Irish R&D consortium in US smart card deal

28 Apr 2005

A research group at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has joined forces with two Dublin and Waterford-based companies in a research and development (R&D) pact that will help power a smart card e-payment system for single-space parking meters in the US.

The Smart Card Operations Research Enterprise Group (Score) at WIT has completed research and software development into the integration of the Parcxmart smart card payment platform for single-space parking meters in the US. Parcxmart Technologies is a US firm specialising in smart card payment solutions, focusing on parking systems.

In partnership with Waterford-based company OneCard Solutions, Score carried out the research and successful integration of an e-purse parking meter in order to make it compliant with the Parcxmart smart card. “To date we have successfully pioneered innovative solutions for the educational and commercial sectors. Our most recent project with Parcxmart Technologies has combined the expertise and innovativeness of a number of leading-edge technology companies to produce an application, which we anticipate will be of great benefit to the consumer,” commented Máire Jackman, business manager at OneCard Solutions.

The e-purse was supplied by SmartCentric, a Dublin-based technology company. These US parking meters provide 3-DES secure smart card access into the Parcxmart payment platform and are currently being implemented by Parcxmart Technologies in conjunction with Duncan Parking Technologies, another US firm that has been supplying parking meters and related technology to municipal authorities since 1936.

Under the leadership of John Vance, the head of Score, a number of researchers within the Score group began to work on the project in October 2003 right up to the completion of its development in February 2005. The integration of the e-purse technology is being put to trial and tested in the US cities of San Jose in California and New Haven in Connecticut, with full citywide deployments planned by the end of 2005.

These are the first comprehensive multifunctional smart card payment systems in the US and are due to be fully operational in the cities of San Jose early Q2 2005. This marks the first time in the US that a parking meter can be installed and instantly ready to accept secure 3-DES smart cards as payment for on and off-street parking and in the participating merchant network.

The Parcxmart solution is the first turnkey smart card payment platform linked to electronic funds transfer networks, retail merchants, and merchant banks on behalf of municipalities and the commuting public.

Vance said: “We were delighted when OneCard Solutions asked us to come on board with this project over one year ago in partnership with our US counterparts. The e-purse technology for the smart card offers customers a convenient alternative to coins and cash in on-street parking locations. We look forward to seeing the card evolve in the future with further multifunctional applications being added beyond that of merchant acceptance today.”

President and CEO of Parcxmart Technologies, John Regan said: “This technology offers a turnkey payment system for municipal parking operators and their parking public who want an alternative to coins and cash and at the same time gain from the benefits of an electronic payments solution. Our partners in the merchant banking industry facilitate rapid citywide deployment capabilities in Ireland, the UK and the US.

“The benefits of offering smart card meters to a parking authority are that operating costs decrease while audit control increases. By removing coins from the collection process, cities have greater control over revenue growth,” Regan said.

By John Kennedy