Inside and Freescale publish NFC smart meter reference design
Utilities in many countries require a sophisticated payment infrastructure to facilitate the utility payment process while preventing fraud. Secure prepaid meters, such as this reference design developed by Freescale and Inside Secure, address this need by adding secure smart card security mechanisms that have been proven in the banking industry. Products based on this reference design are protected from fraud because they employ an Inside VaultIC security module and NFC technology to safely load energy credits from a smart card or an NFC-enabled phone.
The objective is to answer demand for prepaid electricity meters, which offer the best solution for controlling energy distribution. With this collaboration between Inside and Freescale, the companies deliver their security and connectivity solutions to protect prepaid meters while providing a convenient way to load energy credits and deliver valuable usage information to utilities.
The reference design features Inside Secure’s VaultIC 460 and NFC (MicroRead 3.4) chipset. The VaultIC 460 security module provides comprehensive security functions such as mutual authentication, verification and generation of certificates, encryption/decryption and managing secure storage of cryptographic keys. It is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 ready. NFC connectivity is implemented using the MicroRead controller and Open NFC protocol stack. The system is powered by the Freescale MK30X256 32-bit MCU (built on the ARM Cortex-M4 core), which operates up to 100 MHz with 1.25 DMIPS/MHz. The firmware is based on Freescale’s MQX real-time operating system. The built-in segment LCD controller displays all standard metering values at the push of a button.