Smart cards, biometrics find fancy new uses
Automated school roll-calls are the latest among applications to join the fast expanding club of smart-card and bio-metric chip use in India that is rapidly embracing most day-to-day activities including pay TV usage, metro rail passes and even city bus passes. HT reports.
"Mummy/Daddy, I'm in school now!" A mother receives the text message on her cellphone half an hour after her daughter left home for school.
A microchip installed in the child's identity card sent the message to her mother's phone as soon as she entered the classroom.
Automated school roll-calls are the latest among applications to join the fast expanding club of smart-card and bio-metric chip use in India that is rapidly embracing most day-to-day activities including pay TV usage, vehicle tracking systems, highway toll payments, metro rail passes and even city bus passes.
The booming domestic smart card industry is set to reach $1 billion (R6,000 crore) by 2015, growing at over 12% a year. Academic institutions, vehicles and property registrations are set to boost smart-card usage, experts said.
"The school transport automation system is a very efficient way of tracking attendance of students, real-time online tracking of buses on-route," said Karn Nagpal, who along with his twin brother Kartick, runs Rosmerta Technologies, the company that has been providing radio frequency identification (RFID)-based solutions to seven schools in the national capital region (NCR).
"SMS notification to parents on various events such as expected time of arrival of the bus, drop off time and place and other such processes are very handy," Nagpal said.
Last year, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa launched a pilot scheme in government schools introducing smart cards containing data on students.
While the chip-enabled text messages help parents track children, for the government it provides a smart way to collate statistics of dropouts and identify beneficiaries of schemes such as scholarships.
In January this year, the union urban development ministry asked all state government to accelerate the installation of RFID-based vehicle tracking systems on all public modes of public transport such as city buses.
"At present most of the cities in India do not have reliable, comfortable, quick and affordable public transport. However, in big cities, the public transport provided lacks in availability of frequency, extent of coverage and adequate safety measures," Sudhir Krishna, urban development secretary, had written to all state chief secretaries.
Nagpal said property registration is another area that will see a multi-fold increase in the use of smart cards.
"Smart-card based solutions in property registration, which will retain data for decades and can be used by banks and financial institutions, will see major jump in use of RFID-chips," Nagpal said.
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