal device they use. We call this concept anyware.
Inserted in a terminal (e.g., PC with a smart card reader, twin-slot mobile phone, kiosk, TV decoder, etc.), iSimplify! allows users to connect to the Internet and access all their usual subscribed services. The iSimplify! card stores each users Internet ID, enabling anywhere/everywhere access to personal data such as bookmarks, e-mail address books, etc., while also ensuring a high level of security.
Bull is the worlds only smart card supplier to cover the complete information process, from hardware to networks and software, Levy said, and has registered patents used by all smart card manufacturers. Only Bull has the expertise and vision to develop Oversoft technology and the iSimplify! smart card.
iSimplify! will be offered in two versions to address the needs of two distinct markets. It will be marketed through Internet access providers, Internet content providers and integrators and solution suppliers. The card can be marketed with a smart card reader.
To implement its enabling policy, Bull plans to extend its Oversoft technology over time into all its card ranges. A five-point marketing plan is being implemented to bring iSimplify! to market:
1. Create three competence centers, one in Europe (already operational), one in the United States (start of 2000) and one in Asia (mid 2000). Multiple centers are necessary because the Internet is approached differently around the world.
2. Develop Oversoft Inside branding and licensing agreements, and sign industrial partnerships with leaders in Internet technology. It is technology that has made the Internet possible. Leaders in technology make the standards. Discussions have already begun.
3. Sign research partnerships with universities. Before reaching the industrial stage, Web technologies are often developed in universities.
4. Sign partnerships with current card issuers. The Oversoft Inside cards will enable operators who already use smart cards to offer new services.
5. Open the technology to other potential users (in the smart card or other fields) because a standard is only effective if it is accepted by the marketplace and accessible to all.
Bulls Oversoft Technology
The Oversoft technology used in Bulls iSimplify! smart card is a communication architecture that adds a new communication function to the smart card. It enables a smart card to be integrated with an IP (Internet Protocol) network. The technology is particularly valuable for operations with open platforms, and the development work has led to the registration of a number of patents.
Bull is now working on the adaptation of the Oversoft technology to other types of communication networks: digital TV, GSM and others, Levy said. Market surveys show that these networks, which are already established users of smart cards, are converging towards the IP communication technology. This is why the opportunity to explore the integration of Oversoft Inside smart cards in these environments is so timely. True to its tradition, Bull aims to open its technology to industry via a policy of agreements and partnerships, a number of which are already under discussion.
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