Oberthur Technologies officials say they’ll take possession of a local property next month and that its service centre will be fully operational by the last quarter of this year.
The France-based company’s Ottawa “personalization centre” will be slightly more than 15,000 square feet in size. Financial institutions and retail organizations can hire the company to create payment cards encoded with personalized information and security features.
Both chip and dual interface technology (where users tap cards on a reader to activate) will be manufactured at the Ottawa facility. The company declined to identify the location for security reasons.
Marketing themselves in the payment and identification sectors, Oberthur Technologies also provides telecom services, and the Ottawa location will develop and package SIM cards for Canadian telecom companies.
Ten employees will operate the centre upon its opening; a number that will grow as the business expands, said Martin Ferenczi, managing director of the company’s North American offices.
Although payment cards (including credit, debit and prepaid cards) are very popular today, there is a worldwide movement towards convergence, Mr. Ferenczi said. Soon, smart cards will become multi-application cards used for payment, personal identification and access control. Near-field communication will also be integrated into Oberthur Technologies, making it possible to pay in a contactless fashion through mobile phones.
“The convergence movement is on and is accelerating on a worldwide basis,” Mr. Ferenczi said. “And Oberthur is on the forefront of this converging world.”
The technology company, which was founded in 1984 and has 50 offices around the world, had yet to establish a Canadian presence. Ottawa was chosen because of an available site that best suited the company’s needs because of access to postal service, a qualified workforce nearby and a secure facility.
Oberthur Technologies currently supplies contactless cards to Montreal’s transit system, and SIM cards to major Canadian telecom operators. Serving clients in over 140 countries, the company has a total of 5,700 employees worldwide.