Cartes Secure Connexions Roundup 2014

I attended Cartes Secure Connexions last month in Paris for the first time, alongside my ABI colleague Phil Sealy, a veteran to this event. The conference is one of the largest events for security in smart card technologies. While the primary focus was around the payment industry, there was a growing scope for application at the internet of things (IoT) level as well.

Cartes is an interesting conference from my own security perspective. Originally, I did not think there would be a lot of cross-over between smartcards, integrated circuits and the broader cybersecurity landscape. But as in everything security, many of the same themes resonate at this packaging level, notably how to enforce and enhance authentication mechanisms, whether through the hardware or software, and even at the service level. 

Interestingly, the Cartes conference, and many of the exhibitors, are in the midst of a market transition. There is a general, if understated, movement of players in this particular industry, uncannily echoed in the cybersecurity market. Interests and strategies are shifting slowly but surely and many vendors we spoke to are looking at M2M and IoT as their next market opportunities.

Certainly in terms of mobile, there is great interest in standards such as TEE and TPM and how these will apply for the payment, banking, retail and ticketing sectors. Evidently, smartcards is quite a saturated market (at least in more developed economies). Both large and smaller players are either extending efforts to new emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pac, or looking to penetrate mobile (which is where the M2M interest stems).

Further than that, the interest in IoT is one of a long-tail strategy; but one that is clearly on the minds of vendors. And many exhibitors are well-placed for this transition. The miniaturization that is so prominent with smart card technologies will be a good fit for the IoT. Companies such as Smartrac, Oberthur Technologies and Infineon are expressly focusing on this shift.

We met with many other vendors as well, including NXP Semiconductors, Crocus Technology, Watchdata, Lixens, FIME, Entrust Datacard, Ingenico, Gemalto, Thales e-Security, Thames Card, Konai, OSPT Alliance, Intrinsic-ID, Inside Secure, Austriamicrosystems, and SuperCom; all are certainly companies to watch out for in the smart technologies security space. Certainly for those looking to get a grasp of the relevant players in this market, Cartes seems to be a fitting port of call.