Freescale and INSIDE Secure bring some NFC magic to utility meters
Posted by Seth PlanckJanuary 27th, 2012 at 10:23 PM Filed Under Latest News
Freescale and Inside bring some NFC magic to utility meters in reference design
Freescale Semiconductor and INSIDE Secure has announced a secure prepaid electricity / utility meter reference design with NFC baked straight in. The new product is aimed at OEMs so they can quickly and cost effectively deploy NFC utility meters to market. Using NFC in utility meters is a very obvious use case and a vast market to be tackled. Every home has at least one utility meter and most have more than that. The new design is based on the Freescale Kinetis MK30 microcontroller (MCU), which provides the first NFC-based prepaid meter with the ability to securely reload energy credit balances. INSIDE Secure provides the VaultIC 460 and NFC (MicroRead 3.4) chipset. Gone are the days in the UK are sotting 50 pence pieces into old electricity meters. A new solution could be for NFC payments to top up electricity when required.
“The global need for prepaid metering solutions and robust security is rapidly increasing, especially in emerging markets,” said Bruno Baylac, Director of Freescale’s Metering, Medical and Connectivity Solutions business. “By partnering with INSIDE Secure we are not only bringing advanced security features but also innovative contactless technology, enabling the design of simple, tough mechanical meters that are virtually tamper-proof.”
INSIDE Secure and Freescale Pre-paid utility meters set to help fraud with NFC payments
Fraud is a problem in many countries, the two firms explain, and they think that their combined reference design offering secures electric and water companies services.
“In many parts of the world, prepaid electricity meters offer the best solution for controlling energy distribution, but providing adequate security to prevent fraud has always presented challenges,” said Christian Fleutelot, General Manager of the Vault-IC SAS business unit and Executive Vice President for Digital Security at INSIDE Secure. “Through our collaboration with Freescale, we have been able to combine our leading security and connectivity solutions to protect prepaid meters while providing a more convenient way to load energy credits and deliver valuable usage information to utilities.”
This isn’t the first time we have seen NFC being employed in meters though. Just a couple of months back we saw NXP partner with Landis+Gyr for a smart meter aimed at conserving electricity. However, the distinguishing features of the Freescale and INSIDE Secure product is that it is aimed at consumers paying for electric using NFC payments, we wonder when we will see utility firms read meters with NFC?