Second wave of electronic IDs in Europe

With the recent announcement that a national electronic ID (e-ID) project will be rolled out in early 2011, Poland injects optimism for further momentum in e-ID rollouts in Europe. According to Frost & Sullivan, this is a positive development not only due to scale, but also because it may encourage other European countries to follow suit. More importantly, increased application of smartcard technologies within Poland and Europe will accelerate demand in other areas, thereby generating incremental revenues for the smartcard industry.

The pl.ID project in Poland anticipates a budget of €90.1 million of which approximately €76.2 million will be funded by the EU. With a planned duration of four years, the groundwork is expected to be laid in time for the first issuance of a national e-ID by 1 January 2011. Unlike other countries like Spain or the Netherlands, Poland will likely issue the new electronic ID cards free of charge. Valid for ten years, the cards will store personal data, a digital photograph and personal digital signature and, possibly, additional biometric information.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s recently published study “World Government and ID Smart Cards Market,” Poland is still at an early National e-ID deployment stage and a mid-sized European market for e-IDs. Demand will likely add another 10 per cent to Frost & Sullivan’s 2010 national ID shipment forecasts in EMEA by early 2011. The pl.ID project will likely add at least a 1 per cent to Frost & Sullivan’s EMEA national ID 7-year CAGR of 8 per cent in the years 2008 through 2015.

The Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW) is already investing heavily in infrastructure necessary to accommodate the IT overhaul for this project. “Although the supply network in Poland is relatively small compared to countries like the UK or Italy, this network can be significantly expanded because Poland requires to tender government projects on EU tender portals,” says Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Analyst, Yiru Zhong. Moreover, the pl.ID project will generate opportunities for additional services that come with managing IT systems, data security and multi-applicative functionalities. “This is a revenue stream that can provide vendors with a relatively stable source on top of just card shipments,” according to Zhong.

As highlighted in the recent Frost & Sullivan World Government & ID study, broader smartcard adoption in society is a significant driver for use in other areas. We look forward to a second wave of e-ID projects to boost not only the government ID segment within smartcards in the medium term but also other segments such as Corporate Access, healthcare and payments.


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