Smartcard RFID Market Projected To Soar

With contactless payment leading the way, the market for smartcards is expected to hit $1.42 billion by 2011, up from about $472 million today, according to a report published this week by RFID analyst firm Venture Development Corp.

"As smartcards continue to penetrate applications such as contactless payment, ticketing, security/access control, and e-government, the need to simplify interactions by reducing the overall number of smartcards used by an individual will increase," the report said. "Similar to how cell phones continue to morph into 'Smartphones' by integrating new applications and convergent technologies, so too will smartcards change into a single platform capable of supporting multiple uses. The days of the traditional, single-function smartcard may be numbered."

Is this getting us to the point where the rectangular plastic card will become obsolete, with its essence boiled down to a chip inserted in a phone, fob or even someone's head? This raises the troubling question of whether today's offers of a free phone with a multi-year service subscription may be replaced by a multi-year credit card loyalty pledge in exchange for coupons for free chemotherapy?