To address the highly demanding requirements for secure identification documents, such as the electronic passport (e-passport), Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced that it is applying core capabilities in contactless and power efficient microcontroller technologies along with advanced embedded memory for next generation government identification (ID) products that deliver greater speed, performance, and productivity in issuance and use to customers.
TI’s contactless smart integrated circuit (IC) platform will offer an improvement over today’s government ID chip technology by enabling fast and accurate production, personalization and processing of government-issued electronic ID documents. Powered by an advanced memory technology, it will feature extremely fast write and read times as well as increased memory capacity and processing performance to accommodate the required security and future data storage requirements.
“The government ID customer has ever-increasing security and memory requirements and the user experience requires fast RF performance,” said Julie England, vice president of Texas Instruments. “TI has focused on solutions that are highly optimized and low power, coupled with extraordinary contactless RF performance. We want to bring those strengths to customers in the ID market.”
State of the Market The government electronic ID market is gaining momentum as traditional citizen ID documents transition to higher levels of security using embedded smart chips. Contactless technology is a key component of this evolution. In its September 2007 report, “Contactless Government Identification Documents,” ABI Research states that the total market for contactless e-passport transponders is set to grow to nearly $190 million by 2012, while the total market for contactless e-ID documents is expected to reach nearly $1 billion by 2012. With several national ID card programs underway in Europe and Asia, contactless-enabled national ID cards are expected to grow to approximately $750M by 2012.
Bringing Government ID Up to Speed
Most of the current government ID smart ICs are based on legacy technologies which filled an immediate need for secure electronic ID in first generation government ID applications.
However, some countries, including the U.S., are already looking for significantly faster write speeds to create and process documents more quickly. According to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. e-Passport issuance is expected to grow rapidly from 12.1 million in 2006 to 17 million by the end of 2007. With such volume demands, the need for accuracy and efficiency in production and post-issuance processes is critical. Other advanced market requirements for next generation products include enhanced memory capacity to support future security requirements such as additional biometrics.
These future requirements are stretching the capability of current products and driving the need for new technologies. TI’s new smart IC platform is being designed to meet and exceed these requirements.
Designing with Government ID in Mind
“We have combined an evolutionary set of technologies in our portfolio for a fast, scalable smart IC specifically to address the need for efficient issuance and stronger contactless performance in the government ID market,” said Julie England, vice president of Texas Instruments. “As a technology leader in mobile applications, TI understands the importance of power efficiency and scalability to address future needs — while at the same time raising the bar on speed and performance.”
TI’s contactless smart platform for the next generation of government ID will employ an advanced embedded memory technology, called FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory), which considerably improves the speed and reliability of future smart, secure e-passports and government ID documents.
TI’s embedded FRAM memory advancement is based upon a joint technology development and licensing agreement with Ramtron International Corporation, a leading supplier of nonvolatile FRAM, formed in 2001. The technology will provide a significant improvement over the non-volatile memory technologies used in current electronic government ID, such as Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) and Flash, offering major advantages in terms of transaction speed, power consumption and enhanced write data reliability. TI’s solution helps the government ID customer meet the rigorous demands of the environment in which government ID documents operate.
About Texas Instruments
A technology pioneer in secured contactless applications, Texas Instruments delivers many innovative contactless and secured products to the forefront of electronic ID and payments market. ExxonMobil’s SpeedPass(TM) and the American Express Blue Card leveraged TI’s technical expertise in providing the first “pay-at-the-pump” application and the innovative clear contactless credit card design. TI is developing faster, more secure smart IC applications for the next generation of contactless electronic government-issued identification. High-performance and low-power contactless applications continue to be evidence of TI’s strength in designing robust, yet streamlined products that execute more efficiently. Capitalizing on its competencies in high-volume semiconductor manufacturing and microelectronics packaging, TI is a visionary leader and at the forefront of establishing new markets and international standards for secured contactless applications. For more information, call 1-800-962-7343.
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Education Technology business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.