HID buys .NET-based Nectar, adds customization

Monday, December 1, 2008

IRVINE, Calif.--HID Global announced in early November it had purchased the .NET-based Nectar smart card technology from StepNexus and Hive Minded. This, said Selva Selvaratnam, HID Global senior vice president and chief technical officer, “allows HID Global to supply .NET based contact and contactless smart cards as well as embedded systems and readers, which we cannot currently do. It’s a very powerful offering that leverages Microsoft’s development environment and development skillsets.”

The .NET Framework is a software technology available on all the latest Microsoft Windows operating systems. It conforms to the Common Language Infrastructure specifications, allows portable pre-coded solutions to be built rapidly, and Microsoft tools are available that support this development environment.

Currently, HID’s smart cards are based on C programming, but “because C is a language you compile and embed, it’s not programmable once you ship it without elaborate mechanisms and APIs,” said Selvaratnam. With .NET, “systems integrators will be able to customize a lot more simply to provide functionality specific to their requirements,” he said. “Many things become possible without the manufacturer having to do it. You can program and customize the product to your requirements.”

HID Global will continue to license the technology to a number of third parties who already manufacture .NET-based smart cards-“We want to keep this as open as possible,” Selvaratnam said-and will issue cards of its own with the .NET technology within the next 12 months.
Nothing will fundamentally change for dealers selling HID smart cards currently, he said, but “it differentiates from all the rest” those systems integrators with .NET programmers on staff, as “they’ll be able to move very quickly to add features; the development is very rapid.”

Further, moving to .NET, HID Global has insulated its hardware from the software, meaning that anything written for current hardware will be compatible with future hardware, regardless of whether new faster processors are added, for example. “The ‘write once, use everywhere’ philosophy becomes a reality,” he said.