GEMENOS, France -- Gemplus Card International has broadened the technical range of its smart card products.

The enhanced system, called MPCOS, substantially expands the memory capacity of the previous PCOS product and can be applied in banking, electronic purse, transportation, and health care markets, the French manufacturer said.

Gemplus, whose U.S. Subsidiary is in Gaithersburg, Md., has sold the PCOS smart card for numerous banking and payment applications. Users include SIBS in Portugal, NETS in Singapore, and Bank of China.

MPCOS, compatible with both PCOS systems and the international technical standard 7816-4, can hold 16K, 24K, or 64K of electronically erasable, programmable, read-only memory -- compared to PCOS' 8K. And MPCOS' transaction speeds can go as high as 115,000 baud, well beyond PCOS' 9,600.

Its multiple applications can include personal identification, access control data base management, and toll collection. The communications capability can allow for "contactless" operation.

For example, a card can be held five to 10 centimeters away from a reader to gain access to a transit system or can provide for electronic toll collections on a highway at five to 10 meters' distance.

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