Plug-and-play NFC security module suits smart wearables

22nd March 2016
Nat Bowers

Infineon Technologies, in collaboration with Beijing-based Mobile Payment Solutions, has released a unique, plug-and-play NFC security module series which significantly reduces design efforts for device manufacturers by bundling a high-end Infineon security chip with NFC antenna components and software on a small PCB footprint. The smallest module of the series measures just 4x4mm.

Smart wearables are increasingly including mobile payment functionality, challenging wearable manufacturers to equip even the smallest of devices with security and NFC.

The Boosted NFC security module series manufactured by MPS has now been awarded the Mobile Finance Secure Element Certificate by the China Financial Authentication body of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The certificate is a key enabler in the move to address the fast-growing mobile payment market in China.

Wang Yanzhong, General Manager, MPS, commented: “Small PCB footprint and low power consumption are key success factors, especially for smart wearables. This is why we selected Infineon’s Boosted NFC Secure Element which comes with a unique system design and security feature lineup. A certified NFC security module will certainly push adoption of NFC payment in China and beyond.”

“Driven by the IoT and always-on connectivity, mobile payment will be implemented on every smart device in the future. There will be an increasing demand for new system architectures that allow for extremely easy integration of proven and trustworthy hardware security into devices. Infineon is taking the lead in the mobile payment space with innovative solutions such as the Boosted NFC secure element,” added Thomas Rosteck, Vice President and General Manager, Secure Mobile & Transaction business, Infineon.

Booster technology makes hardware security easy to integrate

With the Boosted NFC security module, hardware integration is made as easy as possible. At the core of the module is Infineon’s Boosted NFC Secure Element. It eliminates the need for a separate NFC controller which is typically required with conventional solutions to utilise card emulation functionality in a device. Thanks to the booster technology, the NFC antenna and antenna matching components are included into the package. This significantly reduces PCB footprint by more than 75% - when using the smallest module of the series to only to 4x4mm. Apart from that, software development efforts for the NFC system integration can be cut down.

Running on a standard Java security card operating system, the Boosted NFC security module furthermore allows flexible loading of multiple Java-based applications (applets) on smart devices. The Boosted NFC security module is suited for new product designs but can also be easily integrated into existing designs to extend functionality to include secure payment. Key element of the NFC security module is Infineon’s flagship SLE78 security chip which combines highest security performance with a storage capacity of more than 1MB. This provides sufficient memory to securely store user credentials and run multiple applications, enabling a single device to replace a variety of cards such as payment cards, public transport tickets and online payment tokens.

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