Reference Design Promises Secure Utility-Meter Payments Via Smartphone

Reference Design Promises Secure Utility-Meter Payments Via Smartphone

Aix-en-Provence, France and Austin, Texas, USA: A utility-meter reference design with near-field-communication (NFC) connectivity, developed by Freescale and Inside Secure, will allow consumers to securely reload energy credit balances. The reference design, intended for electricity meters, is based on Freescale’s Kinetis MK30 microcontroller.

To make energy-related payments while reducing the risk of fraud, utilities in many countries often require a sophisticated payment infrastructure. Secure prepaid meters address this need by bringing in smart-card security mechanisms from the banking industry.

Freescale/Inside Secure’s design uses a VaultIC 460 security module and NFC MicroRead 3.4 chipset to safely load energy credits from a smart card or an NFC-enabled phone. The VaultIC 460 security module provides comprehensive security functions, such as mutual authentication, verification and generation of certificates, encryption/decryption, and management of the secure storage of cryptographic keys. NFC connectivity is implemented with the MicroRead controller and Open NFC protocol stack.

The FIPS140-2 Level-3-ready system is powered by Freescale’s MK30X256 32-bit MCU (built on the ARM CortexTM-M4 core), which operates up to 100MHz with 1.25 DMIPS/MHz. 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.

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