Infineon claims world’s smallest plug-and-play NFC security module for smart wearables

From fitness trackers and smart keys to chains, watches or wristbands – smart wearables of all kinds are increasingly including mobile payment functionality. Wearable manufacturers are thus challenged to equip even the smallest of devices with security and NFC technologies.

The solution lies in a unique NFC security module series launched today by Infineon Technologies AG in collaboration with Beijing-based Mobile Payment Solutions Co. Ltd. (MPS). This new plug-and-play solution significantly reduces design efforts for device manufacturers by bundling a high-end Infineon security chip with NFC antenna components and software on smallest PCB footprint. The smallest module of the series measures only 4mm x 4mm.

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.

“Small PCB footprint and low power consumption are key success factors, especially for smart wearables,” said Wang Yanzhong, general manager of MPS. “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 Internet of Things and always-on connectivity, mobile payment will be implemented on every smart device in the future,” said Thomas Rosteck, vice president and general manager of Infineon’s Secure Mobile & Transaction business. “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.”

Booster technology makes hardware security easy to integrate

Thomas Rosteck, vice president and general manager of Infineon’s Secure Mobile & Transaction business

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 4mm x 4mm. 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 ideal 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 1 MB. 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.

Infineon joined forces with MPS, a Beijing-based secure mobile payment expert specialised in ultra-small antenna-in-package designs to deliver this product. The companies developed the NFC security module series based on Infineon’s unique Boosted NFC Secure Element.

MPS has been selected among the finalists in the “Payment Innovation” category of the Contactless Intelligence Award for its Boosted NFC security module series. The winners will be announced in London following the Contactless Intelligence Spring Conference on April 26, 2016.

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