ANR Recognizes F@CIL Partners with Research Award

KEOLABS-Gemalto-CEA team win award for high data rate contactless technology

Paris, France, 18 April 2013 – The F@CIL partners - Gemalto-KEOLABS-CEA Leti, were honored with the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) award for Technology Valorization and Transfer. The award recognizes the team's technology and protocol specification work for the Very High Bit Rate protocol - a contactless smart card technology capable of data transfer at rates 10 times faster that current 13.56 MHz technologies and yet consuming very little energy. The ANR award notably distinguished the team for the creation of an innovative technology and its use potential in applications such as data-rich identity information on e-passports or diagnostic medical images for health care cards.

VHBR is the result of fundamental research conducted by the CEA Leti and implemented by Gemalto and KEOLABS. The project included partners with the know-how to address all facets of the fielding of this new technology – from physical signalling and communication protocols to tools for verifying implementation. The resulting VHBR standard was demonstrated at the Cartes exhibition in Paris in 2009, already attained data rates of 6.7 Million bits per second (Mbps). This high data rate is combined with simultaneous power transfer and low technology cost so that VHBR is equally adapted to use in high-volume, contactless smart cards and more complex systems (mobile phones, card readers, etc.).

Working in collaboration with CEA Leti and Gemalto, KEOLABS is implementing VHBR in a range of testing tools to ensure the integrity, interoperability and security of VHBR components and systems. Tools include signal emulators required for certification of VHBR implementation in electronic components and protocol analyzers that allow implementers of this technology to verify interoperability of smart cards and card readers prior to deployment. These tools are crucial to the deployment and economic success of VHBR because they allow implementers to benefit from multiple suppliers while ensuring the quality and security of the infrastructure. In this manner tools benefit both the cost and the quality of the technology.

In addition to attaining very high data transfer rates, VHBR also meets requirements for rapid deployment and confidentiality. For implementers, the ease of deploying VHBR is enhanced by its compatibility with the existing ISO/IEC 14443 communication protocol that is already used in proximity contactless smart cards. This allows backward compatibility with existing infrastructures for contactless cards. The choice of a proximity signalling technology also offers a security advantage. The signal’s range is limited to three to five centimetres making it more difficult to intercept or spy transactions, while still providing users with the tap-and-go convenience of wireless smart card technology.

According to Francis Lamotte, founder and director of Raisonance, VHBR is a good example of a "wise" evolution in contactless smart cards. "VHBR presents us with an interesting opportunity by combining new modulation techniques that enable the increased data rate with an established communication protocol. These advances enable a range of data-rich applications that were impractical or impossible with today’s slower data rates. And thanks to backwards compatibility, we still maintain foundations in today’s technology which represent an immense investment by the industry and are still pertinent for a variety of applications such as payment and ticketing."


About the ANR

Agence National de la RechercheThe Agence Nationale de la Recherche (National Research Agency), created in 2005, is repsonsible for reseach project financing. In this role, is was also designated in 2010 as the pricipal oversight of the Commisariat Générale à l'Investissement (General Commission for Investment) for future investmens in higher education and research. Folloing the selection of projects, the ANR contracts with project developers to ensure appropriate funding and oversight.


About the F@CIL project

VHDR is being developed under a collaborative project called F@CIL – Fast Contactless Intuitive Layer. F@CIL is a collaborative effort of the CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance.

The CEA Leti is a French public agency that promotes research in information technology in collaboration with private industry. Within the CEA, the Laboratoire d’Electronique et de Technologie de l’Information (Leti) specializes in micro and nanotechnologies and their applications ranging from wireless systems to biology and health care.

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries. Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.

The F@CIL project is supported by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche.


KEOLABS is a leading provider of tools and services for testing microcontroller and secure component implementation, which was formed from the fusion of Raisonance and SOLIATIS. The company has two activities: Smart Card Validation and Microcontroller Tools.

KEOLABS Smart Card Validation activity provides an end-to-end product and service offer for validating and certifying smart cards and related technologies in accordance with industry standards. KEOLABS participates in all major certification processes for the secure transaction and identity sectors. The company offers a comprehensive range of solutions for validation of all layers of contact and contactless secure components from the electrical to the digital and application layers.

KEOLABS service branch includes the ISO17025 accredited Certification Center offering test services to all stakeholders in the secure component sector for smart cards, handsets, ePassports, electronic driver’s licenses and card readers.

KEOLABS Microcontroller Tools activity provides a complete range of tools for creating, editing, debugging and programming deeply embedded microcontroller applications. Known under the Raisonance brand since 1988, this business unit serves customers that include leading component manufacturers and professional engineers worldwide. With expertise in both hardware and software design, the company offers innovative, high quality, cost effective tools that include compiler tool sets, integrated development environment, hardware starter kits and promotional products for 8 and 32-bit microcontroller technologies. Supported core technologies include industry standard ARM, 8051 and PowerPC, as well as several proprietary architectures.


Fabien Pollet
Account Manager – Smart Card
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 57 30 20