Schlumberger rebrands smart cards

Schlumberger Ltd. has renamed its smart card division in an effort to give it its own brand identity.

Although the unit, now called Axalto, remains part of Schlumberger for now, company officials say it could be sold off or go public in the near future.

Schlumberger itself is focusing more on its core energy industry customers, said Paul Beverly, president of Axalto's Americas division. The company has established a significant presence in the federal market for smart cards, including being one of the first two companies to provide cards for the Defense Department's Common Access Card program.

The division's new name is derived from access, which smart cards control, and altitude, which "symbolizes our strategic vision and high expectations for smart cards," Beverly said.

"We felt that it was important that we establish our own identity, which reflects our smart card strategy," he said. "Schlumberger has a tremendous amount of goodwill associated with the brand, but it doesn't [reflect] the benefits of smart cards. Axalto is meant to do that."

Axalto employs 4,500 people worldwide, about 1,200 in North and South America, Beverly said. It operates a card manufacturing plant in Owings Mills, Md., and has a 10-person federal sales and support office in Falls Church, Va.

"The momentum around this solution has been strong now for five years, and especially in the last two years, driven by the proactivity of DOD with their Common Access Card," Beverly said.

Schlumberger recently sold its SchlumbergerSema division, including its four-person federal government subsidiary, to Atos Origin, based in Paris.

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