Montbonnot, France, 16 November 2009 – Very High Bit Rate (VHBR) technology and protocol for contactless smart cards won the 2009 Sesame award for Hardware innovation. The VHBR technology being developed in a joint project by the CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance, allows the exchange of large amounts of data stored on contactless smart cards with a simple swipe of a card against a reader. Attaining data rates more than 10 times faster than current technology makes a wide range of new smart card applications possible. In the near future, VHBR-will enable 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 Raisonance. The project includes partners with the know-how to address all facets of the fielding of this new technology – from physical signalling and communication protocol to tools for verifying implementation. The resulting VHBR standard demonstrated at the Cartes exhibition in Paris, already attains data rates of 6.7 Million bits per second (Mbps), with rates of 10 Mbps to follow soon. 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, Raisonance 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."
During the Cartes event, CEA Leti, Gemalto and Raisonance conducted demonstrations of VHBR implementations that included prototype contactless smart cards and a portable hardware platform. With the prototype cards capable of 6.7 Mbps, it is already possible to transfer high resolution medical imagery (x-rays, MRI scans, .etc.) in speeds ranging from a half second to 5 seconds, depending on the size of the image. Demonstrations also showed off the possibility to transfer other media, such as MP3 audio files, via a passive interface on handheld platforms such as PDAs and mobile phones.
The Sesames are awarded each year in conjunction with the Cartes & IDentification exposition – the world’s premiere event for the smart card industry. Awards are discerned by an independent panel of industry and technology experts. A complete list of award winners can be found at www.cartes.com.
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.
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