Legic Identsystems opens the doors to U.S. office, makes plans for second

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

CHICAGO--Legic Identsystems, a manufacturer of 13.56 MHz contactless smart card technology, opened its first office in the United States in the Chicago area at the start of 2005 and in April announced plans to open a second location on the West Coast.
The company, which is headquartered in Switzerland, previously worked through its OEM partners to gauge interest in the North American market. Bob Fee, general manager of North America for Legic, said the decision to open a location here is due to the market's increasing interest in the company's 13.56 MHz technology platform, which is capable of handling the authorization management for up to 127 applications with a single identification credential. Fee also said the new location will allow the company to focus on sealing additional OEM partnerships.
An office on the West Coast--Fee said the area is a hotbed of activity for biometrics and access control companies--is expected to be opened by the end of the last quarter. A location for the second office has yet to be determined.
"We look at this as a green-field opportunity," Fee said. "We feel we are coming in at the perfect time because of the interest in moving to a highly secured platform."
Since 1992, Legic has been manufacturing the technology, which is used widely in Europe, but has been slow to be adopted in the United States. Fee said this is partly due to the fact that many end users have heavily invested in 125 KHz prox card technology. But company spokesperson Birgit Spears said history also attributes to the technology movement.
"Europe had to deal with security issues in a broader way," Spears said. "The drive and need for higher level security was need based."
Fee said since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States market is looking for higher encryption, higher security and multiple applications, which Legic's product addresses.
But Fee said even as the market moves toward the 13.56 MHz technology, the only way Legic can grasp this market opportunity is through marketing itself here.
"This is a long term investment by Legic," Fee said. "This year is more about getting the name out there and meeting with end users, identifying projects and partners."
The company now accounts for 10 partners in the United States, including Indala, which the company signed a license agreement in April at ISC West. Fee plans on adding between 10 and 15 North American partners by the end of the year.
"We are realistic in our growth expectations," Fee said. "With the activities that we have been involved in though, we are going to see some nice payoffs."