Permanently At Hand: Qualified Signatures And Online Communication With Authorities And Commercial Partners in the Credit Card Form Factor

Zug, Switzerland, July 1, 2014 - Dr. Paschalis Papagrigoriou, who invented the microSD smartcard and created the German "Merkelphone“, announced the ability to read the new German ID card (nPA) for the latest release of his multi-function reader Secocard.

According to Empelor GmbH, the developing unit tasked with customizing and manufacturing the Secocard product, a series of early prototypes has already been produced based on an HF/NFC reader IC by ams AG (SIX: AMS) and released to selected partners, allowing them to integrate their nPA applications.

The new German electronic ID card was introduced to significantly enhance security levels of administrative processes with public sector agencies and accelerate process flow. Using the so-called nPA in conjunction with Secocard will enable citizens to perform their errands to authorities from their homes, adding comfort and security to the time-saving effects. Among other things, users can identify themselves in an online shopping experience and digitally sign electronic documents in a legally secure way, complying with the German legislative (SigG, i.e. “Signaturgesetz“).

Secocard, incorporating the ams - HF/NFC reader IC AS3911, will be compliant with the requirements of a so-called comfort reader (compliance of BSI TR-03119 – Requirements for Smart Card Readers Supporting eID and eSign Based on Extended Access Control V1.3) and as such can be used for the signature function of an “nPA”, which is mandatory for electronic signing of documents. At present, a small group of partners within the IT security industry is working on implementing their nPA applications on this new version of Secocard. The resulting solutions will be available to the market in the course of Q1, 2015.

ams supplies its latest NFC („near field communication“) and high-frequency reader IC AS3911 to the latest Secocard reader. Called AS3911, it comes with unique error handling capabilities – error handling on the IC as opposed to on the microcontroller- and supports data rates of up to 6.8 Mbit per sec. AS3911 is the ideal IC to run a variety of applications including, but not limited to EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) payment, access control, NFC infrastructures and ticketing.

“ams has proven an important technology partner for us, not only helping us to achieve NFC functions for the eID reader capacity, but enhancing al other existing and planned Secocard applications like EMV (mPOS), contactless payment, door opening control, secure communication, and many more,” Dr. Papagrigoriou states. “From all IC manufacturers, the ams IC is the ideal building block for us due to its versatile and comprehensive scope of operation, resulting in very little effort for us to adapt our multi-dimensional security platform Secocard.”

“Especially for high security applications encompassing management of personal data and digital online signatures you will expect highest levels of error tolerance and functionality, which is the focal point in Empelor’s new eID reader,” Rene Wutte, Marketing Manager for HF/NFC Reader at ams AG. "It is the mission we pursue with our present generation of HF/NFC reader ICs to help accelerate development periods for readers like Secocard and provide developers with better performance margins, resulting in reduced complexity and faster times to market when mastering such critical applications.“

About Empelor GmbH

Empelor GmbH with offices in Nuremberg, Germany, and Zug, Switzerland, builds upon its longtime experience in highly security-critical ITC markets, and successfully develops products and solutions to make mobile communication devices safer and more user friendly.

With its comprehensive service offering, Empelor is also ideally positioned to organize the whole spectrum of mobile communications for its customers more efficiently and make it future-proof. Empelor can show the optimal way to achieve the highest benefits from a company's established mobile communications. Creating a stable framework of improvement and protection, Empelor helps develop mobile communications into tailor-made networking platforms for its clients.


Media Contact:

Lakis Nenos
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About ams AG

ams' products are aimed at applications which require extreme precision, accuracy, dynamic range, sensitivity, and ultra-low power consumption. ams' product range includes sensors, sensor interfaces, power management ICs and wireless ICs for customers in the consumer, industrial, medical, mobile communications and automotive markets.

ams' headquarters are in Unterpremstaetten near Graz, Austria. Key research and development facilities are based in Austria, in Plano, Texas (USA), a center of excellence in optical sensors, and in seven other design centers worldwide. Employing around 1,400 in over 20 countries, ams operates direct sales offices in all major regions of the world. ams maintains a network of channel partners around the globe, including its worldwide distribution partners DigiKey, Future Electronics and Mouser.

ams is listed on the SIX Swiss stock exchange (ticker symbol: AMS). More information about ams can be found at

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