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News in-depth: Contactless smart cards to boom in popularity
13 Dec 2011

A new report has suggested that contactless smart cards are to grow in popularity over the next few years as more and more companies come to realise their benefits.

Reportlinker.com has published its Smart Card Market Forecast to 2014 and states that 6.1 billion smart cards will have been shipped by the end of 2011, the Sacramento Bee reports.

This is an increase of 11 per cent when compared with the same figure from the previous year.

Furthermore, there could be a further 22 per cent growth between the end of this year and 2014, the report's authors said.

The telecoms industry is currently the biggest driver of usage, but healthcare and financial services companies are also expected to embrace contactless smart cards more in the near future.

Demand is mostly being fuelled by trends such as near field communication, e-passports and payments on transit systems, with developing countries also beginning to use the cards for these purposes.

Indeed, this was demonstrated earlier this month when the Indian Express reported New Delhi Municipal Council has brought in smart cards to monitor attendance in its schools.

Contactless smart cards from sQuid are also utilised in Kenya, where they go to poor villagers so the money from charities can be spent directly.

However, they are also widely used in the developed world in countries such as Britain and the US.

Earlier in 2011, Ecebs found that Southampton is making the best use of contactless smart cards in the UK, modernising more services with the technology than any other authority in the country.

Residents can borrow books with the cards, prove their age, pay for leisure centre access and register with schemes such as organ donation, with even more uses planned for the future.

This may encourage more local authorities to bring them in to replace old-fashioned paper-based systems.

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