April 22, 2002 — Visa U.S.A., Sun Microsystems, and a group of credit-card issuers today announced the winners of the Smart Visa Challenge, a competitive search launched last year to find and develop smart-card programs using Java Card technology.
After reviewing more than 200 entries, Visa and its co-sponsors selected five winners who proposed innovative non-payment applications that can reside on a Visa smart card.
Visa selected two grand-prize winners: Nicholas Shiftan of La Jolla, Calif., and Deepak Joseph of Vienna, Va.
Upon completion of a licensing agreement with the company under contest rules, each will receive the $75,000 Grand Prize.
- Shiftan, a computer science student at Harvard, developed an application that complements point-of-sale (POS) transactions.
- Joseph developed an application that uses Visa’s Smart Rewards program to present targeted incentives to consumers.
“Visa is furthering its commitment to identify unique smart-card applications that provide additional utility for cardholders,” said Patrick Gauthier, senior vice president of smart-card applications for e-Visa, a division of Visa U.S.A. “The Smart Visa Challenge invited non-industry members to think outside the box and create practical applications for smart cards. We were pleased with the vast response of entries, which demonstrated the wide range of possibilities for the chip. Applications such as these will ultimately make smart cards more useful to consumers and merchants.”
Additional winners were chosen by Sun and by Visa’s banking partners in the contest, Providian, First USA, and Fleet Credit Card Services.
- Sun also selected Mr. Shiftan’s POS-related software, thereby expanding his prize package to include two passes to the JavaOne 2003 conference, roundtrip airfare, and hotel accommodations for two, a complete set of Java series books, and a Java jacket.
- Providian presented a cash prize of $25,000, a Handspring Visor, and royalty rights to David Fox, from New York, for his development of a philanthropic smart card application.
- First USA awarded $20,000 to Mr. Joseph, also a Visa winner, for his application that networks smart cards with interactive television.
- Fleet Credit Card chose an application related to transaction segmentation, awarding a $20,000 prize to Krish Mani of California.
The Smart Visa Challenge was announced at the annual JavaOne Developer Conference in June 2001. Any U.S. resident with an idea or application for a new Java Card technology-based smart-card solution was qualified to enter. In October, judges for the companies chose the top 20 ideas to be developed to full applications or services: 10 in the online (Internet) category and 10 in the offline (retail) category. All completed applications were reviewed in January 2002, and winners were notified in March.