Roland Moreno, the wise self-taught

Roland Moreno (1945-2012) born in Egypt, of a mother who loved France, chose the camp of change. With an incredible and countless number of inventions, patents, innovations and projects…

“Research is money transformed into knowledge. Innovation is knowledge transformed into Money. »

Entrepreneurship is a jungle where a fauna can be hatched consisting of prototypes and species so rare that they leave an indelible mark on the entire ecosystem and this forever.

These cases are sometimes studied, rarely celebrated and very often forgotten despite all the contributions and all the legacies they have been.

“Geniuses”, are often misunderstood because they are so far ahead of most of their contemporaries.

So they are visionaries. Of course, because of modesty, decency, shyness, false modesty, they will reject these qualities. But that is not the question, instead let us now stop at one of them.

Roland Moreno has had an extraordinary career as someone who knows how to escape the molds of studies, frameworks and preconceived ideas. So he left the faculty benches, preferring an active life and spending his time disassembling amplifiers, radios and loudspeakers to better understand their function, cogs, mechanisms and springs.

With a spirit as artistic as an anarchist. As a music lover as passionate. So creative. That some would qualify as “punk” and “libertarian” and others as transgressive…

Roland Moreno is an original inventor (he prefers the term “curious” because he does not constantly invent), intuitive, gifted, very advanced for his school age and completely self-taught.

Former journalist, errand boy and big fan of electronics and IT.

It was his compulsive reading of Science Fiction that inspired his first patent application: a ring (with internally memorized information).

He also invented Radoteur (Software that invents new words by creating associations and neologisms) as well as Matapof (Tossing machine).

In 1972, Roland Moreno first created the structure called “Innovatron” in an associative form with the aim of marketing his ideas, the success of which would make it an SA.

In 1974, he came up with an incredibly disturbing, original and innovative but above all very useful idea (compared to his earlier more “entertainment” inventions):

Payment chip card

In its internal elaboration once the concept and the foundations have been laid, it focuses first on the simplicity of the electronic circuit contained in the chip. Simplicity combined with very high security to ensure the smooth operation of banking transactions.

Roland Moreno was the first to file a patent (2 Germans already had the same idea but never filed a patent) and added countless supplements to it in 1975 that were essential to raise his invention to levels of excellence. never reached , especially the card reader’s control of the confidential code on the chip.

Errors detected by the “system” that cause self-destruction of the chip and/or the enhanced protection of the so-called confidential data.

Initially it was necessary to protect this innovation through a series of patents that were both inviolable and inviolable (this was done with at least 43 patents filed between 1974 and 1975 just for invented this payment chip card, remember he was the first to do it). Second challenge and not the least, it is now necessary to convince the manufacturers to use this basic change in order to make payments (to merchants) and cash withdrawals (from ATMs).

And it is precisely his passion to know how to overcome various obstacles that made the person we know and the indelible mark he left.

Starting with the microprocessor (invented by INTEL in 1971) it improves the concept (it was a ring in the beginning) to perfect it by reinforcing security as before.

The processor equipped with memory communicates directly with the reader, where you can enter your confidential code. Then the chip performs the encryption calculation. The same goes for the reader. The result must be the same on each side so that the transaction really and concretely succeeds.

He also took advantage of the emergence of smart cards in 1977 and succeeded in arousing the curiosity of the banks he would chair for 10 years to convince them:

– make maps;

– to equip all merchants with readers that are adequate and compatible with its payment solutions; – to build a telematic network (10 years before Minitel!);
– to install ATMs on a massive scale to democratize these solutions.

In addition to this industrial tour de force, Roland Moreno was able to resist many attacks by unscrupulous industrialists (IBM, Philips, Siemens, Bull, etc.) who did everything to crush him and try to take him back his innovation and cancel its patents through relentless legal battles.

Finally, the smart card was only adopted in 1986 and it was not until 2011 that bank transactions by card surpassed checks in France.

Inventor of the memory chip card without a microprocessor. His revolutionary invention found many outlets and applications including:

– as we have seen before, the Smart Bank Card (and all related payment systems).
– the Telephone Card (at the time of the France Télécom cabins. The cards were sold specifically to tobacconists. With the success of the mobile phone and the deployment of mobile networks, the cabin system was gradually abandoned by France Télécom, which will be Orange).
– the SIM card for mobile phones.
– the Pass Navigo (which is in fact a remotely readable RFID chip for data transmission) resulting from the partnership between Innovatron and the RATP (Roland Moreno will wait 8 years before being convinced!). This technology will also be used for Velib’.
– the Carte Vitale (for Social Security of course)
– the PIAF (Individual Slotted Parking Meter)

The smart card entered the public domain in 1998. This innovation brought a total of 150 million euros to Innovatron.

Despite this fortune, Innovatron would experience both financial and industrial recessions during the 90s and 2000s, when it invested in industrialization projects, which were clearly not part of its core business and practice.

In 1999, this music lover created Audio net, a patented system for listening and enjoying music whose rights are purchased by the user wherever an Audionet tuner is installed (which is an internet-connected stereo that provides -way to access the music stock present on the servers thanks to the identification of an Audionet smart card).

In 2001, Roland Moreno created Bachotron, which is an electronic re-orchestration of classical pieces.

In 2002, it was the invention of Célimène, where great song texts were complemented by pieces of popular music.

In 2002, Roland Moreno resold his shares in Gemplus (French manufacturer of smart cards) but remained at the head of Innovatron, which continues to collect fees on contactless cards (such as Pass’ Navigo). Gemplus will be bought by the Dutch Axalto in 2006 which will be renamed Gemalto which will be bought by Schlumberger which will abandon this field and this sector of activity…

Geplus will create more than 10,000 jobs under the force of Roland Moreno and his inventions.

In 2003, he resurfaced with the undecidables website, which consisted of a series of wacky and weird questionnaires (like its inventor) to discover your twin(s).

Before his death, Roland Morena also worked at an Online Poker site and thought about designing new games for television.

The media dubbed him the French Bill Gates and predicted a future as a billionaire if he lived in the United States and in Silicon Valley. Not sure if the way of life of the Californians, pompous and energetic can suit Roland Moreno who is a careful sitter and Parisian, passionate about his projects and knows how to “fight” – in his own way – some facility and many traps.

Roland Moreno filled our wallets with his cards and managed to fill his even though it wasn’t his main driving force.

He is very proud to enter the dictionary and the daily life of millions (billions!) of individuals all over the planet who still make money without – necessarily – knowing it from vision, creativity , abnegation and brutality of this careful and humble man who in fact and has everything of a great man.

MEJRI Bassem

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