Developer defies critics with smartcard innovation

Developer defies critics with smartcard innovation

Some critics might claim that Australia's Java developers are lagging behind their European, Asian and US counterparts, when it comes to building Java-based applications. That hasn't stopped Sydney-based software developer Indigo from developing what it claims is the world's first JavaCard authentication system that enables secure online transactions via a Web browser.

In fact, Indigo has already received several international offers that will help them put Jazz-pass onto the world market, but officials could not elaborate further.

"We started working on JavaCard very early and we knew that authentication was really the first thing that everybody interested in e-commerce was worried about," Indigo's business director Greg Bartlett told ARN.

Led by technical director Paul Schulz, Indigo's team delivered an authentication solution using an internally developed Java 2.0 compliant multi-application smartcard, which the developer then used to create a mobile personal digital identity smartcard that stores a personal digital certificate on the card. The smartcard downloads X.509 certificate information onto the card using encrypted keys to protect information.

"Since the certificate is stored on the card, once you pull the card out of the reader your online session will be closed and access to your personal digital certificate removed," Bartlett explained.

After Visa decided to endorse JavaCard technology and announced they were embracing open systems, Indigo joined their partner program advocating JavaCard-based banking solutions.

But the challenge now facing Indigo is how to get Australian business people interested in actually implementing solutions using this technology.

"In this industry there is still some reticence by business to get on with the job, largely because of the confusion over standards," Bartlett said.

"It is very difficult for the business people in particular to understand concepts that they cannot touch and feel, and smartcards are something that people have been struggling with for quite a long time," Bartlett said.

But while Indigo plans to continue to pursue its own smartcard development strategy over the next three years the developer would also like to see more organisations enter this growing market.

"We would like to work with the channel and businesses in general to find out about the sort of ideas, requirements and expectations that these companies have about the smartcard products and services," Bartlett revealed.

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