SMARTRAC Confirmed as Market Leader in Government ID Inlay Business

Since the introduction in 2004 of the first electronic machine-readable travel documents (eMRTDs), SMARTRAC has helped the majority of issuing countries to integrate microcontroller chips in their e-passports. Today, 102 International Civil Aviation Association member states are issuing eMRTDs, representing over 50% of the overall passport population.


Besides e-passports, an increasing number of countries are adopting enhanced chip technologies as well within their eID programs, to enable reliable identification and secure access to online governmental and business services.


According to a new study from ABI Research*, SMARTRAC is the market leader in the government ID inlay business. ABI’s competitive assessment of the sector places SMARTRAC top overall, with an estimated 40 million units shipped during the first half of 2014, for a market share of nearly 15%.


ABI conducts an annual competitive assessment based on 10 key criteria: Global Penetration/Reach, Breadth of Services Offered, Influence, Production Capacity, Market Share, Interface/Contactless Readiness, Multi-application Capabilities & Support of Market Convergence, Standards and Security, Differentiation Factors, New Standards, Applications and Digital Readiness.


The report also scores SMARTRAC 9/10 in terms of market influence, largely based on its strong partnership list, which boasts the leading, active vendors within the government ID segment globally.


Working for the Government


SMARTRAC serves the government ID market through the deployment of eID inlays, which are used within e-passport, national ID card, driver license, visa documents, healthcare, social security and permanent resident applications, covering pure contactless, e-passport and dual interface applications. Today, SMARTRAC is involved in over 70 different eID and e-passport projects globally. Alongside SMARTRAC's tailored government inlay solutions, it also offers hard tags, a variety of contactless card and dual interface solutions, and ticket and label inlays in LF, UHF and HF bandwidths, including NFC (Near Field Communications).


SMARTRAC’s experience with contactless payments and ticketing means it can provide inlay solutions suitable for multi-applications enablement and market convergence. ABI scores the company 14/20 for the breadth of products and services offered, and 89/100 for implementation, reflecting the company’s position as setting the benchmark for contactless and dual-interface inlays.


Manufacturing Future-Proof Products


Since its foundation in 2000, SMARTRAC has pioneered contactless inlay manufacture, starting production in Thailand in 2001. It now has fabrication facilities worldwide, in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Germany, Finland, the US, Mexico and Brazil.


Pure contactless card inlays are provided through SMARTRAC's SMART-SL product family, an ultra-thin solution designed to accommodate additional physical security features. SMARTRAC's e-passport inlays are designed so that they can only be read when the passport is open. Using CAP (Chip Activation Protection) means that the e-passport cannot be read when the booklet is closed, which avoids the possibility of passive identity theft. Inlays can be supplied in HF or UHF formats, and adhere to ISO 14443, 15693 and 18000.


SMART-SL is a dedicated product for next-generation e-passport inlays. The next generation of such documents will provide enhanced functionality, including Logical Data Structure 2.0, which will provide dynamic updates of traveler data in the field; Supplemental Access Control, an enhanced data access and encryption protocol; and Automated Border Control facilitation, to manage the anticipated massive increase in the number of travelers crossing borders in the near future.


SMARTRAC's manufacturing facilities have been certified according to Common Criteria EAL 5+. Its products for government ID are also NASPO security assurance accredited. For standards and security, SMARTRAC scores 12/15, and 14/15 for global reach and penetration, according to ABI.


Predicting the Future


SMARTRAC is heavily involved in the NFC market, and is already gearing up to serve the future requirements of this technology. NFC will likely form a future standard within the access ecosystem for e-government services, whether that involves tapping a tag to guide a citizen to a website or portal, or using a tag to authenticate identity. SMARTRAC scores 14/20 within the multi-application and market convergence criteria, and 100% in terms of ABI’s contactless interface readiness criteria, demonstrating the company’s in-depth understanding of the future market for NFC applications.


Cooperation and Diversification


SMARTRAC is associated with various industry initiatives and working groups. The company is actively involved with the NFC forum, the OSPT Alliance, APSCA and ICMA. As well as being a member of the OSPT Alliance, SMARTRAC released a new MIFARE-based prelam in November 2012. It has also deployed over 2 million FeliCa-based inlays.


About ABI Research


Established in 1990, ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. For more information, visit

* Government and Healthcare ID Inlays Competitive Assessment, ABI Research, May 2014